fbpx
men wearing crew neck t shirt

Seeing the Beauty in Diversity

They say variety is the spice of life. How many different spices can you think of right now? The differences in things are what makes these objects beautiful. Nature is filled with things that don’t look alike, but we can equally be in awe of them. The bluebird is different from the tulip. The waterfall is different from the blade of grass. Yet, we still love them the same. The rainbow is filled with different colors and we call that beautiful. When take all this away, our world can be quite dull. So, when it comes to people why is there only one beauty standard? Why is there only one way to look and feel? In a world built on diversity, we tend to want every person to be the same.

What is Diversity?

I think we first have to define diversity. When we think of diversity, the first thing we think about is what we can see. That would primarily be race and color. Yes, this type of diversity is just as important as the colors in the rainbow, but we have to understand why these colors are important. Connected to race come different customs, lifestyles, and traditions. From these customs, we have diversity in thought. The diversity of thought is the reason why diversity amongst people is so important. We need gender diversity because the experiences of different genders inform their outlook. Other categories such as education level and religious beliefs do the same thing. Diversity means absolutely nothing if a group of people look different, but aren’t allowed to have their own opinions.

We can see the beauty in these differences only when we are open to them. It seems like life is a constant struggle against nature. We are afraid of nature because it is unpredictable. It brings chaos and things unknown. To counteract nature, we create a structure in which rules create order. We then place these rules on people so that it is easier for us to label them. We have rules of professionalism in which people are expected to act a certain way, dress a certain way, and behave a certain way. Anyone not adhering to these rules cannot have a job. This doesn’t make work effective. It only makes it easier to control.

Different Doesn’t Mean Better

Our perception of diversity is only used as a measuring stick. Because our finances are different, our education levels are different, or our skin is different that somehow makes one better. There is a sense of superiority and thus domination over another group of people. Rich people deem themselves better than poor people. We can’t possibly perceive that both groups of people should be treated with dignity regardless of their level of income. As though the difference in income is meaningless. We don’t say that lake is better than the river. Yet, people find diversity to be a threat because its only usage thus far has been comparison. There’s quite a distinction between difference and insufficiency. Difference doesn’t mean better than or worse than. It’s just different. If someone of a different color makes it to a certain status that I am, I have no basis for being superior. It’s much easier to just live and work with people who look and act just like us. It’s a pretty insecure way of looking at our differences.

The comparison of better or worse comes with no basis as there is a variety of variations one can choose. In just about every measure someone is going to be better or worse than us. Do we demean ourselves because Tiger Woods is better at golf than us? No, because we might be better at fixing a car. My car is better, my house is better, my god is better…. None of these things matter, so why do we put our worth into other’s deficiencies? At this point, we’re just in love with our own biases.

Tribalism

To see the beauty in diversity, one must first open their mind beyond their tribe. I don’t think this is what Seth Godin wanted. Now more than ever, we are dividing ourselves in praise of meaningless labels such as political affiliation, religion, nation, and anything else you can argue on Twitter (or X or whatever). We seem to only benefit from our tribe and see the opposition as deficient. It’s the classic us versus them scenario. This is the type of division that leads to a lot of suffering. Ask about any major war.

The statement that white people will no longer be the majority is seen as a threat. Instead of integration, much like nature, we charge with “making America great again.” That again is segregation. Integration of schools was an issue during its time. How could the integration of racial DNA not be? Folks from different backgrounds are now having the means to live in neighborhoods they once didn’t live in. All of a sudden, my neighbors don’t look like me anymore. And so we build walls and live in gated communities. All so we don’t have to look at anyone who’s not like us. Kendrick’s song might have a deeper meaning.

One-Sided Coin

I used to live in Huntington Beach, also known as the Florida of California by some people. It was quite divisive living in this city during the pandemic. There were protests about wanting to get haircuts. Things turned very weird when I started to see KKK rally flyers on the ground. Even before the pandemic, I would go to work. As I walked to my car, I could hear Fox News blaring through my neighbor’s window. When I’d get home at around 6 pm, I’d walk past my neighbor’s window only to still hear Fox News. I guess nothing is wrong with that unless my neighbor actively wants a narrow perspective. The dark side of social media has made it very easy for algorithms to show us content that we want and dismiss content that provides dissenting beliefs. We forever live on one side of the coin.

Seeing the beauty in diversity is seeing everything and everyone with the dignity that they deserve. Any situation that a person goes through is impermanent and thus can’t be characterized as a flaw. It’s not about joining a team and booing the other. It has nothing to do with right or wrong, or best or worse because all these things are subjective and can mean different things to different people. Why put our faith in something so fickle? Instead of treating differences like a threat we can be open-minded. We live in a universe. If you want to break down this word, we live in diverse unity. We are an orchestra playing different instruments in harmony. If everyone played the tuba, the music wouldn’t sound as good. Food wouldn’t taste so good if you only had salt.