The Assets of Diversification

The Assets of Diversification

In seventh grade, I befriended a group of boys who introduced me to Japanese RPGs and rekindled my love for animes. Because of them, I learned how awesome Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, and Suikoden are. Because of them, I changed my mind about animes and realised that they weren’t for little kids. I’m thankful for them because they opened up my mind to many things. In fact, I’m thankful for the environment I grew up in — an extremely diverse environment.

I grew up in a US military community, an actual military base, in the middle of Seoul. All my schooling occurred there, and my career began there, too. However, I lived outside of the base, in one of the many Korean neighbourhoods surrounding the base. Yet I am truly blessed with my circumstances because of all the diversity I encounter on a daily basis. The US military has people from all cultures, and I meet so many people who are of Asian, European, African, and American descents. Outside of the base, I encounter Koreans, Britons, Australians, New Zealanders, and so many nationalities because I live in the foreigner’s district of Seoul.

I am grateful for meeting such a diverse range of people. One of my former co-workers is from Guam, and she has introduced me to many things about Guamanian culture, including their amazing food. One of my closest friends is a Zainichi Korean, and she has shared her experiences growing up in Japan. Another friend is Polish, and I’ve learned some interesting facts about his culture. These are just a few examples of the diversity I experience on a daily basis, and I’m really grateful for them.

But going back to my love for animes, mangas, and video games — my circumstances have always allowed me to meet many people with similar interests. I’ve met parents, co-workers, and classmates who like what I like, and when we discover these common interests, I talk to them with delight. I’ve read about how some people feel alone because they don’t encounter people with those interests, and I’m struck by how fortunate I am to be in an extremely diverse place to meet people who are into my hobbies. Sure, the Internet has allowed people like me to find like-minded folks, but it’s always great to find them in real life, too!

Are you living in a diverse community? What’s your favourite thing to learn about another person’s culture? Do you meet a lot of like-minded people offline?

Comments

  1. This post warms my heart so much, I love knowing that people are thankful and welcoming of diversity, I recently stopped reading the news because of all the hate it seems to spout about diversity. But this is SO lovely, I love learning about people’s cultures and history. It is so pleasing to my mind to learn more about the world around me. Interestingly, I don’t meet a lot of like minded people offline, a lot of people around me aren’t interested in different cultures, I find they have a more negative look on it?

    • I find it interesting that a lot of people around you aren’t interested in different cultures. That’s a shame, really, but I guess some people are not interested in learning about different cultures and whatnot.

  2. It’s amazing how a group of people can change your outlook on something for a long time! Even with living in Korea, it’s great to hear that you’re experiencing a lot of diversity! Diversity is good because you get a “feel” or sight of how other cultures work first hand. It makes me think why racism exist and why people should feel one’s culture is superior than others. Every culture has it’s great features as well as its flaws.

    I live in a totally diverse community. I mostly like the food that the other cultures carry. Recently, I’ve been learning more about the Iranian culture because of my coworkers and it’s pretty interesting. As well as meeting someone like-minded, I only met one who’s like-minded as me offline XD. ~such a picky person~

    • Yeah, I’ve no idea why racism and all that exist. Seriously. It makes no sense. We’re all the same species — just have different mindset and cultures. But then some people have to care about the colours of our skin and have to try and impose their culture because theirs is superior and all that. Completely illogical, if you ask me!

  3. Where I grew up — Hong Kong — not so much. Where I now live — the Internet Sydney — very diverse space! My best friends are all from different ethnic, cultural and religious (or lack thereof) backgrounds. Really glad the parents gave me the opportunity to go overseas to experience this! :)

    • HAHA! I love how you crossed out the Internet. XD It’s true, though! Thanks to the Internet, I’ve met so many diverse individuals, and I’m thankful for that :3 But I also like all the offline people I’ve met, so that’s also a win-win!

      I’m glad you went overseas, too :D You had a wonderful opportunity, thanks to your parents!

  4. I love and welcome diversity. :) Last year, Anchorage, AK was named the most diverse city in all of America if you can believe that. I think the results, the large ratios at least, were due in part because we don’t have very many people in the first place. At any rate, though, I never once thought there were more people of one culture vs. another culture in my neighborhood, school, community altogether. It is really an awesome way to grow up!

    • That’s awesome about Anchorage being the most diverse city in America! WOOT! Glad you were able to grow up in a diverse community, Shayne!

  5. :’) <3

    It is so great that you can appreciate that about your life and not take it for granted. You really had/have a unique perspective and it's great that you know it. <3

    • Haha! Yeah, I sort of do come from a unique circumstance which therefore gave me a unique perspective. I am definitely thankful for that! ^^

  6. I think that’s great that you’ve been exposed to different cultures and are able to meet people from many different places! I feel like diversity really helps people have an open mind. It’s also nice when you’re able to meet people who have the same interests as you.

    Austin is not as diverse as some of the major US cities, but it’s a lot better than most Texas cities. I like that we have a diverse food culture at least XD Fortunately when it comes to similar interests, I have many coworkers who like the same things as me!

    • I second this! Having lived in/around Austin for ~3 years (the duration of middle school), it was the second most diverse place I lived, with San Antonio being the first… but what I second is that Austin is better than most other Texas cities.

