Why Diversity Matters

This past weekend, the South Korean film, Parasite, won big at the Oscars. The movie shattered expectations and became the first international film to win the Best Picture award.

I’m not Korean, but I felt proud when they won. A part of me felt represented on the Oscar stage. This reminded me of the importance of diversity, and this is what it means to me.

Role Models

The first friend I made during my time in San Francisco was an international student from Nigeria who was starting his first year of law school. Just like me, he arrived in the city that weekend. We talked for awhile and I asked him what his first impressions of SF are. I’ll never forget his answer. He said, I noticed that the only people that look like me here, are on the streets”.

After he pointed it out, I couldn’t walk around SF without noticing it. You won’t find many black people walking around, having lunch at restaurants, or shopping in the stores. Yet, walk in the tenderloin neighborhood — one of the most notorious neighborhoods in the city — and it’s a different story.

When black children walk the streets of San Francisco, and the only people that look like them are struggling on the fringes of society, What message does this send to them?

As a kid, I rarely saw asian faces in hollywood, on the TV or in music. This is why I love Eddie Huang. This was the first time I saw someone that looked like me on the TV who wasn’t a nerd, doctor, or kung fu master.

For me, Eddie represents to me why diversity matters. Diversity matters because it breaks the subconscious limitations imposed by society on that group and unlocks its potential. After seeing Eddie on TV, he broke the bamboo ceiling and showed me that I can be more that what society tells me I should be.

When not only kids, but anyone of any age sees others that are similar to them, that look like them, in places where they want to be in. Whether that be in executive positions at tech companies, in athletics or winning big at the Oscars, this shatters the ceiling and signals to others in that group that this is possible, and if I can do it, you can too.

February 12, 2020

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