So this time we might talk about the uniqueness and culture. As everyone's been told, people in individualism culture tend to be more self-awareness and want to be different from the crowd because they highly value the uniqueness of every individual. While people in collectivism are more tend to care relationships with other person and don't have high self-awareness. From my experience as an international students, I do feel domestic students, on average, being more outspoken and active in showing their difference in dressing, ideas, etc.
One thing that makes me feel confused is, when people talking about uniqueness or difference, what exactly they're referring to? It seems that some differences are encouraged while some other differences are being pushed back. What makes the two different reactions?
For example, people like unique ideas. They call it creativity. When someone has ideas different from others, it is being appreciated because that opens up people's perspectives. One idea that is unique could create extremely powerful results. The success of Apple is that they make their products unique. Even in the advertising, they tell the "why" first. The "why" is the ultimate reason or mission that Apple has. It is not just producing high quality laptops or computers; instead, it is "Making a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind." By doing this, Apple distinguishes itself from other companies in 1980s because they're not limited to bragging their products and tell people to buy. People are persuaded by why they're doing this.
However, I realized some uniqueness makes people feel pressure and tend to hide their uniqueness. This is a video of TED talk called "The danger of hiding who you are" by Morgana Bailey. As a lesbian, she was afraid to share this to others and hided the secret for 16 years, mostly because of the social judgment. The sexual difference seems scary for people to talk openly. If people value diversity and individual's uniqueness, why this is so sensitive? One sentence she said was enlightening to me. "I don't want others refer me as the 'gay co-worker', 'gay Morgana', I just want others call me Morgana." When the uniqueness becomes a label of someone, it seems that people are dehumanizing individuals by using these labels. She is still Morgana. She has so many other characteristics that could be unique. While people's behavior of categorizing individuals is the beginning of stopping diversity.
The best way to encourage individual's uniqueness is not just saying that we love diversity. It is respecting other's differences by being aware of it and putting that characteristic at the position equals to other characteristics, rather than categorizing individual into certain group just by one characteristic.