**I just would like to preface this with an apology for not posting anything in over a month. I have been crazy busy and haven’t even had time to think! 😦 **
When you hear diversity what normally pops up in your head? Different races and ethnicities probably. Those are the two main answers that come up when asked, however in a general answer, diversity just means difference. This can go a million different ways, which I think is something we, as a society, don’t really realize. Diversity is so much more than where you came from and the color of your skin. It’s what separates you from everyone else; your skills, beliefs, opportunities, experiences, race, gender, identity, orientation, goals, learning styles, interests, motivations, and even whether you are left or right handed.
Diversity is so important. In a world where everyone seems to focus on their own personal diversities (mainly race), we fail to realize all the other perspectives that are out there. That is the reason why diversity is so important; it gives you a brand new perspective you didn’t have before.
I was in class one day, and our lesson was on perspectives and diversities. The point was to bring light to the subjects that other people may not be aware 0f. We did an activity where everyone stood in line and a series of statements were read off, called a Privilege Walk. Depending on the statement, you either took a step forward, backward, or no step at all. “Take a step back if you know that you will have to teach your future kids about racism” “Take a step forward if you are a white male” “Take a step back if you have to find handicapped services when you go out” “Take a step forward if English is your first language” When you are listening to these questions, it makes you realize that not everyone is the same. People go through different things for different reasons; that is diversity.
One of the questions asked was “take a step back if you are afraid to walk alone at night”. Primarily, this would be targeted towards women. If you are a man, this is not necessarily something that you would think about during your daily life. We had a discussion afterwards and one of the males in my class brought up that he didn’t understand why you would have to be afraid, because in the worst case scenario you could always fight back. A girl in my class tried to explain to him that if you were a petite woman, like she was, walking around at night by yourself, it is a lot harder to fight off someone who would probably be much bigger and stronger than you. Different things like that are what make it so important to know and learn about diversity. Even something like being short (like me :)) can bring insight to someone who is taller and vise versa. Someone tall wouldn’t know what it is like to not be able to reach things all the time and have to climb on stuff to get what you need. Someone short wouldn’t know what it is like to have to duck when you come across a low hanging tree or doorway. So many things make us different and it is so interesting to hear about them, especially when you don’t experience them yourself.
Diversity is not only knowing and being aware of all the aspects that make us different in ways more than just the color of our skin, but accepting the differences and using them to build connections and being open to learning the ways of others. It builds inclusivity and makes sure everyone is included; the worst feeling is being left out. Growth comes from stepping outside of your comfort zone and sharing with other people what makes you different. Embrace your differences and get to know new ones! Being open-minded and accepting to diversity will help you see a whole new world that you weren’t aware of before.
*Thank you to everyone who gave me their ideas on what diversity meant to them! :)*