    • Diverse food cultures is better than no diversity at all! I’ll never say no to food XD My Guamanian co-worker said that food is the one common thing that unites us all, so it makes sense that food is one of the first things we all want to share with each other!

      You’re lucky you have plenty of like-minded co-workers! :D I have a few here and there, but I sure would love more ^^

  7. Because my stepfather could never hold a steady job, I was always being moved to a new city every one-to-two years. If he screwed up his job or couldn’t make nice with the police in one place, we moved. I hated it, but looking back now, I’m able to see that, because I moved around so much, I met so many different people and became familiar with so many races. At a few schools, I was considered to be in the minority group, and at another I was considered to be in the “freaks” group (because I’m Native American, and as a kid, it really showed). I had a pretty diverse childhood, and like Cat says, it opens one’s mind. (And, like Nancy, I don’t understand why racism exists, either.)

    As far as meeting people offline goes, I…don’t. I don’t really like people as a whole, though they are more tolerable online—and usually less ignorant. I’ve been to blogging events, but for the most part, everyone cared more about making connections with each other rather than making friends, so…I didn’t meet people to connect with in that fashion. I’ve maybe met one like-minded person offline who became a friend, but she ended up moving to New York to live closer to her girlfriend approximately one year later, so…blah. >.<

    My favorite part of another’s culture is their dances. I’m not super daring when it comes to food, so that’s out, but dances differ so much, and it fascinates me. If animals are included in culture, then those are a favorite, too.

    • I’ve never been to a blogging event myself, so I’ve no idea how that would go. However, I have met fellow bloggers or fandom friends when the opportunity have arisen, and it’s been great meeting online friends in person.

      I’m sort of the opposite from you and so many military/embassy brats. I stayed in one location, but people always comes and goes in my life, and so when someone moves away, I am not deeply saddened by it. I’ve got really used to it.

      And oooh. Dances. I’ve a real keen interest in Maori dances and the Korean traditional folk dances, too! However, food will always be my first great love in cultural exchanges XD

  8. Michelle on

    The only culture I grew up in was my father’s and he comes from El Salvador in Central America. Hispanic culture is interesting and I love a lot of it, but I did grow up in the white culture as well. My roots extend very deeply. That’s what I get for being half. :D

    Also, I moved a lot when little…so yeah XD

    • That’s good you got to be exposed to your father’s heritage :) I’m thankful that I got to grow up in Korea due to being a Korean descent myself. I definitely consider myself lucky for that!

  9. I consider Houston, TX to be very very diverse… Probably more than San Antonio and Austin. I grew up in deep deep south Texas, where it’s 90%-95% Hispanic which to me isn’t as diverse… Minuscule non-Hispanic population. When I finally left “nowhere, TX” as I call it, I knew I wanted to be in an area that was heavily diverse because I’m a foodie at heart. XD

    • Woot! Fellow foodies unite! :D

      But I’m glad you’re living in a more diverse environment now. Diversity is always better than sameness. :D

  10. I like diversity a lot. I think it’s incredibly important. I’ve always been part of relatively diverse communities. I’ve lived in several countries, tried to learn a handful of languages, and worked with people from all over the world.

    I don’t like racism, but I totally get it. I think it makes a lot of sense. Tons of people are selfish and lazy; life is easier if you’re racist. It allows for treating a group of people like crap just because, for blaming random bad things on another group just because, and it gives racists an immediate confidence-boost. Being considerate to everyone isn’t easy and if you’re racist you don’t have to do it. =/

    Anyway, that’s why I love diversity, because it makes people feel guilty and second guess racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.

    • Yes to how diversity make people second guess racism and all the other ism/ia that are totally not necessary. It is a shame that people will blame and generalise a group of people based on race/gender/orientation, but I guess that’s part of human nature — the ugly face of human nature.

  11. Even having grown up in the “most diverse city in America” according to Time magazine in 2002, I feel like I take diversity for granted. Sure, the food options were vast. And so many of my classmates and friends in school were of mixed-race. I have friends of various social-ethnic groups due to my involvement with JROTC, track, clubs, and honors program. People are quite familiar and respectful of the different culture. (But that doesn’t mean racism is gone. It’s just more hidden in smaller pockets.) Then I visit the mid-west and it’s a reminder of what great diversity I have at home.

    But there’s diversity and then there’s integration. It would be sad if people only stuck to their own group and never interact with outsiders. I think we have a pretty high diversity but moderate integration amongst the groups (although I think social class drives the integration more than race here). And there’s also still other social barriers, as evident by my honors and college classes being predominantly Whites and Asians…but that’s a whole another issue that I’m drifting into.

    To answer your questions, I love learning about the food and traditions and holidays of other culture. Just spreading the love. As for meeting like-minded people offline, I think it was more true when I was in college when we were all the same age group and studying engineering and taking classes together. Now it’s much harder to make new friends outside of school. :(

    • It is harder to make friends outside of school. Now, I’m mostly limited to trying to befriend my co-workers, which isn’t a bad thing, but it’s also just so limiting. Unless I join a group of some sort, it’s difficult meeting new people!

      And you bring up a good point about diversity and integration. Integration is definitely a concept I hadn’t really consider much, so I’m glad you brought it up!

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