Diversity: My Perspective

As you may already know, I am from Puerto Rico. A territory of the United States since 1898, at that time we were a colony from Spain. Puerto Ricans are a mix of the native indigenous people of Puerto Rico, the Tainos, Africans, and the Spaniards, we are a mix. All my life I have seen myself as Puerto Rican, not Latino. Now that I am studying in Virginia Tech, I keep seeing myself as Puerto Rican, but now also a Latino. It is interesting as perspectives change.

My graduate program is composed of mostly internationals, for the last three years I have interacted with male and female colleagues from different parts of the world. I have grown immensely, not just from my studies but learning from their different point of views. We benefit from having people with different backgrounds, experiences, and knowledge. Do we have the same benefit in Puerto Rico were in my perspective we are homogeneous, racially speaking? Is race the color of the skin or your ethnic background?

Maybe my perspective is skewed given the way I was raised or the experiences I had while growing up. There is no single simple answer, but if we work together and build upon the experiences and background of different people. We surely could benefit from the best of everyone and keep improving as a nation, but most importantly as human beings.

4 thoughts on “Diversity: My Perspective”

  1. It is interesting your perception of Puerto Rico as being homogeneous racially speaking. I have always consider most countries around the Caribbean as very heterogeneous due to the varied influences they received. Perhaps your perception comes because of the high degree of miscegenation and because race has never been as much of an issue is the Spanish speaking Americas as opposed to the USA?

    Something in my personal experience that relates to the background of your post is that, the more I interact with people of different racial and national backgrounds, the least I perceive them as black or oriental or even mixed, but rather I see them as John, Louise or Matt. So I think that as Universities become more and more of a melting pot, with students from all over the world, there is a chance that biases with loosen grip a bit.

  2. It is not difficult to maintain an inclusive environment when it’s composed of mostly internationals. However, when it comes to a situation, where internationals are the minority in a group, how are we supposed to maintain the inclusive environment?

  3. As someone who grew up in a variety of mixed ethnic environments, I can definitely see how it positively influenced me, especially once I became an adult. There is great value in being exposed to different points of views, not only in a professional setting but in personal life as well. Being of an ethnic background myself, I feel that we can sometimes be more accepting of diversity than others. While it is unfortunate, I think that things are slowly starting to change. Our readings this week made it clear just how important it is to strive for more inclusive environments and the effects that it can have.

  4. I agree with you. I am from Lebanon and I have a similar experience. Lebanese people are a mix of different civilizations too. However, I think the country is more homogeneous. It wasn’t until I started my graduate school in the US that I had real experiences with people from different countries, races, etc. I love it. The experiences and different ways of life of different cultures made me grow as a person and appreciate the differences in the traditions and social norms between cultures.

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