Yesterday us BYU program kids had our last class of the spring term (and mine forever. Yay!), a class on gender, race, and diversity in the media. We only met once a week, but I really enjoyed the discussions we got into regarding diversity. Dr. Wakefield asked us a lot of tough questions, such as: What makes up a person's culture? Why do stereotypes exist? Are government programs helping or hurting those groups that are oppressed? Is America a melting pot, like it claims to be, or is it more like a salad bowl?
We never really came up with definitive answers to these questions, nor do I think there really is one. But I was impressed how many different opinions and viewpoints this small group of white, Mormon, 20-somethings expressed regarding these issues. It was always a lively debate.
I realize that as a Single White Female I can't exactly push my views onto other cultures or expect them to see things the same way I do. I've never lived in their shoes. I've never experienced the unique pains and joys that come from living in an urban community, or a reservation, or a house full of immigrant families. However, I do believe that we should all accept each other's differences and Love Each Other, as GOB Bluth so eloquently puts it.
The vast array of cultures is probably my favorite thing about living in New York City. What's that old joke? That you know you're in New York when your doorman is Russian, your grocer is Korean, your deli man is Israeli, your building super is Italian, your laundry guy is Chinese, your favorite bartender is Irish, your favorite diner owner is Greek, the watchseller on your corner is Senegalese, your last cabbie was Pakistani, your newsstand guy is Indian and your favorite falafel guy is Egyptian.
I don't think any other city exists like this in the world, and I love interacting with those so different than me on a daily basis. It's the reason Humans of New York is one of my favorite websites. It just shows that no matter how different we are, we all have hopes and dreams. We all want to make it in this crazy world. We all have a story to tell.
It's not hard to be kind. It shouldn't be hard to not be judgmental. No matter the person's race, gender, sexual preference, hair color, size, political party, whatever, there's no excuse for hate. We don't have to agree. We just have to Love Each Other.