Diversity is More Than Superficial Characteristics

When you hear the word “diversity”, what come to mind? Maybe you think of race. Maybe you think of gender. Maybe you think of religion. The Merriam-Webster dictionary has several different definitions of diversity, but the very first one listed is “the quality or state of having many different forms, types, ideas, etc.”

In this day and age, we are driven by a need to demonstrate our so called “diversity”. Look at the last page of an online job application and more often than not, it will request extensive information on your race, ethnicity and gender, as if this is the ultimate screening for a qualified job candidate. Your resume, skills, and cover letter were only precursors to the far more important question of how diverse you appear to be. But perhaps that is the real issue – our obsession with the appearance of diversity.

Imagine a room filled with candidates competing for one job position. Everyone has a different and imaginative skin appearance ranging from bright blue to polka dot. There is an even mix of men and women, and religious association is just as evenly distributed. Now imagine that when each individual is interviewed, they all give a mediocre performance, with similar responses to questions. Who should the employer select for the job? If it were me, I would send them all home. Give me the plainest gray blob of a person with a stellar personality and excellent qualifications and they have got the job.

What we encounter is not a lack of outward diversity, but a fundamental lack of inward diversity. A diversity of thought, ideas, and personas. This has been demonstrated time and time again. The news praises diversity and inclusion of races and genders, and at times it feels as if they are shoving it down our throats. OK, inclusion and equality are great, but what happens when these stories are disregarded as irrelevant and redundant? The challengers are demonized and accused of being every type of discriminant racist under the sun.

If we are such an advanced society, why are we so obsessed with focusing solely on these superficial characteristics? If full equality is the final goal, these traits should not matter. What matters most is what makes you diverse on the inside: your inner thoughts, your contributions to society, and the sincerity of your heart. The world needs people with good hearts and minds. Creative people with innovative new ideas, sound ethical standards, and a sincere commitment to the betterment of others. The world needs these people now more than ever. So put down your phones, turn off the TV, and stop blindly following every social movement you read about on Buzzfeed. Work on your own inner diversity, and I promise you will not regret it.

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