Sunday, August 8, 2010

A New Perspective on Diversity

By Tonya Riley (Union Bridge, MD)

On the first day of PUSJP we discussed the theory of diversity in the newsroom. When many people hear diversity, they automatically think of ethnicity. However, color and origin are not the sole factors in determining what makes someone diverse.

As human beings, we grow and learn through our experiences and these in turn make us diverse. For example, I am a Caucasian female who at first glance seems to be a sample of the American middle-class majority. If you get to know me, as my fellow SJPers have, you would realize that you couldn't be farther from the truth. I am from a low-income rural area. I am a twin. I am a survivor of great adversity. Don’t these things make me diverse?

Being around such an eclectic group for nine days has taught me a lot about the world and myself. I now know how to say “My name is...” in Cantonese and Korean. I now know more about a culture of slam poetry and music that I had never been exposed to. I’ve realized that an intellectual is not just an elderly white professor with eloquent speech, (though I have met a few this week that fit that bill and who I deeply admire).

But most importantly, I have learned that diversity is not nearly as important as kinship. I have met friends this week that I would not have met otherwise. I definitely know that I will keep in touch with them through my college years and beyond.

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