The place, Hong Kong, where I grow up is pretty diverse.People often refer Hong Kong as the place where "East meets West". There are a lot of Chinese, British, Americans and Filipinos...etc. As diverse as it might seem, I never was educated in a diverse classroom in Hong Kong. I attended an all girls Catholic school (the majority of the students had a middle class background) since I was 6 or 7 years old till the age of 19 when I finally went to college. College, however, wasn't very diverse. Most of us were Hong Kong Chinese and occasionally we had some Mainland Chinese students (from China), as well as international students from America, Europe and Taiwan. Perhaps 5 out of 40 are non-Hong Kong native students in a classroom. Therefore, growing up in Hong Kong does not grant me too much knowledge in living and learning with a diverse population, who may share differences in ethnic background, race, culture and so forth. I did not have any chance to encounter a diversity dilemma or perhaps I wasn't even aware of any because I am the majority. I am the person who share the unspoken privileges within the dominant culture.
Studying in the United States is different. Everywhere is about diversity. People talk about diversity all the time although in my perspective, people aren't practicing "diversity." Here, I become the minority. I have experienced both discrimination and privileges as a minority student. I had language barriers, was being isolated in social situations and not being able to participate in certain situations. However, I have also enjoyed some privileges as an international student. There are conferences, trips, associations and discounts for international students.
Living in the United States allows me to understand the importance of diversity and how it is embedded in every culture. It is when I become the minority that I am aware of how much privileges I have when I am the majority. For example, some Hong Kong people always hold prejudice against those Mainland Chinese students in Hong Kong. Mainland Chinese students were always being laughed at their accents in speaking Cantonese. People also tended to make jokes about these immigrants or international students from Mainland China. Being a native Hong Kong Chinese, I never experience such discrimination. I was often given opportunity and privileges, no matter in a learning context or working context. With my middle class family background, I can go abroad to learn about different cultures,while a lot of the others just do not have the resources to do so. Because of my native Hong Kong identity and SES, I am more fortunate than a lot of the others.
Lately, I read an article which made me roll my eyes. You may view the article via this link: