To better understand what diversity should be like, it might help to think of it as a five-star restaurant: You have to take in what it has to offer to have a significant experience from diversity. Diversity brings people embodying a variety of cultures and life experiences into the same space.
Although those who champion diversity have accomplished a great achievement in itself by creating this gathering of cultures, this should not be the endpoint of our effort. Assuming that these individuals know how to fully use the opportunity put in front of them with the concept of diversity is somewhat counterproductive.
Diversity can deliver an experience that will bring better understanding of another’s culture, leading to the respect of differences equality should be built on. Or it can do the complete opposite. We can see from human history that when differing cultures encounter each other they often clash aggressively.
Well, we now know from our past that respecting an individual’s culture is key to establishing a healthy relationship in which both parties grow as people.
This is easier said than done. Culture is complex, unique and therefore hard to understand. To make social interactions easier, some try to justify separating a person from their culture, but this is far from appropriate. A person’s culture is a huge part of who that person is, so ignoring the presence of culture to make it easier on yourself is disrespectful. Learning of the intricacies of other cultures is difficult and takes time, patience and an open mind.
Being stubborn and ignorant in the face of all these complications will lead to the waste of an opportunity rare in human history. Diversity is contingent on the interaction of different races, not the presence of them alone. To make the goal of diversity a success, guidance of these interactions is needed.
For instance, Case Western Reserve University’s Diversity 360 workshop supplies guidelines on how to have encounters that build meaningful relationships with students from different places and lives. If a student actually sees the importance of the workshop, then they walk away with a powerful tool for creating social change. It’s important for there to be programs like this because not everywhere is safe space to acquire a greater understanding of the problems being faced by equality in this country.
Asking questions is an essential part to acquiring a new understanding, so it’s best to ask these questions in a place where you won’t be attacked.
Anthony Nunnery is a first-year student majoring in undecided. I’m also a Posse Scholar so part of the reason I’m here is to interact with you all … hit my line up.