We see so many bad examples of diversity in the media – the fundamentalists, the racism, the hate. But how often do we see the good news stories - the examples of people working across cross-cultural environments, helping others, embracing individual differences and diversity?
Most would not have heard of the White Coats who operate under the Homeless Run. The Muslim group helping Sydney’s homeless – supplying them with food, clothing, blankets, sanitary products and more. They get stereotyped as extremists because of the way they look, but they are out there helping those in need, being role models for the community.
Or what about the 1 in 4 Australians who were born overseas just wanting to live in peace, contribute in their community and enjoy life. Why don’t we hear more about these people? People like the five inspiring young Australians competing in SBS’ National Youth Week competition, sharing their stories and experiences to help change perspectives, spread positivity, and breakdown cultural barriers.
We need more of these good news stories to see the whole picture – to appreciate diversity in its entirety.
By definition diversity is a range of different things. Simple enough. But by concept, diversity is so much more. It’s about acceptance, respect, and understanding. It recognises our individual differences - be it race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. It’s moving beyond tolerance to celebrating how we’re all different...but inherently the same. We are all human!
We may look different, sound different, eat different foods, hold different views about the world and so on, but isn’t this exactly what makes the world interesting?
Imagine if everyone looked and sounded the same, we all ate the same food, lived in the same houses, had the same family structures. How mundane would that be? We’d be lemmings! No one wants to eat the same food every meal of the day. No one wants to have the same conversation time and time again. No one wants to look just like everyone else. It’s human nature to want to be seen as an individual in our own right, to express ourselves authentically. This is diversity. And it matters.
Diversity brings variety to our lives. It challenges our perspectives, our beliefs. It stimulates our senses and brings us together. The world needs diversity.
We’re so consumed by what the media feeds us, telling us to feel a certain way about certain people or situations and so often policy-makers are having knee-jerk reactions to what’s going on in the world...we’re fighting hate with more hate. I’ve got a crazy idea, how about we start showing discernment to what we’re being fed through the media, looking deeper than what’s going on at a surface level. How about we start thinking less from a perspective that only benefits the self, and more from a perspective of love, that considers how we can live together peacefully, being fully appreciative of the diversity that each and every one of us brings to the table.