Can people understand different backgrounds?

Diversity can be difficult.

Often times, a lot of us do not know how to handle certain aspects of diversity. We are uncomfortable acknowledging it, and we definitely do not understand it. However, instead of trying to understand those with differences, we should focus on respecting them.

People can get very defensive when they are judged based on their religion, ethnicity, skin color or anything else that makes them different from the majority, and they have every right to feel such a way. As humans, we do not exist to judge people for their differences, just as we do not exist to force our own beliefs or ways of living on people who have a different way of life. Our responsibility as humans is to be accepting, as well as open-minded.

“Understanding” is a difficult term to define in this case; can one truly understand without the experience? How can we be expected to understand the oppression, discrimination, pain and suffering that African Americans feel, for example, unless we ourselves have had those same experiences? Or how can we understand the religious hardships and harassments that Muslims face in our society unless we have had to face them also?

America was founded on diversity, yet people are always criticizing people who are different, the people who make us diverse. We need to come together to realize that differences are what make us so great, so we should never try to turn that away or try to change it.

Do I believe that people can understand others of different backgrounds? No, I do not. We can talk about those differences and get upset over the injustices concerning those differences, as I hope that we all do, but we can never truly understand those differences. We can learn to acknowledge them, though, and make sure that people with different backgrounds understand that we respect and appreciate their differences.

The first step in understanding anything in this world is to learn about it.

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