The world is constantly evolving and it is important for us to continually embrace the ever-increasing diversity of the cultures and people around us. Whether your perspective is from times past or from the prejudices of today’s world, we are all on a learning curve that must be based on tolerance and understanding. Only when we truly attempt to understand different cultures, mindsets and environments can we embrace our collective diversity. All it takes is the willingness to step outside your comfort zone and having an open mind to diversity.
Intolerance occurs when we do not understand another person’s motivations. While most people expect diversity, they don’t respect it. The solution to this is balancing our confusion and anger with curiosity and innovation.
Moving from anger to acceptance, we must modernize our views, pre-conceived notions and definitions. Change within a culture is grounded within two different types of thinking: traditional and new wave. Traditional thinking is based on strict religious concepts whereas new wave thinking opens the doors to a way of living with far less boundaries.
While you cannot force a person to change, you can expose them to different ways of life and an alternative way of thinking and, possibly even alter their frame of reference. For example, if you never met someone from a particular country, you might hold prejudices toward them and keep your distance. But the more you know someone, the more his or her humanity comes through. Maybe you realize you both like baseball or loved the same bands in high school. Judgments are mostly based on ignorance, so be curious about something revolutionary to your psyche and it will greatly expand your horizons.
People with an antiquated perception of culture or race have been raised a certain way and changing their perceptions can be a slow and laborious process. New information needs to be spoon-fed, only giving them knowledge they can psychologically and emotionally digest. It is hard for people to change, but if the world is moving fast, their old ways of thinking will ultimately isolate them.
If you want your children to embrace diversity, educate and expose them. Travel to different countries, cities or even neighborhoods. Children are naturally open and it is the parents who hold judgments. Sit down with your children and let them talk. You’ll be surprised at their honesty.
Embracing diversity will make our future world a better place. A diverse world is a successful world with a thriving economy, a healthy and happy population, less violence and crime and countries and people working together. Each ethnic or cultural group holds a piece of the puzzle that can solve the world’s problems. If these diverse groups – each a piece of the puzzle – can come together, we will have a world filled with peace, prosperity and acceptance.