Diversity. What is it, really?
Well, according to Merriam-Webster, diversity is the inclusion of different types of people (such as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization and a more general definition is the condition of having or being composed of differing elements. It is basically allowing yourself to be exposed to elements/situations different from yours. Seems simple enough right? Maybe, but it is still a difficult concept for many people. If you are one of those people, here are some tips I think would be good for you to implement in your day-to-day activities.
1. Get to know people you look different from you.
This is probably the most basic one. Even though I don't believe that diversity is just having friends of different races, it is definitely a big component. Having friends who only look, speak and act like you means you're missing out on a whole other culture of people that you could probably learn a lot from.
2. Get to know people who think differently from you.
This could range from people who have differing political opinions to people who have different political opinions to people who just have different personal preferences than you. Find out why they think the way that they do and how it influences the way they do the things they do. As you're exploring the other side of the coin you'll also be getting to know them better!
3. Ask about the things people say and do that you don't understand.
I know for me being a Nigerian, I do and say many things subconsciously that many Americans do not understand but when people ask me about those things, first of all, it tells me that you're paying attention to me (which I love) and it gives me an opportunity to share some of my culture with you.
4. Be intentional about learning about other cultures
I hear so many people say "I love Asian culture!" or "I just love Africa!" but which part of those continents (highlighting this because people seem to always forget that they're not actually countries)? And what are you doing to further educate yourself on those places? Being intentional about learning means taking concrete steps; joining a student organization relating to that culture, befriending people who've lived in those places and keeping up with what is happening in those places. Going on a mission trip every five years just doesn't cut it.
5. Don't be shy about asking or answering hard questions
This is a big one. Often times when you have friends of different races, hard questions come up that can often be difficult to answer or even just ask. But that is the advantage of being friends with someone; you can talk more honestly with that person than with a random person that you meet. Having those hard conversations provides the opportunity for you to strengthen that relationship and educate yourselves in the process.