What does it mean to be culturally diverse? What does it mean to be part of any one community? What defines who you are or what your community is? Does the community define Chinatown or does Chinatown define Chinese? Out of convenience in the globally interconnected conditions of today, we continue to sort people and communities; first we were stereotyped by those who did not know us, now we are funneled by algorithms and machine learning. Why can we not derive our own identities from our curiosity on our connections with others? How do we show respect without being corny? Why should we fear to learn the truth?
Martin Luther King’s 1968 speech inspired Americans to end racial discrimination; it wasn’t until 2008 that an official apology was offered to the victims of Residential Schools by a Canadian Prime Minister; Oprah Winfrey’s rousing speech during the 2018 Golden Globe Award ceremony is still calling for women to rise. When are people going to recognize the perhaps unintentional bullying on other people’s cultural identity? Engaging each new culture is a new opportunity to grow – to discover not only something you did not previously know, but also re-shape your understanding of your own past, present, and future. Growth can only happen when we dialogue from one heart to another heart, and as South African philanthropist Nelson Mandela once said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”