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Essay on Racial Diversity

Updated August 9, 2022

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Essay on Racial Diversity essay

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Through my own experiences and hearing about others lives I have come to understand what is diversity. I did not always understand what diversity was because it did not enter my vocabulary until I started high school. I grew up in North Minneapolis and Cedar-Riverside. The very first house my family lived in and the one I was born in had bullet holes. We never had much money, but my parents have always tried to make us feel like we were middle class. I learned how to ride a bike, a red tricycle, when I was 4 on the balcony of our apartment in Cedar. I was surrounded by brown faces and sambusa since birth. I went to a mostly Muslim Somali-Oromo school located in St. Paul called Higher Ground Academy.

The first time I noticed I was a minority would have to be when my family moved from Minneapolis to the suburbs. I transferred from a mostly black and Latino junior high school to a majority white high school. I was the only girl who was black in my class and was wearing a headscarf and a long skirt. I was actually one of the very few black kids in the entire grade. I was shocked at the lack of color in the school considering I grew up surrounded by people who looked just like me. I felt like an outsider at this new school. After a very difficult first day, I went home and cried to my parents to transfer me to the nearby mostly black high school so I could be with the people who grew up with me. My parents refused because this white school had more opportunities for me and was a high ranked school based on their test scores. I was forced to stay and it was there that I underwent serious culture shock which helped me understand what diversity is.

Everyone looked the same where I grew up in Cedar-Riverside. I never had to worry about sticking out or having to learn about different cultures because the kids and families I associated with were similar to my own. I never really understood what diversity was because I was always surrounded by people who ‘looked’ like me and had the same beliefs as me. Now I have grown to understand that diversity isn’t just in skin color, but includes all aspects of identity such as sexuality, ability, religion, immigration status, etc.

The people I met at this school introduced me to things I have never known. I went from being surrounded by all Somali friends to discovering my own diverse group of friends. I made friends of all races; white, Asian, Latino, and native American. I made friends with people who opened up to me about their sexual orientation and ability. Friends who taught me about different aspects of their religion and I taught them about mine. I started to see more than just myself and focused more on others. I learned about other cultures and how they were surprisingly similar and different to my own. But this does not mean I did not encounter any roadblocks.

During my time at this majority white high school I suffered from daily microaggressions or just plain racism. It was not until I graduated and left that space was I able to confront those who abused me mentally and emotionally. It took multiple conversations with one of my close friends for her to realize her jokes about race were hurting me the whole time. “As white people occupying these same roles, we also perpetuate microaggressions, which require a different set of skills related to critical reflex- ivity, accountability, and restorative action” (Thurber, 2018). This quote helps describe what I needed (accountability and action) in this particular situation from the perpetrator.

How I came to this present understanding of diversity has been through education. I have been educated by great teachers and friends on what exactly is diversity. I have also taken the time to self-educate myself on diversity. I’ve learned how it is more than just color of skin like I had previously thought in my earlier years. Through readings and social media I have been introduced to people of different cultures, religions, abilities, and more. My present understanding of diversity is love. To be diverse or to have diversity to me means inclusivity. Showing everyone of different race, sexual orientation, ability, gender, etc love. It means letting everyone know they are welcome. It means that everyone has a voice. It means that we all interact as humans and take pride in our similarities and differences regardless of the aspect of our identity that make up each of our wholes. It means learning and having respect for others. It means being in a space where your differences do not make you different, but appreciated.

The role my race and ethnicity have played in my life is prominent. I have learned to love and embrace my own skin and identity as a black Muslim woman in America. At times it has been hard to embrace my identity when it has been questioned by people of the same race as me because I was of a different ethnicity to them. Many times I have experienced others telling me I was not black because my ethnicity was Somali. I am a person of African descent, but my blackness was questioned because I was different than a African-American. I always had a hard time understanding the logic of calling someone not black because of their skin tone or ethnicity. But because I wore a scarf on my head and identified with my ethnicity first before my race, I was placed in a different category.

From a young age, I have learned nothing is guaranteed in life. You have to work for whatever you want in life. I discovered social classes, money and who has it and who doesn’t. I learned of privilege and my understanding of diversity have led me to discover social justice issues.

I feel powerful when speaking of diversity because of what diversity means. The integration of diversity into every entity would change the atmosphere positively for those of color everywhere. I want to ensure diversity training will be implemented in every workplace because by knowing, recognizing, and celebrating cultures of diversity. Though, “surprisingly little is known about whether these diversity structures actually help organizations address discrimination and benefit underrepresented groups” (Kaiser, 2012). I believe further investigation is required into current diversity trainings and how they could be improved to benefit minority groups. Which is part of the reason why I studied Human Resource Development. I want to get to the root of the issue and properly educate those on what is diversity and why it is important.

I use social media to raise awareness for diversity because it is a platform for anyone and everyone to speak their mind and shed light on issues that are overlooked. Using social media to spread diversity makes me feel powerful. It has connected me to diverse ideas, people of different backgrounds, stories, and new cultures. It also allows myself and others to become open to new doors of opportunity and acceptance. The proper integration of diversity could make others like me feel heard.

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Essay on Racial Diversity. (2022, Aug 09). Retrieved from