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IDIC: What Does Embracing Diversity Mean?

Futuristic hallway with text reading "IDIC Blogs: What does embracing diversity mean?"

Diversity is one of the words that gets thrown around, used in corporate workplaces, and gets around in discussions of the day’s events. However, what does diversity actually mean in the real world?

Well, according to Merriam-Webster:


the condition of having or being composed of differing elements : variety

  • especially: the inclusion of people of different races (see race entry 1 sense 1a), cultures, etc. in a group or organization
  • programs intended to promote diversity in schools


an instance of being composed of differing elements or qualities : an instance of being diverse

  • a diversity of opinion

The dictionary definition doesn’t help much, apart from making it clear that diversity includes different elements. That doesn’t always translate well when discussing diverse workplaces or social circles since each person may have different “diverse” traits.

Workplace initiatives, for example, often include the word diversity. At their most positive, these programs encourage hiring many different types of people to work on the projects. They also make a point of not excluding people due to reasons like “that’s the way we’ve always done it” or “x is our culture.”

Examples of diversity groups:

  • Gender
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Age
  • Orientation
  • Geographic location
  • Religion and spirituality
  • Parental and marital status

Some of those are a little harder to track than others, but we can tell when a workplace is actually diverse compared to just paying the idea lip service. It can be harder, however, to do in our personal lives.

Life is not as simple as Starfleet, where diverse people live and work in proximity to each other as a matter of course. Understanding other cultures can take significant work enough to make real friends, especially if we’ve always lived in insulated communities.

However, making the effort is worth it. Reading the writings of those whose skin color is not our own, looking at the history of the LGBTQIA+ movement, understanding how others live in different places, reading the accounts of those whose age differs from our own, seeking other gender perspectives, and other views enriches our lives.

Something extraordinary happens once we accept a fraction of the experience of living a wholly different life. Our perspective broadens, and it’s easier to form connections with folks different from us.

Diversity should always be more than a statement on the workplace wall. It should be a lived experience we all share as human beings.

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