Visible or invisible, “we all have different ways of saying to the world who we are,” as Fred Rogers revealed. Accepting uniqueness is the surest way to create oneness. Importantly, whereas diversity acknowledges difference, tolerance requires respect and rights for everyone.
Endorsing the different dimensions of diversity, I combine learning with laughter to create a classroom community that appreciates individuality. With empathy as my anchor, I suggest students evolve in their own rhyme and time. To quote Max de Pree, “we need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity.” As an expat in the United Arab Emirates, I taught Sheikhs alongside students on scholarships. I see people for their potential, not their pedigree.
When in the workplace, I establish my individual identity while connecting with colleagues from different colleges and countries. Knowing the person behind the profession is paramount. I seek to strengthen equity efforts on campus and in the larger community of which it is a part.
While introspecting about incidents of inclusion or exclusion, it’s powerful to ponder the perception proposed by Octavius Black that “I’m not different from you, I’m different like you.”