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To the outside world, my high school is the antithesis of diverse. When my peers considered me a legitimate minority for being a redhead, I assumed “diversity” to be a dirty word within the ivory-skinned social scene. However, I discovered that diversity exists beyond skin color or ethnic background: our different thought processes reveal a much deeper form of diversity that is often overlooked. Modern American society preaches tolerance and respect for all skin colors, however, little is said regarding diversity of thought. It is simple to look beyond the color of one’s skin, however, when there is a difference in opinion, any remnants of prejudice tend to rear their ugly heads. Such was the case of our school’s politics club.
“We need more liberals,” the club co-president tells me. From the get-go I sense an “us versus them” mentality among club members, which worries me. Despite this partisan recruitment, I decide to join the Politics Club. Every Monday, a handful of us gather after school to bicker about the week’s political happenings. Literally divided by a line of desks, the young democrats and republicans hurl stale arguments and falsified statistics back and forth until a stalemate is declared for yet another week. With each passing meeting, I realize how counterproductive our squabbling is. By the end of the year, I am ready to take action against the futile quarreling. After winning the club election for co-president, I return in the fall of my junior year fully prepared to revamp the very essence of the club.
“This year, I want answers,” I declare as I open our first meeting of the year. “Last year we brought together two sides to each political story, but no ground was gained, and no problems were solved. I’m not interested in knowing what the Democratic party has to say, or what the Republican party has to say, and especially not what your parents have to say. I want to hear what you believe. What must our nation do to fix the problems? Give me answers.”
Instead of lining up in our partisan trenches, we begin to sit on desks in a circle, a subtle yet pivotal change to the meetings’ atmosphere. Republicans and Democrats alike collaborate on a club constitution to be strictly adhered to, and include policies such as mandatory objective research and support for claims made during debates. I am witnessing my club revolutionize itself into a haven for discussion rather than bickering, and a tight-knit community highly conducive to our original goal: answers.
Our school has always possessed a unique diversity of thought. However, that diversity can only be productive when all viewpoints collaborate. Problems are not remedied with opinions; they are remedied with answers found through compromise. With our transformation, a community was established where diversity not only existed, but produced progress. Through my experience with the Politics Club, I learned how to use a diverse situation to create a place for problem-solving. I look forward to embracing the diversity of thought I know I will find in college, and I will use that opportunity to strengthen and enhance the school community.
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