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The Importance and Benefits of Diversity
Diversity can be defined as people coming together from different races, nationalities, religions and sexes to form a group, organization or community. A diverse organization is one that values the difference in people. It is one that recognizes that people with different backgrounds, skills, attitudes and experiences bring fresh ideas and perceptions. Diverse organizations encourage and harness these differences to make their services relevant and approachable. Diverse organizations draw upon the widest possible range of views and experiences so it can listen to and meet the changing needs of its users. The encouragement of diversity benefits society.
In society today, most people view diversity as a good thing because it gives people the chance to experience different things outside of what they are normally accustomed to. Diversity in America is openly viewed as a beneficial bacterium, so many backgrounds and not knowing which ones are good and which ones are bad.
Diversity as a wide component is a tricky thing to use and understand because it has both negative and positive effects on society such as education, violence and employment. People have to dig deep to figure out what exactly the effect will be in the end and be patient to wait and see.
Studies show that the lack of cohesion between races, sexes and cultures is due to mistrust, stereotyping, and more within-culture conversation and language problems. When these problems are not paid attention to it may lead to an inability to endorse ideas, the inability to gain agreement on decisions, and inability to take united action. In the educational system it is very important that there is a wide array of diverse groups in the classroom, “It is important to have a diverse student body, not only to create a realistic setting but also to encourage people to grow outside their boundaries and learn something new about a culture they may not be familiar with.” (Pendulum 1). By accomplishing this in the classroom you can avoid child unawareness and actually enlighten them about other things that go on around them with people they may be friends with or know. Another factor in a less diverse student population is bullying. Students who are different are often targets for bullying. Often when people lack knowledge of things that they are not accustomed to they are quick to judge or stereotype and make ignorant decisions. “Diversity is a positive thing, not something to fear” (Pendulum 1).
The different aspects of diversity are very important. “People of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds have been an integral part of Penn State School of Nursing for many years” (“Our History of Diversity” 1). From so small to something bigger, diversity plays a major role everywhere every day. In some colleges diversity has been around for many years regardless of what social, racial and ethnic differences there were. “Children exposed to diverse cultures in the classroom learn to understand different points of view, which is an important part of education” (Canadian Teachers 1). This can sum up why diversity in the classroom is such an important part of a child’s development, by the child being exposed to diverse cultures the child can get a better understanding of why the child dresses this way, acts that way or can’t eat this or that. “The result is that children will question their own beliefs and understand how their own culture influences the way they see the world” (Canadian Teacher 1).
Diversity can create curiosity. By being exposed to different people and cultures, a student may want to learn more about a particular group which can give them insight into how and why things work as they do and possibly a way to change them for the better.
For some students being in a diverse school or college can prepare them for the real world, where they can take a stance on a subject and be able to voice their opinion from an informed point of view, “It enhances America’s economic competitiveness” (“On the Importance of Diversity in Higher Education” 1). Everyone has something unique about them to bring to the table, and with everyone’s strengths being used together they can make anything better. One single person can’t always do things alone and with the different talents of a diverse community something with potential can be strengthened. Overall, “diversity in their student bodies, faculties, and staff is important for them to fulfill their primary mission: providing a quality education” (“On the Importance of Diversity in Higher Education” 1). A quality education does not come without learning something about race, religion, and culture or what is expected and what is not. Having a diverse school setting is beneficial because you learn more and so operate in the real world with a better view and understanding.
Diversity is not being encouraged throughout America; in fact some cultures would rather have contact only within that family or race, or even that religion. Some people are not persuaded that their children need to be in a diverse setting or experience one. In today’s global society, without any prior knowledge of other people; when a person actually gets out into the real world their often stuck with a limited view of the world, and what to expect. In reality, the work place has every gender, ethnic group and religion. It is like saying if you say the wrong thing you may think it is funny and others will find it offensive, you have to understand why if effects someone else that is of a different background. “Learning about other countries and other cultures is part of the public school curriculum. Having children from other countries and cultures in the classroom can be a positive experience for teachers and students (Canadian Teacher, 1). It is proven that by valuing diversity, organizations bring benefits to the people they work with, their local communities, as well as to themselves.
Society is diverse just because of the existence of people; there are differences even within the same group. For example: “One in five adults and one in 20 children are disabled in some way” (“Valuing Diversity” 1).
“One in 12 people are from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, and figure rises to one in eight of under 16 year olds”(“Valuing Diversity” 1).
“One in 20 people who have a religious belief belong to a faith community other than Christian” (“Valuing Diversity” 1).
“One in four people are under 16 and one in six are under 65” (“Valuing Diversity” 1).
Diversity is not always just what background you come from but is any unique difference between human beings. Diversity includes physical appearance, religious belief, and race but your opinions and thoughts and the impact they make on society are also part of diversity.
We learn from people who have different experiences, beliefs and perspectives on things. “Diversity enriches the educational experience”(“On the Importance of Diversity in Higher Education” 1). By hearing different opinions from people who you may totally disagree with, they can possibly persuade you to their side or at least get you to understand what their argument is really about. “Diversity promotes personal growth and a healthy society”(“On the Importance of Diversity in Higher Education” 1). Diversity changes stereotypes in communities, what people once thought can easily be changed and can bring the community much closer because of it. “It strengthens communities and the workplace”(“On the Importance of Diversity in Higher Education” 1).
An approach to understanding diversity is something much like Newcomb’s theory of social attraction. “Similarity on attributes such as attitudes, values, and beliefs will facilitate interpersonal attraction and liking, and vice versa.” (Mannix, Neale 1). Diversity may be beneficial but it does not work if people take a liking to others that are okay just like them, having to do with race, attitudes, views and beliefs.
In his classic research on cultural diversity, Harry C. Triandis found that members of culturally dissimilar groups were less likely to be attracted to one another and had more difficulty communicating with each other than members of culturally homogeneous groups did (Mannix, Neale 1). Different cultural groups will find it slightly uncomfortable to talk about what they celebrate and believe in because the other person does not share the same beliefs as they do. It makes it harder for them to talk and often they are being judged because it is not something that would normally interest them or does not interest any other cultural background.
One study has revealed that “immigration and diversity not only reduce social capital between ethnic groups, but also within groups themselves” (Leo 1) this means that regardless of ethnic background, diversity is often affected within smaller groups. Even communication between the members in the same group is affected. They are not as willing to talk openly about certain things because they think people cannot relate to them or would not understand or cannot be trusted. “The problem is not ethnic conflict or troubled racial relations, but withdrawal and isolation”(Leo 1). There are some people that live in more diverse settings that tend to keep to themselves more and shut everyone out. Putnam says, people in diverse communities tend “to withdraw even from close friends, to expect the worst from their community and its leaders, to volunteer less, give less to charity and work on community projects less often, to register to vote less, to agitate for social reform more, but have less faith that they can actually make a difference, and to huddle unhappily in front of the television”(Leo 1). Diversity can affect a person in a negative way. For example, a person may start to feel as if they cannot turn to close friends or family because they do not hold the same traditions as everyone else, and since they are different there is not anyone they can express themselves to. So instead of communicating with others they would rather bottle it up and settle with being unhappy and withdraw from the general society.
Most authorities tend to disagree with this; they believe that diversity is more beneficial to society than it is harmful. “From multicultural festivals to pronouncements from political leaders, the message is the same: our differences make us stronger” (Jonas 3). Diversity is the many differences that different backgrounds hold. Within those backgrounds are differences that make and improve people. We should celebrate the differences and learn to work together.