I began this essay thinking about what Diversity Abroad means to me. Although that topic is important, I believe that before I could think about that, I had to first think about why diversity is important. Diversity is a word that gets thrown around a lot and we know that it is something that we should want. However, I do not think as individuals that we sit and consider its importance. So, I decided to.
We think we are the center of the universe. It’s just human nature. We think that we are the center of the universe and that everything revolves around us and who we are. Many of us are trapped in little bubbles of people who look like us, sound like us, dress like us and even think in the same way we do. Many of us spend our entire lives this way, drifting by comfortably in our little bubbles. However, sometimes our bubbles are popped and we are exposed to the open air. I call this Different. We reject this ‘different’ or fear it at first because we do not understand it. From there, we either seek to challenge our understanding of it or we shut it down and scramble to rebuild the bubble we once had.
Diversity is the understanding of the differences we all have. No two people are the same. There is one thing, even if it is as small as the chromosome in your DNA that makes people different from each other. Differences make us who we are and shape our worldview. We are who we are because of how the world reacts to our differences. Sometimes differences are embraced and sometimes they are stigmatized. Despite this, they are all important. No identity is more salient than the next, even if society says so. We as people should work to rewrite the narrative that some identities aren’t valuable, because they all are.
Diversity brings knowledge and new stories to the table. It helps us to know more as individuals and be informed about the world. We grow up understanding the world from our point of view. Diversity helps us to see beyond what we think we know and expands on everything we have thought about or questioned. Diversity is important because without it we would all be the same. Where’s the excitement in that? We love differences, even if we don’t know it. It’s okay to be confused by it, but let that confusion spark curiosity and that curiosity, a hunger to know more. Diversity is important because, without it, we wouldn’t be who we are. Our uniqueness is the metaphorical reason why our earth keeps turning. We use the divergent ways we see the world, to create things that keep us going as people and keep our world on its toes.
Before we seek to understand how diversity looks elsewhere, we must first understand the importance of diversity. Despite what we think, diversity doesn’t just exist in foreign places away from where we call home. Diversity is all around us. Diversity lives within me and in everyone around me. So whether near or far, diversity is important and it is valuable. In understanding this, I know what Diversity Abroad means to me. It means a bunch of different parts of a puzzle coming together to form a bigger picture. That picture is our world. No, one person is not the center of the universe. We are all just little unique specks that together, make it complete.
Author: D'Havian Scott