Asian and white women smiling and hugging
Two women and two races

Attitude of openness

When you are open to diversity and differences in others, you are open to interacting with them. You are willing to initiate and develop relationships with persons of a different race, ethnicity, age, educational background, gender orientation, national origin, etc. Suspending judgment of those different from you is required.

Openness means you are receptive to different ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving without feeling challenged or threatened. Openness is the opposite of ethnocentrism, which judges diverse others from the perspective of one’s own values, beliefs, assumptions, identity, and culture.

Every diverse group of people has unique beliefs, values, assumptions, customs, and practices which make it unique. When we are open, we respect and accept these unique characteristics as valid for that specific diverse group. Openness means accepting lifestyles and beliefs that differ from your own. Openness happens when we do not make unfavorable comparisons of differences in others to what we individually think or prefer based on our own diversity grouping.

Your assignment for this step is to consult the Diversity Wheel in Step 1.3 or Step 1.4. Make a list of all the diversities listed on the wheel. Next select a facet of diversity fitting someone you know where their diversity is different from you. Select a person you are in close contact with and see on a regular basis. If you are a male, maybe you consider a female. If you are older, select a person who is younger. If you are well educated, identify someone who has far less education than you. You could also select a person of a different race, country of origin, family structure, religion or work experience.

Now schedule time for a conversation with this person. Perhaps the two of you could share a meal, coffee, or tea. Learn about each other’s growing up, families, aspirations, disappointments, hobbies, and life experiences. Consider and discuss ways you are different from each other. Strive to be accepting and nonjudgmental. After having this conversation with someone different from you, answer the following three questions in comments below:

  1. How do you feel after this conversation with someone different from you?
  2. What did you learn about yourself after spending time with a diverse other?
  3. How does this experience relate to the real world?

Next respond to the comments of two to three other learners.

Share this article:

This article is from the free online course:

Understanding Diversity and Inclusion

Purdue University