I was reading a book the other day called Rebel Rules. Its a kitschy little rule book on how to break the rules without breaking the bank. ( I just came up with that tag line on the fly believe it or not). One of its thought provoking chapters is entitled Diversity is a Potluck. I figured I would like this chapter since it was about one of my favorite topics, potlucks!!! Turns out the book was still about entrepreneurship and not suddenly a cookbook, however it still made me think. It spoke of how important it is for work forces to be diverse as a whole new wealth of ideas is introduced and a diverse company represents its diverse client base. As I was reading the chapter I was completely in agreement with all the points. I thought how refreshing that a company is breaking the corporate mold and actually realizing that diversity is not only politically correct, but beneficial to all parties involved. People from different racial, economic, geographic, and religious backgrounds help bring new perspectives when solving problems and brainstorming ideas. Different beliefs and work methods can help a company relate to all different needs and desires of consumers. This was great I thought, diversity is unbelievable. It is true that often times I look at my life and realize that I am surrounded by those similar to me. But when I am surrounded by those that aren’t I feel so refreshed. I find that at Cornell, even though some say it does not live up to the melting pot Ezra may have imagined, I am surrounded by so many people that I have never been exposed to before. I have never been anywhere else where billionares from Singapore comingle with working class Midwesterners. International students hail from Korea, Taiwan, India, New Zealand, Turkey, Germany, Switzerland… of course the list goes on. To me Cornell University is basically an after school special on diversity. That is when I realized, I am the least diverse person in the whole entire world. I hail from the Northeast where chains such as El Pollo Loco admitadly don’t even exist because we don’t really know what Mexican food is. I have an intact family that I talk to on a regular basis. I am an ex Catholic raised in a world that preaches its overbearing principles by dictating and guilting. I am whiter than a ghost. I can’t even get a sun tan, I turn from fire engine red to decreasing shades of pink. It was a big shock for me to move to Connecticut and learn what a Ba/Bart Mitvah was. This was a large cultural awakening for me as I also learned what a Country Club and a trust fund were. I am ashamed to admit that the only language I know is English. Fortunately, this seems to be the universal language of business, but this does not make it any more acceptable. I don’t have any exotic pets, except for a beta fish… I don’t have any special skills, I can’t even do a cartwheel. What do I bring to the diversity potluck?? I am the salt free, butter free, powder mash potatoes that no one eats anyway, unless they ate something too spicy that needs to be subdued. This is a very depressing thought for me. I often times daydream about being Jewish and being Bat Mitvahed or being from another country with a rich history of turmoil and culture. Sometimes I wish I could be the curry or the cous-cous at the potluck. I guess I shouldn’t be ashamed of my roots. So I have no cultural perspective. Whats wrong with some bland mashed potatoes here and there, I guess sometimes one’s tongue does get a bit too hot and the mashed potatoes could really help cool it down. And what harm do they do even if not. Especially since it should be known that the mashed potatoes really enjoy the company of its neighboring Vermicelli, Ghoulash, and Empanadas. And that the mashed potatoes often wishes she could transform into a little ghoulash herself, pehaps with tiny dumplings…or even just add a little butter, some sour cream, and maybe even bacon bits to her own mashed potatoes.
I laughed aloud reading “Diversity”. Thank you for providing me with some refreshing new outlooks and metaphors. I look forward to future blogs from this talented gorgeous pale woman.
Wow! I have a whole new appreciaiton of the value of diversity and how each of us, even the bland ones have tremendous value to the stew.