More Diversity, Please

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. So, a Black Republican Congresswoman, an Indian Liberal Atheist and a Japanese American Mormon are talking in a white male social club…

My friend Sahil Lavingia (the aforementioned Indian Liberal Atheist) and I, were at a lunch for one of my favorite people and role model (and Congressional candidate) John Curtis. Now, I’m the least politically involved person I know, so this is really out of my element. Surprisingly, House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy was there. He was exactly what I thought he’d be. Charming. Charismatic. Owned the room like no one I’ve ever seen before. Oh, and not to mention a white dude that thinks like every other conservative that I’ve ever met.

Basically everything he said was unsurprising and expected (except for one impressive comment about Trump. Essentially he said, feel what you will about Trump, but he has assembled a group of military leaders that is as impressive as I’ve seen and they weren’t Pro Trump or Hilary). When given an extremely thoughtful question by Sahil, McCarthy handled it as a typical politician:

Sahil: What are some specific liberal planks that you support?

McCarthy (in short): Well, you bring anything in front of me that increases freedom, helps our economy and makes us more safe, I’m all for that.

I was fine with the answer, because frankly, I didn’t expect anything more specific from a politician.

Sahil and I bumped into Mia Love (the aforementioned Black Republican Congresswoman) after the lunch. I’ve heard mixed things about her, but was impressed to hear her address Sahil’s comment directly:

Mia Love (obviously not a quote): I’m the only Republican at the Congressional Black Caucus, so I have many specific “liberal” ideas that I feel strongly about and work with Liberals on. Prisoner rehabilitation, climate and air quality issues (she’s a runner!)… and a couple of other things I (Trent) can’t remember right now.

Is Mia Love intrinsically a smarter and more empathetic person than Kevin McCarthy? Is she naturally a better collaborator? Maybe, but I don’t think so. I think her ability to work with others with viewpoints differing from her own stems from regularly surrounding herself with people with viewpoints differing from her own.

Next time you’re in a social setting, look around you and notice something. Does everyone here look like me, have the same background as me or think like me?

Part of having a growth mindset is being regularly influenced by people of different genders, ethnicities, religions and cultures. We should all be actively seeking out new experiences, and in my opinion, the richest experiences life has to offer come from real relationships with diverse and inspiring people that cause us to leave different, smarter and more empathetic than we were before.