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Let’s Get Personal: Hidden Diversity

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Harvey Milk once said “It takes no compromise to give people their rights. It takes no money to respect an individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove oppression.” Though these words were originally spoken in advocacy for the LGBT Equal Rights movement, Milk’s words and courage continue to embody the shared struggles of diverse communities.  From all races, ethnicities, cultures, religions, genders, sexual orientations, ages, nationalities and physical and mental abilities, these identities mold and shape our livelihoods. And it’s about time that we start dialoguing them outside of their static textbook definitions.

We live in a world that is flooded with diversity that is both visible to the eye, as well as hidden within an individual’s experiences and perspectives. What is important to realize is this is not a new phenomenon. Being conscious of both visible and hidden diversities allows one to interact in the world more comfortably and respectfully. Being aware that no one is alike and everyone has something to offer this world allows for a greater global perspective. In an every changing world, this concept is key to progress.

“It takes no compromise to give people their rights. It takes no money to respect an individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove oppression.”

As an individual growing up in the twenty first century, it is easy to pick up the language that accompanies this “diversity conscious” ideology. However, that is still not the case for all identities because, simply put, some are just hard to express. Conversations about hidden diversities just recently hit the mainstream, mostly because for the longest time no-one really knew how to define this internal struggle of categorizing and explaining exactly who we are. Sometimes I still struggle to find the right words to explain myself.

I know what you’re thinking, “Kendall, this isn’t really making any sense.” But hang in there, it will.

Hidden Diversities are a tricky subject and they encompass a wide variety of spectra. It takes a while to develop the right words to get a story right. I believe everyone wants to feel included and recognized for the little things that make them special. And that is exactly what this forum will provide an avenue for. This column will dive into these discussions head first and attempt to define some identities and experiences along the way. In the hopes of creating a more vocal and mobile community, I will be discussing certain identities that may not receive that much recognition.

I will also speak about micro aggressions, the hazards of making assumptions, checking the “other” boxes, as well as other identities that fit within the hidden diversity spectrum. Embark on this journey with me and we can navigate this discussion together. If there is anything I have learned in my time in college it is not about who teaches you as long as the lesson is taught.

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