Diverse Essay

Julian - Chicago, Illinois
Entered on February 15, 2009

I imagine myself in a radio booth alone, about to share my thoughts with the world. Waves of nervousness began to crash over me as I imagine millions of ears engaged on what I have to say. The piano begins to play a soothing song, and, just as the sweet melody floats above, I proclaim, “I believe in diversity.”

When I was younger, black was the only colored lens to see the world. I smelled the savory flavor of fried chicken and mashed potatoes; I breathed the warmth of caring individuals; I saw mirror images of myself; I heard the backbeats of gospel, jazz, and R&B. Ebony expression and creativity enveloped me, and that was all I knew. As I grew older, my world became larger as well. Television helped me envision a world in black and white. I not only saw representations of families that I was use to, like The Cosbys, but shows like Full House confirmed that there were other people in the world different from me. As the city blocks lent themselves to discovery, an explosion of color and ideas took place. I discovered others of all shades of brown, tan, and pink. As I grew older, I began to encounter people of different nationalities, religions, sexual orientations, and creeds, and I embraced them all!

Our society has reached a point where political correctness and notions of tolerance have formed the foundation of our interactions with one another. We are too afraid to ask questions about other cultures, and as a result we wallow in the ignorance of our assumptions. Those assumptions then lead to grouping people into arbitrary labels and assigning rights like ‘civil rights, women’s rights, and gay rights.’ Now everyone is pigeonholed and protected, society then takes a look back on its creation and says, “Our work is done!” It must be understood that progressive institutions provide the basis, but it is up to us to prevent static indifference and continue to strive towards equality.

I have decided I want to be an agent of change in an imperfect world: to someday envision a place full of celebration of diversity, which can only come through the intentional pursuit of knowledge. I want to challenge people to think, question, and examine their own representations, and realize that our interaction with people from the dorm to the classroom matter. Life is an open forum to display proudly who we are, and to do away with the landmines of assumptions.

The process of learning has fed my ideals, and I hunger for more. The more I increase my knowledge base the better prepared I feel to take on the challenge. I believe in diversity, and someday envision its infusion into every segment of society.