Meaning of Diversity to Me

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Diversity encloses all those differences that make us unique, understanding that different factors make us unique while also respecting each person’s individual differences. Diversity represents but is not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. It is about embracing and respecting different types of people and moving beyond simply tolerating them. It is about accepting them for whom they are. Sadly, some people think this way of thinking is very naïve, some religions and cultures even consider this way of thinking taboo.

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This way of thinking is still practiced today in the Middle East. People are forced upon their parent’s way of thinking; this is because their parents were also forced upon this way of thinking by their grandparents, and so a cycle begins. People from the Middle East are forced to marry someone of their kind, for example, my experience of cultural diversity is that a person from the Middle East must not marry someone who is not from the Middle East, you’re expected to marry someone of your own, ‘kind. I have experienced this firsthand, currently, because of the cultural differences between me and my Girlfriend, my family does not support our relationship and I am constantly reminded about my culture and why this is taboo. I am also forced upon my parent’s religion, mainly the idea of God is forced down upon me, I am expected to believe in God and also live and breathe God. This is a daily tradition in my family, to go to church every Sunday and pray to God, I have no choice but to believe in this God.

Diversity allows a different range of people to collaborate regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc. This has encouraged different types of cultures to embrace each other and also engage in multiculturism. Multiculturism allows people to gain a better understanding of other people’s cultures, therefore gaining mutual respect for their cultural differences. This also allows people to be more socially aware, this is important because you do not want to disrespect them. For instance, some of my friends walk inside my house wearing their shoes, This does not bother me however when I visit my Asian friend, I must take my shoes off as it is disrespectful to wear them inside, I have also been told by them not to place my elbows on the dinner table when eating as this is also disrespectful towards them.

When interacting with someone regardless of their cultural background, showing respect and dignity should always be practiced when speaking to someone. Active listening is a form of communication that helps the speaker feel at ease, it includes verbal, and body language, when you’re listening to them, you’re leaning in to show you’re interested or asking questions to let them know you’re engaged. Culture awareness is understanding that there are different countries, different backgrounds, and different people, this is also very important, for instance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, making eye contact with them while they’re talking is a sign of disrespect however, in the mainstream western culture you’re taught to look at people in the eyes when they’re talking to you. Being culture aware helps people feel safe, it helps them open up. Using simple English/basic language is also important as you want to make sure they understand you, however, don’t be mean and disrespect them as this could lead to them thinking they’re being mocked, be patient, be empathic, putting yourself in their shoes, understanding them, making conversation easier, being compassion ed, showing you’re engaged. This all helps. The individual feels at ease. 

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