The discussions leading up the school elections demonstrated opposing viewpoints abound in this town. The diversity of opinions afforded a deeper look into the issues.
Diversity broadens your horizons and enables you to see many sides of the same coin. In other words, rather than having your iPod play the same sounding tracks, try shuffling various musical styles.
Many moms I’ve spoken with say they love Port Washington for it’s diversity, but is Port Washington really that diverse?
My best friend and mother of three, Melissa Goldberg, suggested that diversity is “much more than just skin deep and being surrounded by people of different colors.” When living in her Brooklyn apartment building, which while colorful, the similarities among her neighbors outweighed the differences. After all, the building residents were of similar socio-economic status and comprised mainly of hard working families.
So is it a combination of a diverse socio-economic makeup plus cultural differences that makes Port diverse?
According to the 2000 US Census Bureau Data, Port Washington is 85% White and 11% Latin American, peppered with a small percentage of African American, Asian and Native American (figures are rounded). Our neighborhood profile on MLSLI displayed to potential incoming Port residents shows the median household income is $100K.
What about our values?
The statistics show we have a minor majority of Democrats to Republicans. Most of us are married. Most of us work in the service industry. Most are Catholic.
The numbers are pretty homogenous.
The proverb “birds of a feather flock together” seems true. Perhaps there is safety in numbers or at least comfort. Comfort knowing your neighbors share similar values and work ethics despite differences in opinions.
Failing to step outside your comfort zone can lead to a sheltered life. Seeing how the other half lives and learning about other belief systems also broadens your spectrum and helps you evaluate your own life and ideals.
Luckily, there’s enough in Port Washington to take you out of your comfort zone. Perhaps step into a church or a temple and have a listen. Take a foreign language or a Spanish immersion class. Talk to someone at the playground you may not necessarily have pegged as a potential friend.
The scenery in Port is diverse with a little bit country (Baxter Estates} and a little bit beach (Manhasset Bay, the Sound), perhaps take a scenic route and tour your town.
When it comes to food, our town hits some non-diverse notes. Yet having a diverse palette helps experience cultural differences in an intimate way.
Perhaps diversity in Port is like our restaurants, a plethora of pizza places (one for each day of the week and twice on Sunday!), ice cream and now frozen yogurt places with enough sprinkling of ethnic jaunts – French, Italian, Irish, American, Mexican, Spanish, Indian, Japanese in town to keep our taste buds fresh and appreciation for diversity.
How else can we diversify our life in Port?