Need Diversity in Your Life? Here’s Some Great Ideas!

by Michelle Shores

Imagine if every single person was the same. There would be no cultural cuisine, ethnic dances or even different tastes in movies and television shows. Despite the obvious boredom that would result from a lack of diversity, many people still hold on to prejudices. However, now is the time to stop them.

Drop Stereotypes
The first step in becoming more accepting of everyone is to drop stereotypes. Stop having certain ideas about people who are of a different origin, race, nationality, sexuality and so forth. Think about the ways in which people would stereotype you. Are all of these assumptions true? Probably not. So why would they be true about another person?

Make New Friends
Look around your circle of friends. Is everyone pretty much from the same religion, race and socioeconomic background? Making new friends can be hard. However, consider taking a cooking class for an ethnic cuisine or visit religious services at a church, temple or mosque that has practices which are different from your own. By doing so, you will be exposing yourself to a whole new group of people. Of course, you should not just drop your old friends, as that would be counterproductive to embracing and accepting everyone. Introduce new friends and old friends, and perhaps you will encourage diversity in your friends' lives too.

Have a Penpal
Check into pen pal programs, and do not worry, pen pals are not just for children! Try to find a pen pal who lives in another country, and discuss the ways in which your lives are both different and the same. You could also try finding a pen pal who simply lives in another part of the country. The background and ways of life for people living in the highly populated New York City are going to be much different from the lives of those living on a farm in the midwest. Understanding different ways of life is the first step toward acceptance of them.

Attend Cultural Events
Many colleges, restaurants and communities play host to festivals that celebrate different ethnicity. Attend them and really participate. Do not simply walk around and shop. Sample the different food, and stay around to listen to music or watches dances from the country. Pay attention to any customs that you observe. If you do not understand why people are participating in a specific custom, ask someone. If that is not possible, jot down what you observed and research it online later on.

Visit Another Country
If funds and time allow for it, visit a country which you never imagined yourself being in. You will truly get a sense of the religion, customs, traditions and food of the region. Just be sure to take the proper precautions, so that everyone is safe. To go anywhere that's even remotely different, you'll need vaccinations, insurance, etc - if you can't afford this, try to find a nearby town that's like a little enclave of another country. Most states have quite a few of these, whether it's Latin, Jewish or Eastern European!

Becoming embracing to and accepting of all people is not just about changing your mind. People can say that their minds are changed, but they may just be pretending. Completely immersing yourself in different cultures and exploring all that is out there are the two best strategies for truly appreciating all life.

This post was written by Michelle Shores

Michelle Shores writes about diversity and international travel. Whenever she takes her kids abroad (they've been to a dozen countries), she make sure to visit, to get the best rates out there!

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