On diversity

On diversity

Me, in a sea of white.

I want to be special. Everyone does, right? Everyone wants to be a Campbell-ian hero, with a set journey. I also don’t want to be special. Maybe a hold-over from my middle school/high school years, where you try to be like everybody else. To be normal.

I’m undecided, you see. Which means this post might not arrive to a singular conclusion. You’ve been warned.

This post has been tumbling around my head for a while, ever since I returned from my semester abroad in Nebraska. During my stay there, I participated in the college newspaper as a reporter. It was an amazing experience, as it was nice to do journalism in a school environment that supports it.

When the semester was done, a colleague told me how happy he/she was that the paper was more diverse that year, with two diverse news writers. Now, I know what he meant. I’d agree that diversity is something media should strive for. I thanked him for that, and his/her help advice during the semester.

It wasn’t until later that his comment started gnawing at me. Was I diverse because of my name? My color of skin, my nationality? Are those factors enough to consider me “diverse”? Whatever else, I still was a middle-class student fortunate enough to spend a semester abroad. I’m college-educated, just as all my other colleagues where.

So am I diverse? Am I not? Is it up to me or to other people to decide?

So that’s unanswered question #1.

My train of thought then led me to the concept of minority. Was I seen as a minority when I went to the US? Most likely. However I’ve never been a minority because, duh, I’ve lived in Mexico which is, for the most part, homogenous in “race”. This is of course, besides the fact that there are brown Mexicans and white Mexicans. Blonde, brunette, redheads, short, tall Mexicans. We’re all still Mexicans. But I digress.

The concept of race is so intertwined with US culture that it’d be funny if it wasn’t so tragic. One thing I’m sure, though, is that Americans don’t feel like minorities when traveling abroad. I do wonder, though, if they see everyone else there as a minority?

Unanswered question #2!

So where does that leave (narcissistic, egotistical, self-centered) me? I’ve fallen prey to using that “diverse status” sometimes to grab attention. “Hey, person I admire” I would tweet. “I love your work. Hello, from Mexico!”. As if, in this day and age, people using the internet abroad was an unheard concept. I’m trying to do better, I promise.

There’s deeper thoughts, and more coherent ones, about this topic I’d like to share. Maybe one day I’ll be able to put them into words.