Diversity really is a beautiful and important thing. Whether that is diversity in terms of religion, ethnicity or race. Diversity should be something welcomed not shunned or fear. Diversity can bring so much life to a place, that is not to say that place did not have life or creativity before but that diversity allows for newer growth. More the merrier right? Diversity exposures people to different ways of being and ways of doing things. This works both ways. Some things are seen as an improvement or of interest and are taken on board and some things are changed because they might be holding a community back. A symbiotic relationship takes place. It should be a two way street not: “You’re in my country now, you do as we say/In my country we do/say this.” Ideas and beliefs should be discussed and the question asked: “What positive element will this bring to our community. How will it benefit us all, for the better?”
I was born and raised in Wembley, London, up to the age of five. At that time (90’s) Wembley was one of the most diverse areas in England with a significant mix of people. One neighbour of ours came from Jamacia and Grenada and would make rice and peas and fried chicken for us. Rice and peas is still something my mother cooks today (to my utter delight every time 🙂 ) since we have moved back to Ireland. We had many neighbours surrounding us from different ethnic and religious backgrounds. It makes me happy to think as a child I got to interact and meet so many different people from so many different nationalities and religions, some that we are still in touch with today. Had I lived there until I was older like my brother I would have experienced that to an even greater degree and have had greater memories. I don’t remember much of my time there but I can’t think of a better place for a child to grow. What better why to prevent xenophobia than have children from a young age interact with people of different backgrounds? Children might notice the colour of someone’s skin but they do not carry with them inherent judgements based on that when they meet them. They don’t care, they see a person, another human being that they can talk to and play with. Diversity is something that can bring such richness if we allow it.
Below shows the vast breakdown in nationality in Wembley not long after we had moved back to Ireland. 🙂