A couple of days ago I came across an old essay response to the uber-specific prompt of “Diversity: What does it mean to you?” It’s a little short, but I thought I would share this future nostalgic flashback to high school. Here it is:
Apart from the obvious ethnic diversity at Santa Barbara High, there is an underlying diversity, thick and textured, that I have come to know well in my four years here. Unfortunately, I cannot begin to describe it for you. I could categorize students by interest: those in the dodge ball club, those in the visual arts academy, those in the theater department, etc., etc. However, as you could guess, no two students in, say, the theater department share identical political views. (When I say this I’m reminded of an actual conservative Republican, I kid you not.)
It has been in this seemingly straightforward environment that I have grasped how important diversity is to me. My experience is perhaps best summarized by pointing out some of the students I work with in AP English Literature.
Sitting near me is a future economist who is currently three levels ahead of me in math and obsessed with Greek mythology. Also near me is a close friend of Japanese descent, [who is] a recent vegan, and a determined student fascinated by her human dissection classes. Then there’s this kid who commutes one hour to school everyday on the MTD green line, a future engineer who happens to have pristine musical taste. It is in these observant moments that I reflect upon my fortune: These three peers are diverse from each other and me in ethnicity, background, thought, and interest. Just by describing them I can capture the environment that talent and diversity together create, and I realize the rigorous discussion that is made available to me.
Mark Twain was quoted saying, “It were not best that we should all think alike; it is difference of opinion that makes horse races.” There may be more colossal benefits that diversity brings, but he just might have been onto something. Difference of opinion leads to progression in almost any manner; humans need to witness diverse views in order to form opinions at all. Through arguments we can assure ourselves of our views, or adjust them, and it is because of alternate interpretations that we understand the concept of perspective. To me, diversity is a vital element in life.