In Search of a Genuinely Diverse Community Part 2

A truly diverse community is composed of effectively cross-interacting, multi-homogeneous groups. It does not only recognize individual differences; it also exemplifies synergism. While it acknowledges that there are areas for improvement, a genuinely diverse community will capitalize on the strengths within all its subgroups. It is not so much about understanding, but accepting that there are views and customs that not all of us share.

Diversity may be best described as splashes of color blended together to create a masterpiece of art.

 

A truly diverse community is composed of effectively cross-interacting, multi-homogeneous groups. It does not only recognize individual differences; it also exemplifies synergism.

Diversity

My family is currently stationed overseas in one of the most diverse countries in the world, Singapore. Families who are about to relocate in the community often ask for advice regarding what they need to pack aside from the customary essentials. It’s not unusual  to see an American family in my neighborhood stock on favorite chips, seasoning ingredients, and even boxes of Mac and Cheese and cereals. I am not saying that this is a bad thing, though I am also not certain that this is a smart start, especially if the goal is set as quickly adjusting to the new surroundings.

The thing is, the sure way to enjoy your new geographical assignment is to recognize and accept that the host country you will temporarily call home is not the US of A. The people, language, food, culture, or weather, are not something you are accustomed to, but it does not mean that you cannot experience fun in the newness of  it all. There is a breath of freshness to be had in being able to freely experience the magic of the unknown.  There is a sense of excitement to be had in boldly challenging the limits of your comfort zone.

Truth be told, although I live in a military neighborhood of mix races; I  still have to venture out of the community every now and then to experience sincere and consistent attempts towards achieving authentic diversity. It’s ironic that I live in a place where opportunities for celebrating the beauty of individual differences abound, but not many people are excited to take advantage of it. I am sure that there is a need to open an honest conversation about this. Meantime, we remain hopeful and steadfast in our resolve. Of course, smiling and saying hello to people even if they would not reciprocate could be helpful.

Mellody Hobson gave an honest and engaging TED talk about race and diversity – color braveness versus color blindness. In short, if we were to be called a diverse community, we need to be color bold and be comfortable in the strangeness of the unfamiliar.

Diversity is often associated with tolerance. Tolerance about race is also known as being color blind. When this was taught to my children at school, I immediately explained to them that embracing diversity is not just about tolerating people, because by doing just that, we are also ignoring our respective uniqueness. Consequently, we are also robbing us of the opportunities to learn from one another and experience happiness from each other when we limit our experience only to what was known and comfortable.

The essence of diversity is not just recognizing individual differences, but it is also benefitting from its gift.

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