I asked various people the same question: How do you define “culture” and “diversity.” Here are three individuals’ answers that I received:
- Culture- likes, dislikes, “ways” that make up a specific people group.
- Culture: The way a person was raised and how it relates to that person’s heritage. Including family dynamics, mannerisms, traditions, meals, morals, and beliefs.
Diversity: Characteristics that a individual or group of individuals possess that make them unique in society. Differences.
- Culture: how people come together to achieve a common goal
Diversity: varied thoughts, opinions, experiences
In the group of responses I received, one came from one of my employees and my infant room teacher, the next came from a former employee and friend who is an elementary school teacher in her first year out of college and the final came from a mother of two children and a long-time client who is an engineer for a large international company. In considering who they are, where they come from, their ages, life experiences and differences, it was easy to see why their responses differed.
It was interesting to see that the educators had a much more specific, precise and elaborate definition for culture, whereas the client and engineer/business woman has a very broad, abstract view of culture. We are taught to understand the differences we see in families, children and each other and be able to then be empathetic, culturally aware and understanding. She, however, is likely the person that has the most experience working around various cultures as the company she works for is an international energy supplier and she frequents other cities, countries and works with coworkers both at home and across the globe. That was a very interesting and humbling answer for me to read, and to take a moment and consider that maybe we spend too much time worrying about identifying what defines us as diverse or what defines our culture, and instead we need to consider instead what brings us together for a common goal.