When we’re young, we form predisposed perceptions of what the “norm” is based on our own families and culture, and we often use these notions to judge those that have different upbringings and points of view.
As I was growing up, I read voraciously, and through literature, I was able to learn more about many different cultures and places. Reading has allowed me to explore the concept of diversity in a greater context, and as a result, I am much more aware of the differences that exist in our world. I have become more open minded and empathetic, and rather than being skeptical of differences, I appreciate diversity and how it makes our world extraordinary.
Books such as Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, George Orwell’s 1984, and Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake have helped me understand and acknowledge the differences that exist in our world, especially the issues concerning race, culture, religion, abilities, gender, and socioeconomic status. These books have encouraged me to view our society in a completely new perspective, and in doing so, I have also started to change my attitude towards differences by celebrating the things that distinguish us.
I highly encourage reading the books mentioned earlier to expand your own perceptions about diversity. Knowledge helps us become more objective about the differences that exist in our communities, and it will also help us appreciate how these differences can bring us together.