April 2016 marks the month to celebrate “DIVERSITY”! Such a word has been gaining usage in classrooms, social media, and maybe even in our day to day conversations but what exactly does the term mean? And why is important, especially today?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, diversity= the state of having people who are different races or who have different cultures in a group or organization. However, this definition does not measure the depth of what diversity is. Diversity is not just about the skin color a person holds but includes respect, acceptance, and understanding for thy fellowman’s uniqueness.
Thus encompassing sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, religious beliefs, political beliefs, gender, and many more characteristics. This is not to say respect, acceptance, and understanding for those that are different is an effortless task for everyone. However, “tolerance” is what we should be seeking. To be tolerant= willing to accept feelings, habits, or beliefs that are different from your own. It means to be open-minded. It means to live and let live. Mind your own business.
One would believe the burden of nonacceptance would have been lifted at this point in modern life, especially since there have been laws in place to protect such occurrences since 1957 (Civil Rights Act of 1957, 1960, and 1964). Though these laws made it tough to “corporately” discriminate (i.e. schools, workplace, or other public establishments) the law of the nation has yet to catch up. While the United States grows in diversity, the country still lacks an open-minded atmosphere. Which is a contradiction for a country referred to as a “Melting Pot”.