The Importance of Diversity

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A nice, sunny day at the beach with a lot of people around.
April 20, 2018.

The world is spinning off its axis right now. The majority of schools have shut down, businesses are experiencing bankruptcy, and the weak are dying. There is just so much bad. The first few weeks of quarantine, I was pretty happy that I didn't have to wake up at 6 a.m. and could lie in bed all day. But as the weeks passed, I realized that staying home 24/7 is not very enjoyable.

My desire to go outside and do everyday activities seemed like such a simple, superficial thing; I just wanted to go outside like everyone else, what more to it? Yet as I thought about it, I realized that it's deeper than that. I am so lucky and fortunate to even want to go outside. Why? Because there are some people out there who are afraid to go outside, and I'm not talking about the people who are scared of the virus. I'm talking about people, primarily Asians, who are scared of a different kind of "sickness."

They are scared of others not because of the possibility of getting sick, but rather the possibility of making the other person feel sick simply by looking at their face. 

They are afraid of discrimination.

Growing up in areas where the demographic is predominantly Asian, I never put much thought into "being Asian." Everywhere I looked, I could see at least one other person who was, to some degree, Asian. In most cases, I was never the minority, but rather the majority.

Since everyone around me was already accustomed to my race, mostly because they are also Asians, I never experienced discrimination or racism, at least none directed towards me. So when this virus rolled around and decided to "make its mark" in the world, racism was not the first thing to pop in my head. Racism never really crosses my mind ever (unless I go on social media and see the occurrences). I didn't have to worry about going to a certain grocery store to avoid scowls or taking the longer way to my destination to avoid getting called derogatory terms. I never had to worry about avoiding others to make them feel safe.

Unfortunately, others do have to worry about those things.

"I never had to worry about avoiding others to make them feel safe."

There have been numerous cases of assault  where Asians are still the minority. A Singapore man of Chinese ethnicity was unrightfully attacked in London.  A Chinese man was hit with a glass bottle in Italy.  A woman was attacked and called "diseased."

It's amusing how the virus is less discriminatory than some people.

Wherever they were at the time, they were the minority, lacking the attention that they deserved. But now, they get all the attention for all the wrong reasons. Asians now receive attention because to some people, smaller eyes are an indication of the Coronavirus; because to some people, another language is the equivalent to the Coronavirus; because to some people, being Asian means that they caused the millions of death worldwide.

When there is no diversity, there is no power, no voice, for the minorities. Time and time again, people with less representation are unrightfully labelled and discriminated against due to misinformation and stereotypes, and they can't fight back.

"...are unrightfully labelled and discriminated against due to the misinformation and stereotypes..."

Being a minority comes with its benefits, but the disadvantages often outweigh them, so what better time than now to let the benefits outweigh the disadvantages? With diversity comes representation, and with representation comes strength for all, and right now, we all need some strength to power through these difficult times. 

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