These thoughts were started at the end of November and only influenced by observations of certain groups of people
who seemed to be able to function within their environments, not in spite of them. It is now the first week of December and
the news headlines are reminding us that racial quotas, diversity, Affirmative Action, and balance
are issues again being considered before the Supreme Court.
There are some environs that accentuate the need for balance. They seem to emphasize their lack of diversity. Although the
pendulum can swing in both directions, in this case there are two places that immediately come to mind and they both involve
necessity for acceptance of diversity. What is also remarkable is how easily the individuals conform to the standards of acceptance
and respect for their fellows. It makes one ponder how these disciplines can be successfully translated into other, additional
There is a vast the population that uses public transportation to travel from Point A to Point B. The only commonality about
it is that it is constituted of humankind. The differences are that these people represent all of humankind. They are of all
ages, socioeconomic status, education, colors, ethnicities. The languages spoken are nearly as proliferate. The spectrum of
cognizance is also broad.
Aside from representing humankind, those who use public transportation are people who need to travel within the city from
a starting point to a destination at a particular time of the day or night. In order to do so, there is a need for tolerance,
courtesy, and abiding by the transportation provider's rules of governance.
It's easy to see another's humanity. A person with a cold is likely to have a tissue of some sort offered after sneezing.
It is a self-serving act, to be sure. But the gesture is an extra effort on the part of a stranger. And the comfort at being
able to use the tissue is something that is appreciated by those affected. It is remarkable to watch as people make room for
a person with a visible disability. Likewise, even those who have minimal, if any cognizance of their environment are allowed
to be absorbed into the mix without objection because the commonality among the passengers is moving in a rapid and easy progression
from one point to a destination.
Likewise, university study groups seem to have a similar generic acceptance factor. No matter the time of day nor the day
of the week, it's easy to spot similar schools of study. But that is generally where the similarities end. Study groups are
constituted of people, not races. Study groups are constituted of similarly paired students in a particular class.
Essentially, the time at which race or ethnicity impacts the study group is when the group is made up of students who do not
have English as a primary language. In fact, what generally happens in those groups is that the study session is conducted
in the native tongue so that maintenance of fluency and cementing of concepts can more readily occur. Where the language skills
are stronger, students gravitate outside of their ethnic groups in order to combine with others who have strengths in certain
concepts and offer sufficient challenge to keep the group dynamic and on an upward learning curve, thus creating a stronger
possibility of earning better final grades.
To view the study and social groupings is interesting. It is entirely possible to see a group of five who are of a different
ethnicity as well as gender. Is it possible to pick out which is the special admission student? Not really. Is it easy to
determine which ones gained admission and attendance because of government supports? Absolutely not.
First of all, none of them speak of finances. That matter is a part of the history of getting into the classes. The primary
focus is learning the subject extremely well, thereby causing them to be accepted into mainstream business. Finances are not
the class subject and are not discussed. Additionally, a quick survey of the students will reveal that nearly all of them
are paying school finances at the behest of government loans and grants.
The students have come together at a coffee shop in order to have a safe place to meet that does not require their time to
clean or prepare before or after the study session. The entire focus is on learning the subject. The meeting place preserves
personal privacy. It is in proximity of the university. Thus, access is also not an issue, but instead is another commonality.
And that leads to yet another reason why these groups work. All of these university students have endured the rigors of gaining
acceptance into the university. Because those powers (and the screening and qualifying tests) have deemed them acceptable
for attendance at the school, there is an underlying statement of belonging to the environment. There is appropriateness because
of the labor to become qualified. Therein lies yet another layer of acceptance of the diverseness in the groups. They are
all students of the same university or else students in the same class.
Because they come to the same coffee shop to study, instead of a library, they have become "regulars" who are part of the
scene. They develop relationships of identity with other "regulars," whether they are fellow students or just others who also
use the coffee shop for study or business endeavors. And because of being "regulars," friendships and alliances are formed.
Those friendships are another degree in acceptance, of allowing one's ethnicity to become a non-factor as it bleeds out of
the formula that creates entitlement to being in the space.
My theories were formulated after studying the various places. There was time to privately dissect each group of students
and the various clusters of people from a distance by observation. The day finally came when it was appropriate to confirm
the observations and conclusions. A brief conversation with several groups confirmed the above in relation to the university
coffee shop populations.
Health in the Two Environments
These two situations are so fundamentally simplistic in their nature. It seems these empiricals should be obvious and tools
to support them in at least most work environments, if not all groups, should be more than fundamental. Unfortunately, extraneous
elements tend to seep into work and social networks. The focus strays from the ultimate goal and who among the numbers can
offer the best input and support. Instead, the focus meanders into the identity of the individuals and breakdowns occur because
the identities are then draped with worn-out myths that should have been buried decades, if not centuries, ago.
Let me propose that if your environment does not already have the health of the transit ride or the university coffee shop
that a consideration of these two models be implemented. Determine what one small step can be made to begin the walk toward
being a true place of accomplishing high return on investment because the investment is not the color of the capital but the
contributions of it.