The Diversity of Humanity

I peer down from the elevated veranda of a trendy café and look out onto the mesmerising urban jungle below. I am not fazed by the abundance of surrounding modernist buildings, where each glass façade aims to outcompete the next in its stylishness. Instead, the sea of people amidst these gargantuan structures is what attracts me, and it is easy to point out the differences among the crowd. Some hastily speed-walk with a briefcase clunking against their leg, continually checking the time as if it might run out. Some languidly stroll, phone-in-hand and oblivious to their surroundings. Some pull their enthralled child along like a toy, burdened by lunchboxes and backpacks after the school run. Couples, both old and young, walk arm in arm and smile to one another about an in-joke that nobody else would understand, although sometimes they are intercepted by a rowdy group of children running freely like the wind. A unique mélange of languages and accents is potently audible, and it hangs in the air like a dense cloud, continually replenished by an incongruous new combination of words before any one of them can be singled out. Some voices boom triumphantly with euphoria, other tones express weariness and anxiety as they tell bad news. Undeniably, they vary widely in terms of physical appearance and attire, and the vibrancy is intoxicating. It is a marvel to observe this moving, pixelated rainbow. From hijabs to high heels, turbans to turtlenecks, suits to saris, their clothing forms part of their identity, and they weave together to form a distinctive blanket. A girl’s large golden hoops swing from side to side like a dog’s tail, and the tall man next to her has a beard and glasses that cling onto his face. The bald heads among the crowd juxtapose the bouncing afros. One woman’s blue hair flows freely down to her thigs like a stream, whilst another wears her neat bob like a helmet. Yet beyond their idiosyncratic walks, languages, clothing, and appearance, something further divides them. They are an amalgamation of social classes, ethnicities, genders, disabilities, ages, sexualities, and religions. Each one labels and is labelled. Each one discriminates and is discriminated against. Each one carries with them their own hardships and triumphs, and their own unique perceptions of the world. I sketch this scene not to characterise the exterior of a Sociology textbook, but to indicate that there is diversity in every sound, every articulation, and every appearance. This is a microcosm of society. We should celebrate these identities rather than condemning or attempting to extinguish them as some of our ancestors may have, taking pride in the beauty of our differences. Yet we should also appreciate our extraordinary tendency to love, to accept and to unite; humanity is what we have in common.

by Phoenix Woolnough, Age 17, from York

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