So April is Diversity Month. Yay! But what does that mean?
The general idea is that we’re supposed to celebrate diversity. Diversity is defined by Webster’s as the state of being diverse, or of being different. Well, we’re all different for a variety reasons. But in the U.S. that’s not diverse enough. Diversity Month is a bit of a politically correct handout to minorities. It’s like this: let’s celebrate that you are Latino, or African-American, or gay. In other words, different than the average Anglo. Diversity, then, is supposed to be about celebrating who we are.
But is that a good thing? Should we celebrating the very differences that have caused so many of us to be discriminated against in the first place? Does celebrating our diversity drive greater wedges between different communities?
Most people think of the U.S. as a melting pot. But a melting pot means all the different ingredients (read minorities) melt into a single soup, or character. Diversity is about accepting and celebrating the fact that you and I are not the same. Personally, I think celebrating diversity is a great thing because it reinforces the idea that we do not have to blend together to be Americans.
Read Related: Celebrating Our Heritage, Pride & Bicultural Advantage
What makes this country so great is that we are a mix of people from different countries, ethnicities and beliefs. We should celebrate our diversity every single day. Being different, and living in a country with so many different people is what makes being in the U.S. so interesting.
Despite the ongoing debate on immigration and the racism this country has faced in the past and present, diversity is what makes us who we are. Whenever you go get a burrito, ceviche, Chinese, sushi, pizza, it’s all about diversity.
But diversity is also about having different points of view. Diversity gives us something to pause and listen to. And if we really listen, we can learn and take on a broader perspective. Diversity teaches us to be open-minded. The idea that we should all meld into one culture, one American melting pot, is wrong. Melting together means taking on each other’s customs and beliefs. Being a melting pot means being less diverse.
Don’t we all love to attend ethnic festivals? Spending the day in Chinatown, Little Italy, Little Havana? And how about the Gay Pride Parade? Now that’s a party! What would we be like if we were not different? What would happen to us if we shunned diversity for the sake of being the same, kind of like those developments we see in the suburbs where everything’s the same? Boring!
With every year that passes we become closer as a single world, a group of different ethnicities, colors, customs. We are Americans. People who come from different countries might speak different languages, worship different Gods, eat different food. But one thing we all do, one thing everyone in the world can agree on, is that we all love. We all laugh. And no matter where you are in the world, a smile is universal. Celebrate our diversity with a smile even if you don’t speak the language or you don’t understand the people, because in all the cultures, a smile means the same thing. Acceptance.