The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

Diversity: What does it mean?

Dotun Okunade ’25 explores the true meaning of diversity whilst interviewing other people in our LM community to truly nail down the overall meaning of the word.
Graphic by Annie Zhao ’24/Staff

The first thing that comes to mind when hearing diversity is ethnicity. And while ethnicity is a part of diversity, it isn’t the only thing that defines it. The Merriam Webster dictionary describes diversity as, “the condition of having or being composed of differing elements”. Diversity can mean being different socially, culturally, politically, or even religiously. It’s about time people understood what it means to be diverse, and for institutions to stop publishing pictures of various races to show how “diverse” they are.

Here are a few opinions from students and staff at LM on what diversity means to them. Global studies teacher, Ms. Mirzanschall explains, “Diversity is different life experiences and interests…People don’t realize that, that is what diversity is. It’s being open to people that are different from you.” She essentially explains how diversity is an easily misunderstood subject. We can’t claim to be diverse or accepting if we’re not open to people different from us. Whether they have different views, or come from different backgrounds. 

Grace Shang ’25 considers diversity “plain and simple”, nothing too complicated. She  explains, “A marginalized society is not a good society…​​Diversity forces people to view things from a different perspective.” She mentions how a functioning society needs to be diverse in all its ways, and she isn’t the only one who thinks so; Anthony Labbad ’25 also states, “Diversity enables us to understand [each other] better.”

Likewise, to Liam Cox ’25, “diversity is bringing your own twist and each person having a unique character, whether it be physical, or emotional.” Clearly, diversity to certain students is all about being distinct in their own way. Why be average when you can be something special? Furthermore, to Aniah Bethea ’25  “diversity is a collection of different people… with different life experiences.” Based on her definition, she does not consider LM to be very diverse. She states the importance of diversity, as it “allows society to grow.” She also explains how support from both administration and students is necessary to achieve total diversity.

However, when it comes to “pushing” diversity, whose job does that fall on: administration or students? Contrasting with the statement given by Aniah Bethea ’25 , Ethan Liao ’25 explains, “Administration gives the platform that allows us to spread diversity.” He believes the school has given students the necessary tools to share who they are with others. He also feels like the current administration has a “good spread across [diversity] and checks all the boxes.” As for Georgia Bond ’25,  she believes both administrations and students need to work together to create an accepting environment.” She further mentions that “administration should also work to hire a diverse faculty of teachers/staff.” Clearly, she believes the school could work better on diversifying its staff. Likewise, to Audrey Gardner ’26, diversity in LM is “[an] issue in certain spaces, but it’s been getting worse with attempts to make it better.” She also believes LM could work harder in achieving total diversity.

It’s important for people within a community to understand the true meaning of diversity. Diversity is much more than the color of your skin. It’s a variation of people with different stories to tell. Thankfully, a lot of students in LM understand this ideology.

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