The old saying goes, “familiarity breeds contempt” and thoughts and sayings like these, makes us think that it’s best to not get too close to people who are different from us. As children, our parents would ask us to keep our distance from “those multi ethnicity friends who are of different class group, faith, religion or gender.
As humans evolved, our primate brain still held on to surrounding itself with known faces for evolutionary safety. Associating with unknown tribes could mean murder and extinction. Therefore, it made sense to the jungle man to be with only his kind. But we do not live in jungles anymore. We have advanced so much in technology, medicine – everything under the sun. Yet, why do we socially behave like hunter-gatherers and nomads?
The good news is that having multi ethnicity friends can break all of these barriers. Here are some advantages of that:
Having multi ethnicity friends help us dismantle harmful stereotypes
Experiments with housing in foreign countries have revealed that when seemingly opposite groups start living next to each other, it helps to do away with a lot of harmful stereotypes. It helps them to tackle problems of local poverty and crime more effectively as they start looking out for each.
Multi Ethnicity Friends group lead to more creativity
Diverse group experiments have been really interesting. We are more likely to see an opinion as “different” when it comes from someone of a different ethnic group. This leads to more diverse problem solving. Multi ethnicity friends are also more likely to be open to new information and be open to opposing viewpoints. Research shows that gender and racial diversity in the workplace actually increases revenue and decreases costs.
We challenge ourselves more in diverse groups
Imagine this – you are from marketing background. You have to explain your product to a room-full of teachers in scenario A and to a room full of marketing managers in scenario B. When are you more likely to challenge yourself and prepare your best? Yes, its scenario A. The anticipation of working in diverse groups makes us challenge ourselves and work harder.
There are greater achievements
In a 2006 study of jury decision making, social psychologist Samuel Sommers of Tufts University found that racially diverse groups exchanged a wider range of information during deliberation about a sexual assault case than all-white groups did. Other similar studies and stories from all over the world have proved the same thing – we achieve more in terms or work and profit, if we work with different people.
It reduces inter-group (inter-racial) anxiety
Have you found yourself uncomfortable in the presence of “different people”? That is the body responding to unknown circumstances. However, instead of thinking of that as a hint of how you should “rather stay away”, look at it another way. The more you make yourself familiar to these situations, the lesser your anxiety will be. In a study, racially diverse groups were participating in three “get-to-know-you” sessions. Their anxiety of interacting with diverse groups feel significantly from the first to third session.
People who have good friends from diverse backgrounds are more open to different cultures, practices and habits. They are more likely to appreciate good in everything and adapt to changes for they know how to coexist in harmony. Therefore, it will not harm us to have multi ethnicity friends. All of us are important, and all of us have something unique to give to each other. Group involvement leads to group enrichment.
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