Diversity 101 | Teen Ink

Diversity 101

December 18, 2020
By carolinekinkella BRONZE, Franklin Lakes, New Jersey
carolinekinkella BRONZE, Franklin Lakes, New Jersey
4 articles 0 photos 0 comments

It never occurred to me until I was six that my blue eyes made me stand out from most of my friends.  That single moment brought me to realize that when we consider the concept of diversity, we intuitively focus on our physical characteristics. But it goes way deeper than that, encompassing our values, beliefs, geographical location, gender, education, and so much more.  Interestingly, all humans actually share many more similarities than differences, and yet we strive to embrace our differences because the world would indeed be a dull place if we were all the same.  We need to learn from each other’s points of view because gaining these types of insights are the secret to understanding our own personal awareness. It is the beauty of our distinctions that enrich our humanity.  

While surfing the Internet, I came across a fascinating story.  It stated that many international students who come from Third World countries, choose to attend American universities in order to receive the type of education that was unavailable in their own countries.  In one particular report, a foreign student from India brought the knowledge that he acquired from attending college in the United States back to his home country, where he opened up schools and shared new ideas and innovative technology. I have great respect for people like this and through my awareness, I have grown in understanding of his culture. 

I have also learned that it is vital to master the art of listening.  It’ is important to slow down and absorb the words that others choose. I have found that when I encourage myself to leave my comfort zone and open myself up to what others believe, it often reveals a whole new world of awareness to me. But mostly, when I consider the concept of diversity, I feel that the solution to a peaceful environment is simple: tolerance. 

To combat stereotypes, we must sustain mental freedom and continually have open minds.  When we restrict ourselves and place conditions on our actions, we might inadvertently exclude ourselves from what might have been a wonderful experience.  All colleges have unique clubs, and I look forward to joining those that will allow me to learn about others. I want to do my part  in helping to break the patterns of prejudice and segregation that have been the distinct backbone of American history. We need to stir the melting pot because it is only when you overlook the typical misconceptions about others that you can truly integrate yourself into school, society, and the world in a meaningful way. 

The author's comments:

My name is Caroline.  I am a Communication and Business student at Villanova University Class of 2023.  This reflection on diversity and racism reflects the current disposition of addressing the problems in American contemporary culture.

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