If you ask 50 different people, “What is global engagement?”, chances are you are going to get 50 different responses. Every one relates to this question differently based off of who they are, how they grew up, what they have experienced thus far, and what media they constantly plug themselves into. For me personally, global engagement means to become aware of the struggles around the world, become active in learning about other cultures, and letting go of any stereotypes I have by getting multiple sides of the story. After watching the video “The Danger of a Single Story” by Chimanda Ngozi Adichie in a class, my way of viewing other cultures and struggles in other countries has completely changed. Before, I would hear on the news or from my quite ignorant acquaintances about the “Mexicans illegally crossing the border and taking jobs” over and over. I never believed the “taking jobs” part because many Americans wouldn’t last a day doing some of the stereotypical jobs Hispanic people do. But the “illegally crossing the border” part, how could I not believe it? I had seen several videos (from years ago, mind you) and lived hundreds of miles away from the border, so how could I discern the difference between what was true and what wasn’t? I needed to find and listen to multiple sides of the same story. I was being just as ignorant as my acquaintances by perceiving what little information I had as the truth.
Becoming globally engaged matters, especially in the world we live in today. There are more stereotypes than I can count based on people’s gender, sexuality, race, culture, religion, you name it. By becoming globally engaged, we can knock down these stereotypes because we will know more than one side of a story and learn more about other people’s cultures and beliefs. Right now, I feel as if many Arabic people and Muslims are being attacked simply for identifying as so. Just because there have been terrorists who are Arabic or Muslim does not mean that every single Arabic or Muslim person is one as well. There have been several Caucasian, American terrorists as well, but there aren’t any stereotypes about all white people being terrorists. This is the reason it is so important to become globally engaged.