I was standing on the 4th floor of my college dormitory looking down at the courtyard. Every few minutes a new group of students would pass through. From this bird’s eye view it was easy to notice patterns. The members of each group had similar physical characteristics. First it was the big football players, then it was the African-American kids, then the nerdy kids, etc. At that moment, the thought came to me: “if we are only comfortable hanging around with people who are superficially similar to ourselves, how do we really get to know ourselves or others?” From that moment on I began a quest to know “otherness.” I wanted to get to know anyone who appeared to be different from me. This led me to prolonged situations where I was the only caucasian, the only male, the only non-something.
We are the same at the core. To understand the different packages that we come in helps us to understand different sides of ourself. If we are scared of superficial, external differences then we will never understand our own humanity.