Australia is a truly multi-cultural society. We have welcomed people from every corner of the globe, who now proudly call Australia their home. The spirit of giving everyone a ‘fair go’ is alive and well, and we are fortunate to be exposed to many cultures and traditions. However, it is not enough to merely accept or tolerate those who are different to us, we must celebrate what makes us different, and find joy in our uniqueness.
Here are 4 reasons why it’s important to celebrate diversity:
- It helps overcome stereotypes
Stereotyping is common place and helps us make sense of the world around us, but it can also have a negative impact on the way we see those who are different to us. Stereotyping encourages us to make assumptions about others, which can be incorrect and hurtful. When we celebrate our differences, and are open to our diversity, we allow our preconceived notions to be proven wrong. This breaks down stereotypes and helps us to see people for who they are and not who we think they should be.
- It builds cultural awareness
We tend to surround ourselves with people like us and find comfort in familiarity. Surrounding ourselves with a broad range of people and celebrating this diversity helps us to learn about other cultures and people. This increased awareness aids appreciation of other cultures and their histories.
- Discourages racism
Racism is often born out of fear and ignorance. It could be a subtle joke or simply leaving someone out, either way it is not acceptable. With increased awareness and appreciation of different cultures and races, comes increased respect for other people and our differences. When we remove prejudices and stereotypes through education and celebration, we discourage the ignorance that supports racism.
- Encourages unity
‘We’re all in this together’ is a phrase often heard in the context of diversity, because it so accurately summarises the human situation. We are all unique people, but we live together on this earth and collectively (on a large scale) we face the same challenges (e.g. global warming). Rather than seeing our differences as something that should keep us apart, let us embrace them, celebrate them, and let them unite us. The world, Australia, our state and our town, all work better when we work together.
The diverse nature of the Australian population is a beautiful thing, and something we can be proud of. We can experience incredible cultures from the far reaches of the earth with greater clarity and depth than any generation before us. We eat incredible foods from every continent and live together with people who have stories that are drastically different to ours. These are all aspects of diversity worth encouraging, enjoying and celebrating, because we are lucky to be able to do so.
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