Dec 17 2010

“You May Be Better At This, But My Diversity Makes Me Better At That” By Ally Mielnicki

I remember sitting in my grammar school art class one morning and resentfully eyeing at my friend’s realistic painting of two lions resting atop a scenic mountain underneath the hazy sunset that emanated red and orange pastels across the sky. Glancing down at my own painting that could easily pass off as a toddler’s reinvention, I wondered how I could lack the slightest amount of artistic ability. The figures that were supposed to portray runners competing in a race looked more like sticks with heads and the lake they were jogging around could have been inferred to be a puddle of spilt paint.

Sensing my frustration, my friend picked up my disaster of a painting much to my embarrassment. Instead of mocking its poor quality, she smiled and amicably said, “I wish I could run as fast as you do. You’re so athletic.”

Expecting to hear tantalizing words of ridicule, I was taken aback when lauded with compliments of praise. Rather than focusing on my inferior artistic talents, the conversation turned to highlight my exceptional athletic skills- two recreations that completely contrasted from each other. I could not maneuver a brush to create a lifelike landscape portrait, but I could run a mile faster than anyone else in my fifth grade class. My speed is what separated me from all of my classmates, just like my friend’s artistic gift. We were alike in that we excelled in our individual interests, but different in the activities we chose to pursue.

A few days ago, I was part of the publicity team responsible for coordinating the media for the Grammy Nominations Concert Live! which aired on Wednesday, December 1. While I was writing the press release, I was amazed at how many categories comprised the complete list of nominations with diverse genres ranging from rock to pop to rap to hip-hop to alternative. After watching the entire rehearsal and being impressed by all the performers which included country singer Miranda Lambert, pop stars Katy Perry and Justin Bieber, and rapper B.o.B, I understood why an array of different categories were necessary. Each artist was tremendously skilled in his or her own respective style of music that it was impossible to compare a fast-paced rap beat to a mellow R&B tune.

It is not just the color of our skin that differentiates us from one another. Our passions and our dreams compel us to excel in all that we set out to achieve. Some of us find our love in sports and competition while others prefer to engage in works of art and drama. Two individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds may possess the same writing skills while two other individuals with differing ethnicities may have the same knack for drawing.

In the end, we may find we are more like our neighbor from another country than our closest relative. It is important to recognize individuals for their accomplishments that arise from their own unique skill-set rather than prematurely judge their likes and dislikes based on the race, gender or religion.