Diversity in NYC: My Personal Story
City Vibes? Food, bright lights, fast pace, taxis, and skyscrapers? Yes. People? No.
I can't put my finger on how I felt that day New York City. Maybe it's because of the rush and continuous adrenaline in the city. My heart felt at peace, but also scared. I felt at home in the small pockets of Barnard and Columbia. However, every time I crossed any street I felt like someone was watching. I always looked around mindlessly, asking myself if a stranger would come talk to me or a street musician would entertain me .
I wanted to go talk people. Why did you move to NYC? How did you get on the streets? Why are still here? What can I do to help? But, all of this felt out of the norm. Everyone in NYC wants to go their own ways. Drivers have road rage on a daily and are doing everything they can to book it to their destination. The intensity of the profanity lingers on the street. It's not that most people aren't considerate; it's the pace of life. There is no time for second thoughts. You have to be determined. You have to have a path.
Movies highlight NYC's diversity, vibrancy, color, dreams, but I can only see glimmers of it. Businessman and women, runners, kids, teens, and college students flush their ears with the music from their earphones. I rarely see any intimate conversations or even casual conversations with strangers. If anything, I see frustration, stress, and anger. A man kept dropping the f-bomb because two women crossed the street as traffic was moving and one of them kept talking on the phone.
Why cities? Were they built so tourists around the world could enjoy their attractions, so the wealthy could start their empires and live lavishly in their palaces? So everyone could live the infamous American Dream? It was probably for all those reasons, but there is one inevitable outcome. Diversity. Not in just people, but thoughts, ideas, and actions. It is the lack of cultivation of this diversity that is preventing people to really learn about their restaurant neighbor, the vendor at the newspaper stand where you always pick up your paper, the barista that makes your favorite cappuccino at seven AM, or the homeless man who eats meals from garbage cans.
How can you cultivate diversity? How can you be a supporter or representative of it? You can start by making it a goal to have one real, genuine conversation in person with someone. If you really want to create something special, try talking to a stranger every day. When you engage in one of these conversations, make sure you have an open-mind because that is the only way you will be able to enlighten multiple perspectives. If you as a reading this, than you have access to all the resources of the internet. You have an opportunity to read the endless articles on the many blogs and websites. Always educate yourself about the various issues occurring around the world through the internet and books, but take these issues to the residents of your city, town, or community. Start having conversations with them and listen to their opinions. You will be surprised by the things you will learn.