As I heard the terms “diversity” and “multicultural” throughout my college career, I was a little surprised at how little exposure some people had with other cultures, lifestyles, beliefs, etc. Growing up in a diverse elementary, middle and high school taught me how to listen to different ideas, ask questions for clarity and compromise to complete the task at hand.
As an Asian-American in the public relations industry and PRSSA, I have found that I am often able to contribute a different point of view on the issue at hand. Although I do not contribute a POV solely because of my ethnic background, I do think it has helped me keep an open mind and allow me to empathize with others. While varying opinions can cause arguments, it can also help provide new solutions and include larger audiences. As it applies to relationships, I have found myself able to relate to people more easily by discussing experiences rather than the latest popular topics.
Although first impressions can be quite tough for anyone, I have found myself disproving stereotypes and misconceptions when addressing comments such as, “Is it really true that…?” or “Why is it that ‘xyz’ people always…?” instead of sharing more about myself and my abilities. Through PRSSA, I have seen more young adults understand that diversity does not just include race or physical characteristics, but also personal beliefs, lifestyles, economic status, generational gaps and more. Diversity is just one of the elements that strengthens the power of PRSSA students and prepares us for the “real world” ahead.
Submitted by Mary Rose Macaranas. Mary Rose is a Georgia State University senior majoring in Journalism/Public Relations and minoring in Marketing. She was the 2009 PRSA Multicultural Affairs Scholarship recipient, and is an active PRSSA member and former officer.