I am a white Christian in the middle class, and that’s ok.
I grew up with little diversity around me. When there was diversity, it wasn’t much of a difference for me. Needless to say, coming to OSU was like going from 0 to 100 miles per hour in my tiny Toyota Camry. My first year was filled with frustration, eye opening experiences, and a whole lot of learning.
Why do I celebrate diversity? There are many reasons, but here are three that I can clearly identify: being in such a diverse culture has opened my eyes to struggles and realities I had never noticed, it has made me stronger in my beliefs, and I have developed respect for not only the cultures around me, but my own culture as well!
Right away my eyes were opened to the different struggles regarding race and socioeconomic status. My family is not insanely “rich” by any means, but we live comfortably. My parents were blessed and in return they are paying for my college and providing for my needs. In my head I knew that there were people struggling to pay for their own college, but I had not met anyone doing so until I got to OSU. It wasn’t until I truly met people going through financial crises that I realized I should not take my situation for granted. The time they have to spend apply for loans, figuring out grants, working, and even worrying about finances was outstanding to me. If you are from the majority, like me, upper or middle class – don’t take for granted what you have been blessed with. And don’t be greedy with what you have been blessed either.
My beliefs as a Christian have been strengthened. Strengthened because I have had the opportunity to talk to so many people of different religions and backgrounds. I have learned A LOT from people about other religions, or simply not having a religion at all. I had to truly question if what I believe is true, and I had to figure out what I believe by researching and reading for myself rather than base what I believe off of what I have been taught growing up. The amazing thing, and what has made me stronger in my faith today, is that I still choose everyday to believe in Jesus Christ despite the new opportunities and ideas presented to me. This has made my faith grow more in the time I have been at OSU than in my whole life.
As far as diversity – like I mentioned, I have never experienced true diversity until coming to OSU. I have learned so much from my friends who are different from me. People of a different skin color, culture, sexual orientation, religion, and political beliefs are now my friends. We all have different perspectives and backgrounds, but that is what makes us stronger. There is not one narrow minded way of thinking around OSU – there are multiple perspectives representing everyone, not just people like me. Although we have our differences and disagreements, we are able to work together for a greater cause. In regards to my peer leader role, that greater cause is helping the class of 2021 at OSU. I love my team, I love our differences, and I love that our differences don’t discourage us from what is ultimately important in our lives.
I want to end with a quote I heard:
“Through each other’s diversity, we become more aware of our own. Not only do we become more aware, we gain a sense of pride for the diversity of our own culture.”
Am I ashamed to be apart of the majority perspective? Not at all. There was no way for me to control what has been given to me. Have I learned to celebrate and learn from other cultures – certainly. By doing that, I have deepened my respect for every culture and gained a sense of pride for my own.