Don't ask why I'm on the mailing list of the New Jersey Law Journal. I probably signed up to get access to an interesting news story. Occasionally I see some bit of information that you won't find in other news sites. One of the headlines in a recent email read "Law Journal Announces Diverse Attorneys of The Year."

They chose 15 attorneys based on their skill and "diversity", including ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Do you want to be on a list because your most distinguishing characteristic is that you're different? Different meaning, you're not a heterosexual white male.

I don't personally know any of the lawyers listed and I'm sure they are dedicated legal professionals, hopefully people of great skill and integrity. I thought to myself, would I want to be on singled out for praise in my profession because I'm diverse, different? Or would I prefer my name appear on a list based solely on my professional accomplishments.

I remember moving from Philadelphia to South Jersey when I was 12 and being the kid with the strange food in his grease stained lunch bag, that no one had ever seen or heard of. Back then, in the part of Jersey I lived, yes even being "Italian" was exotic, different.

I hated being singled out for being "different." Whether it was my last name no one could pronounce or the fact that I had more cruel nicknames than any of my classmates, because my huge ears stuck out like open car doors. I remember being singled out for being different as awkward and uncomfortable.

Maybe these folks like it. Certainly the intention is good, to honor people who've distinguished themselves in their line of work, but only if you're name is hard to pronounce and your appearance or lifestyle catches people's attention.

To me it smacks of more "enlightened" white lefty's letting the world know how inclusive and open-minded they are. How condescending? How patronizing? How pointless? So these people come from a variety of backgrounds and/or challenges. I thought we were supposed to access people based on their character and accomplishments, not how different they look or seem.

Yes white "liberals", please explain my opinion away as typical narrow mindedness stemming from my white privilege. No, it's from the privilege of knowing what it's like to be different and knowing it's much better to be recognized for being exceptional. By the way, congrats to all of this years' recipients...if you want to be congratulated for being different.

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Dennis & Judi are on the air weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tweet them @DennisandJudi or @NJ1015.

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