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Diversity and the Culture of 'Fitting In' - Essay Example

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No phase of life is more culturally challenging and as richly rewarding as the college experience. College is a continual mosaic of cultures, ethnicities, races, genders, and diverse opinions that collide to try to form a consensus. Social settings will be a combination of new faces, unfamiliar languages, and exotic music…
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Diversity and the Culture of Fitting In
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Download file to see previous pages Two authors, Kenji Yoshino and Kwame Appiah, have recently addressed the problems confronting the diverse world of globalization. While they both advocate the justice and fairness that is due all people, they also have their differences. Yoshino warns that in the attempt to legislate equality, we have institutionalized conformity. In doing so we lose the very characteristics that make us unique. Appiah contends that as human beings we all possess cosmopolitanism, a worldly sense of shared ideals, principles, and moral obligations to our fellow man. From Appiah's point of view, we are more alike than different. Yoshino contends that our differences mark out individuality. Whose school is it anyway Students may wish to be cosmopolitan, and to shrink from their own uniqueness and just try to do their best at fitting in. Yoshino argues that it is the student's responsibility to bring to the experience their own individual outlook, flavor, and thinking. After all, it is the student's school. Yoshino will help the student understand the implications of their culture, while Appiah will aid the student as they evolve from classroom to worldly college graduate.
One of the most difficult tasks for any human being is the challenge of staying true to one's self, while fitting in with a diverse crowd. In college, this will be magnified several times over in every situation. We may be tempted to keep our true identity covered, out of fear of discrimination and bias. However, this would not only be unfair to yourself, but it would also cheat the other students out of the chance to experience the real you. We expect it of others and others expect it from us. Appiah speaks to this when he writes, "a deeper answer is that evaluating stories together is one of the central human ways of learning to align our responses to the world. And that alignment of responses is, in turn, one of the ways we maintain the social fabric, the texture of our relationships (29). We search for the common threads that bind us and as we work to build a world of universal civility based on the understanding of our sameness and an acceptance of our differences. We do not become the same; we merely bring out and celebrate that which is the same. This celebration of the freedom to be unique is one of the ways in which we are all alike. "In practice, I expect the liberty paradigm to protect the authentic self better than the equality paradigm" (Yoshino 191). Women should not strive to be equal to be men, but should have as their goal the freedom and liberty to be women. Being free to be yourself, and not just fit in, in any social setting is the liberty that is the challenge for the college student.
When you are free to be your true self, the classroom will present greater opportunities for self-expression and a deeper understanding of the material that is presented. When you know where you stand and where you are going, it is easier to see the effects of culture, bias, and the partiality that is presented in the classroom debates about the past, current events, and future policy. When you look around the campus you will see the future policy makers, the administrators, and leaders that will shape the future. A thorough understanding of the impact of culture and its potential for bias will be invaluable in shaping and contributing to the debate. If we wish to make ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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