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What Diversity Means to Me

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Submitted By shelleyd683
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Reflective Paper: Diversity, What Does It Mean to You?
11/1/2012 The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines diversity as “an instance of being composed of differing elements or qualities” (Merriam-Webster). Based on past and present life experiences, I have to agree with this definition. Diversity, or different qualities, is within each person, group of people, and organization. I was raised most of my life in Indianapolis, Indiana. This is a major city with many different types of people. I went to school with whites, blacks, Hispanics, and other races. Having diversity, or people who were different, around me was an everyday thing. In the eleventh grade our family moved to a tiny, one stoplight town called Frankton, Indiana. It was a very different environment for me due to the lack of diversity in the town. The town consisted of mainly white people. I think there was only one black person in the entire school. I remember talking to a few of the students about where I came from and the diversity I had grown up with. They were amazed I came from such a big city as Indianapolis. Everyone asked me questions about what it was like to live in an area that was so diversified. It was hard to believe that even in this era the people of this town seemed to be so secluded and seem to have no idea about other races or cultures. There was not much diversity in this small town, therefore they seemed to be only educated about what they knew. I believe education is the key when it comes to accepting those who are different than us. I not only grew up with many cultures in Indianapolis, but I knew people with different types of disabilities. I am visually impaired due to diseases called Glaucoma and Iritis (Arthritis of the eyes). I went to school at the Indiana School for the Blind. Every student at this school had some kind of visual impairment that varied to different degrees. They were totally blind or, like myself, had minimal visual impairment. I learned to adapt to each level of impairment because I was educated and knew about the impairment levels. A majority of the students who went to the school not only had visual impairments but also other conditions such as Autism, Down Syndrome, and many more. I am also educated about all of these diseases because I was around them so much growing up. I wish all people were educated about disabilities or around people with diverse disabilities. At the age of six, I was in the grocery store with my mom when another mom pointed and laughed at me and said to her child, “honey look at her big eyes”. She was referring to my eyes and how big they were due to the fact my glasses were so thick and magnetized them so much. If this woman had lived in a more diverse world, or had been better educated about disabilities, she may have not said what she said. I believe her lack of education, understanding, and lack of diversity in her life made her less accepting. There is a quote from a well known children’s author, Stephen Cosgrove, that I love, “Never judge someone, By the way he looks, Or a book by the way it’s covered; For inside those tattered pages, There’s a lot to be discovered” (Cosgrove). Right now I work as a shipping clerk in a distribution warehouse. I see many different types of people daily. I do not prejudge them or dismiss them due to things that I hear or have happened in the past. We live in a diverse world and each person is different. In order for anyone to live in a diverse world, they must be educated and accepting to change. These are two key factors when it comes to diversity. My perception of diversity is differences and variety in the world Diversity/differences are all around us. We must choose to be educated about the differences and accept them as they come.

Works Cited
"Stephen Cosgrove Quotes." Stephen Cosgrove Quotes (Author of Serendipity). N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2012. .

DiversityAbout Our Definitions: All Forms of a Word (noun, Verb, Etc.) Are Now Displayed on One Page." Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2012. .

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