Is Diversity Important?

So we always hear the term “diversity” thrown about as something we need to achieve. I went to schools that actively recruited students from around the globe. I post on several forums that mention it somewhere in their vision or mission statement as to what the site hopes to gain. I’m in clubs that hope to provide a safe place for various people to have their opinions heard. They all make claims as to how diverse their communities and views are.

But I think most of them are just yanking their own chains. They are really all about diversity when THEY are the majority. Many of them are the first to leave communities where they aren’t members of the dominant culture and don’t feel welcome or don’t fit in. But when someone else makes that claim about their community, they are laughed off and told they are wrong.

So is hoping for diversity enough or should we really strive to be diverse? Should we just think that because there are members of various races, nationalities, sexual orientations, religions, political parties, or whatever that there is diversity- or should we also seek a diversity of opinions and ideas? Because you have gay friends, does that mean there is diversity if you all share the same views on homosexuality? Because you have some non-Christian friends, does that mean there is diversity if you are all politically conservative?

For those of you who belong to communities where you’re not the majority- what drew you to that community? Why did you stay? What would make you interested in belonging to a group where you aren’t one of the majority? Do you feel you get more out of communities where you are in the majority or the minority? A community has to offer something to its members to make them want to belong. For some it is simply that they identify with the group, but for others there is some other attractive feature that draws them in.

In other words, how does a group- be it online, a school, a place of employment, a club, or any community- attract members of all walks of life and really make them feel at home? Is that possible? Or is it just wishful thinking? Do the groups actively seek out different voices or is it happened upon accidentally because of some larger force?

Perhaps we should simply sit back and enjoy the lives that we have, without worrying about what will make it better. I mean, those that throw the d-word about aren’t really seeking to improve the lives of minorities, but to make themselves look more attractive. So instead of hooting and hollering about how different we are and how we welcome diversity, perhaps we should take a look at ourselves and see if there is some substance of quality that others might find attractive and be a part of.

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