In today’s society, there are fewer children growing up in traditional monocultural environments. This offers the idea that new opportunities from this new way of living can help our globalizing world expand and diversify people’s worldviews.
Individuals who find themselves on the spectrum of hidden diversity commonly share similar life experiences. Those familiarities have shaped a perspective and worldview inconsistent with their physical identities. Coming from a cross-cultural upbringing I can relate more to the idea of hidden diversity rather than cultural mobility.
This doesn’t mean I don’t see characteristics of the culturally mobile within my own identity, it just expands on the idea that cross-cultured upbringings establish a greater depth to culture and identity.
When I was first presented with the term, “cultural mobility,” my initial impression was that it meant culture could be mobile, in the sense that people can take pieces of their culture with them, from place to place. Though this vague idea isn’t necessarily wrong, it definitely doesn’t measure the true capacity of what it means to be culturally mobile.
Though this vague idea isn’t necessarily wrong, it definitely doesn’t measure the true capacity of what it means to be culturally mobile.
Doing further research and reading stories about this, I realized that cultural mobility isn’t about taking pieces of culture and sharing it with people, but rather collecting fragments of different cultural experiences and allowing those experiences to construct something called, “hidden diversity.”
Hidden diversity can be clarified as the experiences that shape a person’s existence and worldview, but is not readily obvious on the outside, unlike the usual diversity markers such as race, ethnicity and nationality. Hidden diversity is an implicit construct, meaning it’s not easily determined from a glance, rather the only way to truly measure this is through connection and sharing.
I was raised in a cross-cultural space where my Hispanic background was forcefully mixed by the dominant, “Americanized” culture. In retrospect, this blend of cultures truly advanced my ability to grow and mature much quicker than those found in the biases of the dominant culture.
In retrospect, this blend of cultures truly advanced my ability to grow and mature much quicker than those found in the biases of the dominant culture.
Growing up, I knew that my home life was different compared to the majority. Spanish and English were both spoken in my household. But because of my immigrant grandfather and his desire to synthesize both cultures, my mother was taught to adapt and “blend in,” assimilating primarily into U.S. culture, even if that meant shifting or adopting new traditions and beliefs.
With her own cross-cultural awareness, she raised my siblings and me with some Hispanic traditions and customs but primarily implored us to stick to the status quo and blend into the dominant cultural that surrounded us. Even in my developing stages of identity, I could see a difference in personality and worldviews compared to some of my peers, which explains why I am very selective when it comes to making friends and connecting. Similar to Third Culture Kids (TCKs), my own hidden diversity appealed to some greater perceptions on my life. I felt that I had a broad world view, the ability to be a cultural bridge, some linguistic skills, and a sense of individuality to think more progressively.
With these concepts of culture, I think it’s important for me to continue learning from my cross-cultural experiences and thoroughly collect these occurrences to broaden my worldview and cultural mobility. Because by being culturally mobile, you have a better understanding of certain patterns created by our interconnected societies.
It’s vital to note that the culturally mobile and individuals with hidden diversity understand their ways of life in different lenses compared to those who have only lived and experienced a single, dominant culture.