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Op-Ed: Denver Is Diverse, Time for "Natives" to Get Over It

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A commenter who asked to be known only as Michele (trolls, she explains) sent this response to our January 11 post "Reader: Denver is a city full of tourists":

I was not born or raised in Denver or even Colorado, for that matter. I am a transplant, but most certainly not a tourist. During my husband's more than two-decade military career, we've been stationed in Colorado five times, three times in the Denver area.

During all of our Colorado years, we have seen the "native" stickers on cars and we have noticed the mildly arrogant coldness coming from occasional Colorado natives when they realize we weren't born and raised here.

When people ask me where I'm from, I never say Colorado. First, I'm from the East Coast, where very different groups of people have been living together since the 1600s to varying degrees of success and failure. My upbringing included learning the awful history of Americans treating "others" as "lesser." Second, I honestly don't want to be included in a group of people who believe there's a hierarchy of being born in one state over another. We are Americans. We seem to have lost the ability to see that recently. Above being Americans, we are humans and we are earthlings. This tribal mindset comes from yesterday (yesteryear?). It needs to be sent there and stay there.

The tired complaints bemoaning the loss of "the good old days" or whining about the arrival of new people is just angry nonsense. Colorado is successful, vibrant and experiencing economic growth because of diversity, not in spite of it.

(It has been proven in studies that diversity is a good thing right down to corporate profits, including diversity in the workforce. Here is a case in point.)

It's time for Colorado natives to put on their big boy pants, stop whining and start acting like a more inclusive group. The cowboy ranch days are long over; it's time to get over it.

In addition to the comment roundups that Westword posts on weekends, we occasionally publish op-eds on issues of concern to the Denver community. Have one you'd like to submit? Send it to editorial@westword.com.

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