City Desk

Diversity: It’s Not Just for Dinner Anymore

Diversity: It's Not Just For Dinner Anymore

The Post's Vanessa Williams goes in search of the "cosmopolitan canopy" in Washington region—where people of different races feel comfortable mixing. And apparently it's in Langley Park, Md.:

Nancy Navarro says she finds diversity when she shops at the Red Apple Market in Langley Park, which she often leaves with more than the ingredients for dinner after perusing the contents of the cozy grocery store that specializes in African, Caribbean and Latin meats, produce and spices.

Like the time she was picking over the avocados when a Jamaican man standing next to her offered advice on how to choose the best ones.

“People from Africa sharing stories about a particular ingredient with people from Central America and vice versa,” said Navarro, a native of Venezuela, describing the interactions that take place at the market near the intersection of New Hampshire Avenue and University Boulevard.

Within city limits, I've observed that D.C. also has lots of places where residents of different races and socioeconomic status meet: Fish markets, (some) farmers markets, specialty Caribbean or Asian grocery stores, liquor stores, Ben's Chili Bowl, and the food lines at Nationals Park.

But food-based diversity is pretty cheap. Getting advice on picking out fresh fish or which spice will complete a meal, while useful, isn't quite the same as diversity in the classroom or an office. It's all well and good to celebrate the diversity of the region and the city—and food is a huge part of the reason—but real diversity, where people develop empathy for those who are "different," is still pretty hard to come by.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

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