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Unity And Diversity Essay

1293 words - 6 pages

The sun was shining down upon a small middle school in the country side as I stepped out of my mom’s car and saw groups of children staring at me, confused over why I had come to Don Juan Middle School – a place where there were no Asians at all. “What is your name?” someone asked with an angelic smile. “Yes!” I responded foolishly. Suddenly, I heard a cacophony of mocking laughter as everyone kept moving away from me. When the bell rang, I stopped and shed tears. During that lunch, I started to reflect on life, contemplating when I was in Korea. Before I had moved to the U.S., I was a somewhat naïve boy who lived in Bundang, a small city in Korea. Being constantly surrounded by numerous concrete buildings, I found no inspiration and motivation to look for my dream and the purpose of life. However, when I came to America, I valued new multicultural education and diverse campuses. I felt obliged to find my own identity and my fascination with languages and cultures made me aspire to become a diplomat. I strengthened my own identity as a Korean-American by having strong roots in my native culture while being open-minded to unfamiliar cultures. Likewise, two artists, Hetain Patel and Elif Shafak, attempted to overcome cultural barriers and sought to become a bridge among people from different backgrounds. The ability to accept cultural differences and to have a wider perspective regardless of one's language and appearance is essential for me to become a cultural bridge as a diplomat.
Performance artist Hetain Patel asserts the importance of having a strong understanding in one’s own culture and of embracing cultural differences. He first questions us, “How do we decide who we are?” in his TED talk, "Who am I, Think again". His artwork plays with the concept of identity and language, challenging many common assumptions based on people's outward appearances, such as race, gender, and language. For those who grew up with a multicultural background, it becomes even more difficult to avoid assumptions that might be made from their appearances, which hinders the process of solidifying their identities. Patel emigrated from India to England when he was young and people used to judge him when he was wearing the Indian Kurta pajama, traditional Indian clothes. People assumed that "[he] represents something genuinely Indian when [he] wore it," but he hated their quick judgments based on his clothes (Patel). He wished to be more like his father, who demonstrated a different kind understanding not only of his own culture but also of other foreign cultures as an Indian man. By setting his father as a role model, he strived to find "something unique and special" inside of people from different cultures (Patel). Instead of making negative assumptions based on their outward appearances, Patel examined them more closely and attempted to look for their unique characteristics. Similarly, as one of immigrants, I was also sensitive to those assumptions made by my...

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