Photo and quote inspired by Sex and the City opening credits.
Hi! I’m Margarita.
I’m a New York City lawyer turned writer and I research and write about diversity and critical thinking.
Think of me as your Carrie Bradshaw of all things diversity related, wondering what you all think and not being afraid to ask the questions.
Diversity as a field has been growing and garnering a lot of attention in recent years, but it’s also fraught with a lot of misconceptions.
How does this play out in our day-to-day lives?
It shows up in our interactions with friends, coworkers, loved ones, strangers and everyone in between, when we don’t agree with or understand their views or behaviors.
Have you had those moments at work or in life where you felt afraid to speak up because you might be misunderstood? Or maybe you just don’t understand how some people can think or behave a certain way?
I think we all have.
Whether you live in New York City like I do or not, we are in constant contact with the differences of others: cultural differences, racial differences, gender differences, lifestyle differences, political differences and all sorts of differences of opinions.
Navigating these differences can be tricky, especially if we feel we can’t always speak up for fear of saying the “wrong thing” or being misunderstood.
I’m here to help us think critically about our differences to improve our communications and our relationships.
I write thought-provoking content to help us break out of echo chambers, strengthen our thinking and communication skills and challenge some perspectives.
My ultimate goal isn’t to change minds, but to encourage open-mindedness and respectful communication across all sorts of differences.
I encourage us all to think critically:
- To consider and evaluate information for ourselves so as to arrive at our own judgments about issues.
- To ask the right questions; and by “right” I mean seeking better answers by tweaking and asking better questions.
- To see disagreements as the playgrounds of diverse perspectives, and to keep them safe through open- mindedness and respectful communication.
- To consider the distinction between respecting differences and being indifferent.*
- To remember that valuing diversity doesn’t mean adopting the opinions and beliefs of diversity professionals** without question, but to consider their guidance.
* Respecting differences in this context includes our differences on issues that really matter to us. Otherwise it’s not respect. It’s indifference.
** Top-down approaches to diversity are potentially stifling to those who value diversity and inclusion, want their voices heard and thoughts considered but feel discouraged based on their identity.
❗ I want to change the way people talk about diversity and inclusion.
Do you know what I hear as common complaints about diversity discussions, workshops and trainings?
- They don’t feel safe. And/or
- They don’t seem helpful.
We worry about stepping away from the acceptable discourse, asking questions or veering from the judgments of those who “know better.”
We fear being misunderstood, misjudged or quickly labeled for what we say or even for our silence.
If this resonates with you, I invite you to stay, take a look around and join the conversation as we think together, listen to and learn from one another.
What You Will Find Here
- Thought-provoking posts and articles
- Practical tips for handling various situations
- Reflection questions for discussion or journaling
- Surveys to delve deeper into some topics
Welcome to Diverse in the City®
Like neighborhoods in a city reflecting our diversity, you’ll find distinct but related topics here that address our differences. Most of the content falls into 1 of 4 general categories:
- Opinions are often confused with facts and rather than let anyone tell us what to think, we are better off developing how we think for ourselves and make our own judgments.
▪️ Cognitive Biases
- We all have biases but there’s more to it than “I like or don’t like you for an illegitimate reason.” Let’s break down why we assume what we do when we do and talk about what we can actually do about it.
▪️ Cultural Differences
- If only we could talk about race the way we talk about cultures . . . We do talk about race, gender, age, and all sorts of differences here, but I often use “culture” in a very broad sense when discussing differences.
▪️Diversity and Inclusion
- Diversity isn’t something some of us train the rest of us to do properly. “Diverse” is a relative term and inclusion is everyone’s responsibility. We all learn from the conversations we have with each other.
🖊 Throughout this site, I share my thoughts but not necessarily my opinions, yet all from my perspective.
A Little About Me and My Background
Because it helps to know a little about the person behind the perspectives …
🎓 I’m trained in critical thinking, understanding cognitive biases and stereotypes, the sciences of assumptions and in developing and delivering Diversity & Inclusion trainings and workshops.
🎓 I hold a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and economics, a master’s degree in cognition and communication, and a law degree which is essentially a 3-year degree in critical thinking . . .
And I’m still learning how to think!
🔎 But it’s my lived experiences that bring these teachings to life, showing me the lessons aren’t as much about changing how others think or even act, as they are about each of us improving our thinking, asking better questions and finding our own answers.
🔎 I’m also a certified makeup artist, a salsa dancer, a kids salsa music & dance instructor and have several other teaching jobs under my belt.
🔎 I’m a bilingual, multicultural, Bronx-born Latina with a Peruvian father, a Puerto Rican mother and a Danish husband.
🔎 I moved around a lot as a child within the Northeast region of the United States, lived in Puerto Rico briefly during my childhood, and lived in Copenhagen, Denmark for a few years as an adult.
📍 New York City – Manhattan specifically – is my home, my backdrop, the setting for many of my experiences and often the inspiration behind much of my writing at Diverse in the City®.