Photographer: JAMES L. STANFIELD/National Geographic Creative
This image is one of the images in the National Geographic Iconic collection. It was in an issue published in the late 60's or early 70s, if I remember correctly. This image made a huge impact on a small, south east Texas girl. I remember looking at her and thinking how beautiful this girl was. I loved her dark eyes and hair. I loved her complexion, I loved her jewelry and her clothes. I wondered what she was like and what her life was like. I really wanted to meet her. Sadly, I was a small girl in a small south east Texas town, and I had never met anyone from India and I was pretty much certain that I never would. The world was so huge, distances between us were enormous, and I thought "Why on Earth would someone from a place as wondrous as India want to come to south east Texas?"
Today, I still think of this girl. I think of how amazing a turn this old planet has taken and how it has become so small. I think of this girl and wonder if she has been one of the thousands of her fellow Indians who have come to the United States. I wonder if I may have already met her, and never even known I did. I live in such a small world now. I have met and come to know people from all over the world, places that I never thought of as a small girl, let alone seen an image of a native of that country. I have worked with folks from Europe, the Middle East, Asia, far east Asia, the Pacific Islands, Australia, South America. I am amazed at how different the world is today from the one I lived in as that small girl. I love that I live in a city that is incredibly multicultural. Houston is home to hundreds of nationalities and we all seem to get along. Sure, we have our problems, but they seem to be much smaller than our commonalities.
As a business analyst in I.T., I am perfectly positioned to work with diverse people from a wide range of cultures. It is one of the best parts of my job. Diversity in the workplace has brought us an amazing range of talent, perspectives, and capabilities. It has also brought challenges. Each side of the multicultural equation has had to work hard to come to understand and value each other. It has taken some time, but now, in my workplace especially, I think we have come to a wonderful balance. We understand each other's cultures and perspectives, we have learned to celebrate our differences and love our commonalities.
Working as a BA today, the challenges are more of a person to person nature, rather than a culture to culture. We are all now working on an even footing. This is an age of wonder for our society and our business cultures. It invites us to use the best from all of us and learn how to live as a single community, working toward our common goals. This is exciting to me. This is wondrous to me. In many ways, I am still that small girl in south east Texas.