Nation Cheong presented diversity as a cultural shift that cannot be regarded as anti-racism or anti-oppression. Diversity demands sensitivity, openness and the ability to challenge our own assumptions and socially engrained power relations. Conversation about diversity should involve introspection, i.e. confronting our own biases. The true and deep meaning of diversity, Nation explains, is transformation amongst those who are most marginalized. When thinking of diversity, we must think beyond colour and numbers to embrace a deep cultural shift in our understanding. The focus should be on transformation, which is seated in our ability to build capacity.
Highlighting a number of successful initiatives with the United Way in response to violence amongst youth, Nation underscored diversity as a way to foster greater social capital. This is particularly relevant when addressing youth initiatives and education.
In its most ideal sense, diversity – according to Nation, is a cultural shift that “challenges our concepts of power, privilege, and entitlement. It demands […] our ability to challenge our assumptions – the ones we are aware of, and the ones we are yet to be aware of.” Diversity, in Nation’s view, is a transformation – one that transcends representations of colour, sexual orientation, numbers, and other factors or attributes we often associate with identity or visible minorities.