Diversity Is Beautiful

Diversity Is Beautiful

Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.
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Discrimination: the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on grounds of race, age or sex, etc.

Discrimination shows itself in multitudes of forms across the world; people discriminate typically against people, things or beliefs that are different than their own. Maybe it's because they don't understand the differences, maybe it's because they're afraid of the differences or maybe it's because they don't care to look at the beauty of the differences. Living in a world where everyone looks the same, acts the same, believes in the same things, would be such an uninteresting, mundane world to live in. Regardless, discrimination is wrong in every aspect, and I never quite understood it. I just can't seem to wrap my head around why people wouldn't want to see a world that is diverse.

Diversity: the quality or state of having many different forms, types, ideas, etc.

To me, there is nothing quite as beautiful and special as a diverse group of people. Now, if why I think a group of diverse people is wonderful is hard for you to wrap your head around, think of it like this and hopefully you'll understand.

If you're looking at a large flower garden, would you notice an individual flower if it was the same type, shape, color and size as the rest of the flowers surrounding it in the garden? Chances are, you wouldn't be able to greatly appreciate an individual flower because it simply was just the same as all the rest.

Now, imagine another garden, where each flower was different than the others surrounding it; the flowers were all different sizes, colors, shapes, and they all grew in a different way. The garden makes a stunning array of colors and contrasts, and you can always find something different and unique about each individual flower.

The first garden represents what people see when they discriminate against others or different ideas; they see one shade of color, only one size and one shape. They see a garden with the same type of flowers – still pretty in their eyes, but not very outstanding or unique.

The second garden represents what people see when they appreciate and encourage diversity – different colors, different shapes and different sizes. They see a garden where the flowers grew in their own individual ways and blossomed into their own unique flower, yet each and every flower looks great standing next to a flower that is different than itself. It's almost like each flower is saying, "Yes, I'm beautiful, but look at how beautiful I am paired with the flower standing next to me."

Diversity in people is something that is much more beautiful to me than any garden could be. Diversity in people is when groups mix with each other, despite skin color, age, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, and act as a whole group. It's when the group realizes that strength lies in their differences, not their similarities. It's when differences are appreciated, respected and encouraged. It's acknowledging the hard times and struggles of each person in the group and working to understand their feelings and their past to make changes, so the same struggles do not occur again. Diversity is loving one another based on who we are on the inside, not what we look like on the outside.

We are all people, and we all deserve to be loved, understood and appreciated.

Love does not discriminate.

Discrimination is ugly. End it. Stop it. Fight against it.

Diversity is beautiful. Embrace it. Encourage it. Fight for it.

"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for loves comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite." - Nelson Mandela



Cover Image Credit: Erika Helo

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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Dear Beautiful Black Girl, Never Forget Your Worth

An ode to all the beautiful black girls.

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We live in a society where societal standards greatly define the way we view ourselves. Although in 2019 these standards are not clear cut, some things are not easy to change. Not to play the race card, but this is true for women of color, especially black girls.

As much as I'd like to address this to all women, I want to hit on something that I'm more familiar with: being a black girl. Black females have a whole package to deal with when it comes to beauty standards. The past suppression and oppression our ancestors went through years ago can still be felt in our views of beauty. It is rare to see young black girls be taught that their afros and nappy hair are beautiful. Instead, we are put under flat irons and dangerous chemicals that change our hair texture as soon as our hair becomes too "complicated" to deal with. The girls with darker skin are not praised, but rather lowered in comparison to their peers with fairer skin. A lot of the conditioning happens at a young age — at the age of 8, already you can feel like you're in the wrong skin.

As we grow up, there are more expectations that come here and there, a lot of very stereotypical and diminishing. "You're a black girl, you should know how to dance," "black girls don't have flat butts," "black girls know how to cook," "you must have an attitude since you're black" — I'm sure you get the idea. Let me say this: "black girls," as they all like to say, are not manufactured with presets. Stop looking for the same things in all of us. Black girls come in all sizes, shapes, colors, and talents. I understand that a lot of these come from cultural backgrounds, but you cannot bash a black girl because she does not fit the "ideal" description.

And there is more.

The guys that say, "I don't do black girls, they too ratchet/they got an attitude" — excuse me? Have you been with/spoken to all the black girls on this planet? Is this a category that you throw all ill-mouthed girls? Why such prejudice, especially coming from black men? Or they will chant that they interact with girls that are light-skinned, that is their conditioned self-speaking. The fact that these men have dark-skinned sisters and mothers and yet don't want to associate with girls that look the same confuses me. And who even asked you? There are 100 other ethnicities and races in the world, and we are the one you decide to spit on? Did we do something to you?

Black girls already have society looking at them sideways. First, for being a woman, and second, for being black, and black males add to this by rejecting and disrespecting us.

But we still we rise above it all.

Black girls of our generation are starting to realize the power that we hold, especially as we work hand in hand. Women like Oprah Winfrey, Lupita Nyong'o, Chinua Achebe, Michelle Obama — the list is too long — are changing the narrative of the "black girl" the world knows. The angry black woman has been replaced with the beautiful, educated, and successful melanin-filled woman.

Girls, embrace your hair, body, and skin tone, and don't let boys or society dictate what is acceptable or beautiful. The black girl magic is real, and it's coming at them strong.

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