The United States is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. Thanks to the First Amendment, we have freedom of religion and expression. There is also increasing support for the LGBTQ community and people with disabilities.
Being part of a diverse community provides people with an understanding of differences and places value in those differences. Many colleges and universities, including Linfield, take pride in being a setting that promotes open communication and diversity. The benefits of communication and diversity cannot be understated.
As part of a diverse community, you are much more likely to have the opportunity to learn about different cultures. Fresh and differing viewpoints from a diverse group of people increases self-awareness and the ability to understand and embrace different perspectives. Living, learning and working in a diverse environment provides a chance to expand your own sense of global perspective, sociological imagination and social justice.
A Breakdown of Stereotypes
Communication with and learning from those around you happens organically in a diverse environment and offers the opportunity for communication that leads to a departure from a sheltered background, incorrect assumptions and stereotypes and ignorance. Engaging with people whose views and backgrounds are sharply in opposition to your own allows you to become informed, insightful and more open minded. Stereotypes can easily lead to racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and general bigotry.
Beyond Race Relations
Oftentimes, people only think of race when the term ‘diversity’ arises. But diversity goes far beyond race and ethnicity. The ability to engage with peers with different religious backgrounds, gender identity, sexual orientation and political leanings prepares you for life in a global and diverse society and workplace. Whether you came from a homogeneous background or you were raised in a diverse setting, the ability to communicate with others can always be learned or improved upon.
Living, learning and working in a diverse environment should be an experience to seek, not one to shy away from. The ability to communicate with an open heart and an open mind will make you not only a good citizen in a diverse world, but will increase your ability for empathy, social development, your awareness of injustices, and the desire to make the world a better place for everyone.