How to Treat Diversity with Respect
Written by: Gaaya Srimarthandan
Hatred and prejudice are not innate, they are entirely cultivated.
Canada is a country that, like some other countries, is blessed to be the home of such a rich, diverse population. We are blessed to have a beautiful range of cultures and a wide variety of languages being spoken. This is what makes our country, our country.
Inevitably, when working in a field that requires strong interpersonal skills, one must be capable of being compassionate and understands towards cultures that differ from their own, and respect that not everyone has been given the opportunity to learn the lingua franca that they are accustomed to. However, this does not only go to fields like education, linguistics, politics, and other art-related studies in which people are more exposed to a variety of people from differing backgrounds, or studies in which people are exposed on a global scale (especially teachers, ELL educators, cultural ambassadors, etc). This same concept applies to really any field of work, as in all fields of work, your relations and ability to work with others is the prime factor that will trigger your success.
In a world that is progressively turning more and more globalized, not only do I encourage language learning and intercultural, interpersonal learning for this very reason but also to simply improve yourself as an individual in itself.
However, I do not want to encourage others to necessarily blame people for not being culturally aware or impatient with those who do not speak English, as hatred and prejudice are not innate, but are entirely cultivated.
I encourage you to continue to learn and open your mind to stray away from the ignorance and become a strong global citizen. Learn to pronounce your student’s names properly. Learn to never mock someone’s accent. Learn to never confine your co-workers or clients to stereotypes or stigmas that are associated with them due to nothing but pure chance. Whether that means through travel, learning the history behind your favourite “foreign” cuisine, or beginning to expand your language capabilities; there are many steps that can be taken.
And for those who have always been making that effort – kudos to you! When meeting someone in your own workplace who is ignorant and lacking the intercultural and interpersonal skills that it takes to work in today’s compassionate environment, never retaliate with hate, but rather try to teach them. Teach them that we are privileged to be able to afford an education and live in such a convenient position. Teach them that not being able to speak English or being accustomed to a culture that is different from the majority does not make someone less capable or intelligent. It may be a simple case of ignorance that can be changed with education and enlightenment. Everyone deserves a chance at becoming a better person.
After having worked and experienced in different countries and with different people, I’ve noticed how significant a barrier ignorance can be from one reaching their true maximum potential. Your success lies beyond borders and beyond cultural differences
Let’s create a tomorrow in which opportunity does not limit people, but rather those that do have opportunities use it to create more for others! Let’s create a tomorrow in which we are better people!