How Living in Diverse Neighborhoods Can Improve Your Life
Diversity offers a lot to the world, both in business and community. Food, art, and culture in a neighborhood all change significantly when it becomes more diversified. A diverse neighborhood also exposes the people who live in it to new worldviews and ways of thinking, expanding their cultural horizons. If you don’t yet live in a diverse neighborhood, consider making your next move to one as it can improve your life on many different levels.
Refugees and Immigrants
As a country founded by immigrants, it isn’t surprising that the United States of America continues to receive new immigrants from around the world year after year. This influx of immigrants consistently boosts economic growth wherever they go, and help to spur innovation through their unique points of view. Coming from around the world, immigrants bring their cuisine, art, and music, adding to the cultural melting pot that is America.
Refugees, like immigrants, provide innumerable benefits to the US, though their reasons for coming to America are far more important. Accepting refugees into our communities and our lives is a win-win for everyone involved. For the refugees, the benefits are more tangible and immediate: they escape whatever hardship they are fleeing, and are given the opportunity to become an entrepreneur in one of the most business-friendly countries on the planet. In turn, once these immigrants and refugees enter the workforce they quickly become incredibly productive members of society, boosting the local economy.
It is important that we welcome these people with open arms, as they are simply seeking refuge or trying to live the American Dream. We should be accommodating to these newcomers wherever we can, whether it be helping them to become familiar with public transportation, embracing diversity in our healthcare system for both patients and staff, or even just being open and friendly when you see them on the street. Showing a little kindness to these people will make them more comfortable in their new home, and will improve your life as well as you’ll be directly helping someone in need.
Inclusion and Representation
Building on the idea of openly accepting refugees and immigrants, we should attempt to be as inclusive to our new neighbors as possible, and to support their representation in the media and politics, both locally and nationally. By being inclusive and rallying for representation of these groups, it normalizes them and makes them feel like they are more welcome in their new country. Apart from the inherent reward of helping your fellow man in a lasting way, representation and inclusion can also help the next generation.
Teaching kids to be inclusive does so much more than help prevent bullying through exclusion. By teaching children to support individuality, reject group-think, and respect and advocate for those who are vulnerable, you are teaching them lifelong skills like critical thinking as well as teaching them that empathy is not something to be afraid or ashamed of. This will give the next generation a leg up on becoming kind, thoughtful, and critical of established systems of thought.
If this next generation witnesses diversity and inclusion in different forms of media as they grow up, ethical and kind treatment of these groups will be second nature to them. They will be more receptive to outside perspectives, less rigid in their ability to accept change, and more likely to enjoy everything that immigrants and refugees have to offer. Additionally, these new perspectives will spur innovation as entrepreneurs try to adjust their business models to a changing customer base.
Diverse Businesses and Organizations
Aside from engaging in the entrepreneurial spirit that makes America so great, immigrants and refugees can add significantly to established businesses in their new hometowns. Diversity helps businesses grow through increased recruiting opportunities due to a larger hiring pool, adds to the competitive edge of a business by including workers that understand cross-cultural marketing, and improves a company’s culture by adding individuals with a wide variety of backgrounds. Without diversity in the workplace, the business world would be slow to change as there wouldn’t be anything nudging them towards innovation.
Beyond the business world, cultural diversity also positively impacts public organizations. Diversity within any organization, business or otherwise, leads to increased problem-solving abilities, creativity, productivity, recruitment and retention. Organizations that accept and seek out diversity have better communication, cultural self-awareness, and heightened adaptability to changing situations.
Diversity in the workplace is inevitable as the country grows and matures, and the sooner businesses accept diversity into the fold, the better their business will fair. Shedding bias towards misunderstood cultures, sexual orientations, or religious proclivities will be key to the success of businesses going forward. Once they are able to, those businesses will reap the rewards of increased creativity and innovation, a better understanding of consumers both locally and globally, and more rich brainstorming and decision making within their company.