Column: Explore and embrace diversity
Published: Thursday, March 21, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 22, 2013 16:03
I consider myself to be a flamingo that was happily placed in a flock of swans. I’m an African-American woman who defied unfair stereotypes of my race and gender, I was raised below the poverty line and I’m attracted to other women.
I’ll save you about a minute and a half of skimming and sum up the 18 years I spent in my typical conservative town as the typical bullying and teasing encountered by someone who was simply too different. That’s why I believe that diversity is much needed in society to ensure open-mindedness and respect.
One of the main reasons I came to Loyola was because of the diversity. We are so blessed to attend a university where there are students from 48 states and 54 countries. That statistic boggles my mind every time I share it with prospective students and their families, as a telecounselor, Ambassador and president of the Wolf Pack Diversity Team.
Granted, Loyola is known for being an especially welcoming community in a city where “Anything goes.” But as students, do we really take the time to branch out and get to know students who may look differently, think differently, act differently or talk differently, on a deeply genuine level? Or do we just take our blessing for granted?
There’s a quote by Dr. Seuss that’s been seen on countless Facebook statuses: “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
I think of this as a reminder that we all have something so beautiful, fragile and precious that has been placed inside of us.
The last word of the quote is significant: YOU. It’s up to us to decide what we will do with our gift. Will we hold it close inside, and choose to share it with those that we choose? Or will we release our gift to share that with all of the rest of the world? The choice is yours. There is something beautiful that can be found in diversity: unity. Even though everyone is truly remarkable and uniquely touched with God’s grace, the one constant is that we come together to remind each other that we have hearts and souls that are connected through a fine thread of love, respect and compassion.
Not only will our communing with others display our gifts, but we will also receive theirs as well. Think of it as a mutual relationship that also inspires other individuals who don’t exactly fit into the cookie-cutter norm to expand, explore and embrace.
So, like I said, the choice is yours. You can either stay in your little box and eventually become bored with the same mundane experiences or spend a few minutes talking to that person in your Common Curriculum class who secretly fascinates you because they defy the norm. And who knows what will happen? Through your branching out, you can inspire your new acquaintance, be inspired by them and inspire others. You’ve got a world of knowledge, respect, tolerance and appreciation to gain and only close-mindedness to lose.
A’Niya Robinson is a political science freshman and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
In My Opinion is a regular column open to all Loyola alumni. Those interested in contributing can contact email@example.com