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DIVERSE CITY: Let us form a diverse city

By Alie Tawah

Section: Arts

April 16, 2010

GRAPHIC BY Ariel Wittenberg/The Hoot

Let us form a diverse city, one full of different cultures, races and religions. Let our city be a place where people do not see race, only color. Where people do not judge others by what they wear but instead who they are. Maybe it would even be better if people did not judge at all.

Look around you. Look at all the different kinds of people you see. Choose one person and take a guess about who they are from what you see and what you know about their race, their clothing style, their shoes. Are they religious? What is their sexual orientation? Are they rich? Stylish? Bummy? Whack? Do you think he or she works hard or are they a slacker? Why? What made you decide on the characteristics you have chosen? Do you think the way you interact with them will be affected by this?

Perhaps if we lived in a diverse city, there would be less: less assumption making based on stereotypes, less judging based on outwards appearance. Less jumping to conclusions because of past surprises, more perspective.

We base our assumptions on the knowledge we have acquired and experiences we have had. If someone has a bad experience with a certain group of people, even in knowing that not everyone is they same, they can still become biased. If this same person has a good experience with that same group of people, they then may begin to question their bias or simply realize that it is there. Knowing something to be true and experiencing it are different things.

We can study as hard as we can to learn about different cultures, religions and races. We can read books about the different places in the world and their cultures but until we experience them we can never really know. You can never truly know your limits unless you push yourself. You can never really understand your comfort zone unless you step outside of it. Being in a diverse city does not automatically open our eyes and give us understanding, it simply increases the chances of being exposed to things that make us ask questions and form opinions.

It simply enables us to know our limits and our weaknesses, it gives us a stronger, more rounded sense of self. Take a moment, take a week, take a few months. Brandeis isn’t perfect but it is a diverse city. Explore it.

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