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Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 11 months ago

Diversity. When hearing this word most people assume they have a good grasp on what it is. Though there is a common definition for it, diversity is viewed by different people as different things. Initially, when hearing diversity, most would probably think of race or culture. However, it goes way beyond that.


Diversity is defined as showing a great deal of variety, or something along these lines. While variety is a key component in diversity, it’s not the only attribute to it. Defining diversity is not an easy task. Diverse situations may exist where one may not notice. Diversity, a noun used by many, is more then just a variation or comparison of two things different from each other.


Growing up I was always surrounded by diverse environments. I attended a Jewish preschool though I, myself, was Christian, attending Sunday school most Sundays. I went to a high school where I was the minority. I traveled to other countries and saw how other cultures and people lived. To me, this was diversity. When thinking of diversity I thought different lands, different colors, different languages, etc. It was a trend you could say, revolving around the word different. Diversity = difference. This, however, was a limited view.


I was always proud of this upbringing. My diverse background was a key part of my college essays, my bragging rights, etc. What I was forgetting was the diversity of people that weren’t actually that different from me. The word different still existed, just not to the degree I considered for something to be “diverse”. Diversity lay outside of race, gender, cultures. Within a group of white people, there is still diversity; they are not all the same. When walking into a temple you will still experience diversity, if you look hard enough, because the people inside are also not all the same. This is something that I recently fully realized.


In high school I participated in a program called Changes. This program provided an inner city school with a sister suburban school. Being from an inner city school I was given the opportunity to do various activities with the suburban school kids, spend a day at their school, and host them for a day at my school. I knew that I was entering another environment, one different then mine. That was the point of this program- to introduce others to a different environment to try and break down stereotypes. Though the environment was different, I didn’t consider it different in the way of diversity. I thought that this sister school would experience diversity entering into my school, which was filled with people of different colors, backgrounds and countries, however I didn’t consider entering their school entering into a diverse environment. This is where what I thought was my correct definition of diversity was blurred.


I never really realized this until preparing to head off to college. When receiving information about my new roommates I was disappointed by what I read about some of them. They seemed different from me in a way that I wouldn’t be able to adjust to. So, of course, I complained. My dad opened my eyes simply by saying “Its diversity Jenna. You are so convinced that diversity is about black and white. This is a different kind of diversity. These kids are different then you, allowing you to experience diversity of another form, one you aren’t use to”.


To be diverse the object that is diverse must be different then what it is being compared to. This requires a definition for difference. To be different is to not be the same as something else. There is a certain aspect that separates something from something else. However, something can be different and not be diverse. For example my blue shirt may be different then my yellow shirt but that doesn’t mean that my drawer is filled with diversity. The word diversity refers to larger sample of the population or objects then the clothes sitting in your drawer. The letter A might look different then B but that doesn’t mean that the alphabet is one long diverse string of letters. There is something more to diversity then just difference.


Variation is a synonym for difference. Variation provides various forms of something, or a collection of “unsimilar” objects. While variation describes a large component of diversity, along with the word different, it cannot fully lay with just this word. Another big part of what makes something diverse is its background, and the word variation helps to fully explore the background aspect. While some things may appear different, if they are exactly alike on the inside, they would probably not be considered diverse. If two or more objects, or people, come from “varying” backgrounds they most likely have attributes about them different enough to be diverse.


Diversity has a connotation that makes people usually think of a group of people when hearing that word, rather then a group of diverse objects. “The room was filled with much diversity”. After hearing this statement most would probably picture a room filled with many different kinds of people. To me, I would have pictured people from different cultures; people from all over the world. However, that is not the case. This room could have been filled with objects rather then people, or people that all look alike but are from different states, or people that are all from the same place but have different individual backgrounds, or… This could go on forever. Diversity doesn’t have a certain structure to match it. Diversity involves difference and variety. However, not everything with a variety or difference can be considered diversity.


To be diverse it must have variation or a difference. However, it must also involve experience. In order to see diversity you must recognize it as such. This means that you are looking at or viewing a certain situation and see the difference that is there, the variation that exists. If you look into a room filled with “diverse” people but do not recognize that these people are different then you, that there is variation in the room, then the diversity hasn’t fully been comprehended as such. Though diversity can exist whether you recognize it or not, if you don’t experience it then its taking away from the full idea of what diversity is. For me, once I realized how far the definition of diversity could stretch, my world of diversity greatly expanded.

This paper is really good! I was going to do diversity as my topic, and this is EXACTLY what I was going to write about. I agree completely with your definition. I think it's good how you used examples from your own life to back it up. I think that makes it look like you really do know what you're talking about. I can't think of any negative criticism at this point haha - TheRoxySpot

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