Understanding Diversity: Causal Factors, Elements, and Implementation

Meaning of Diversity – When discussing diversity, surely the real example will not be far from this life, namely the existence of Indonesian society itself. Yep, does Reader realize that Indonesian society has diversity, from race, tribe, religion, to the language used. That diversity is also what makes the symbol of this country, the Garuda Pancasila, has the motto “Bhinneka Tunggal Ika” .

Basically, diversity is a condition where there are various differences that each individual has in the middle of social life. The difference is not only in gender, but also in various fields. So really, what is the definition of diversity? What are the elements that make up diversity in Indonesian social life? What about the real form of the diversity of Indonesian society to finally have such a national motto?

Well, for Reader to understand more about what diversity is, let’s read the following review!

What is the Meaning of Diversity?

The term diversity comes from the root word ” ragam “, which in KBBI (Kamus Besar Bahasa Indonesia), has the meaning of type, type, color, pattern, and behavior . The meaning is that this variety means something that has different types, colors, or patterns and lives together in a real life.

When following the context of society, this diversity refers to a condition in social life where each individual has differences in various fields, ranging from gender, ethnicity, race, religion, ideology, culture, language, to thoughts. 

It is also often referred to as a pluralistic society. A diversity that “lives” in social life must be balanced with equality. This is because this equality has a meaning as a condition, especially in this diversity of life, every human being still has the same position at one level of the social hierarchy.

Real examples of diversity that can be found in this life, for example:

  • In a class, there are children with different religious backgrounds. For example, there are those who are Protestant Christians, Catholics, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, to Confucians.
  • In an RT meeting, there are heads of families as representatives of their families who have different ethnic backgrounds. For example the Javanese, Dayak, Sundanese, and others.
  • Within an organization, there are members who each have different patterns of thinking caused by differences in educational background and environment.

What are the Factors Causing Diversity in Indonesia?

When discussing diversity in Indonesia, it covers all areas in social life. In fact, the diversity in Indonesia is formed by the large number of ethnic groups that live scattered throughout Indonesia, even one province has various numbers of ethnic groups with different characteristics.

Reporting from indonesia.go.id, based on the 2010 BPS census stated that Indonesia has proven to be a country that has ethnic diversity, namely around 1,340 ethnic or ethnic groups living in this homeland. The Javanese are the largest ethnic group in Indonesia, accounting for around 41% of the total population. In fact, the division of ethnic groups in Indonesia is not absolute and unclear because there is population movement or migration so that one ethnic group with another ethnic group will influence each other so that diversity occurs. Nevertheless, this diversity must also be based on the principles of togetherness, equality, tolerance and mutual respect for one another.

So, here are the factors that cause Indonesia to have diversity in social life, namely:

1. Geographical Location

This geographical location is related to the condition of the archipelago, which number around 17,000 and each island has different ethnic groups. This also makes Indonesia has a strategic position, so that it is not uncommon to be used as a foreigner (foreign citizen) to apply for naturalization as an Indonesian citizen (WNI).

2. Differences in Natural Conditions

Seeing the diversity of geographical locations in Indonesia, natural conditions will also vary. These differences in natural conditions are related to seasonal differences between regions and differences in natural conditions in the form of beaches and mountains. From this, the needs of the community, livelihoods, and the results of natural resources will also vary.

These differences in natural conditions also affect the diversity of the use of transportation and communication systems in social life. For example, for people who live with natural coastal conditions, they will generally use sea transportation.

3. The Influence of Foreign Culture

Foreign cultures that influence the Indonesian nation, especially in the digital era as it is today, are also contributing factors to the diversity of its people. Usually, foreign cultures that enter Indonesia have different characteristics, so people have to be smart to sort them out. Not infrequently there will also be a process of acculturation or mixing between elements of foreign culture and Indonesian culture. For example, many literary arts are inspired by Ramayana and Mahabarata literature originating from Indonesia (Hindu culture).

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Moreover, today’s society is very accepting of existing changes which cover all areas of life. So that acculturation to achieve various results is also a factor causing diversity in Indonesia.

What are the Types of Diversity Terms in Indonesia?

Reader  must have known that the condition of people in Indonesia is very diverse, ranging from race, ethnicity, religion, language, culture, educational background, to their mindset. This is very reasonable, especially for an archipelagic country like Indonesia which has around 17,000 islands. Not only that, because individuals who live in society do not always have something in common.

So, here are three types of terms that can be used to describe the diversity of Indonesian society, namely:

  • Heterogeneous, namely the term used to indicate that the existence of a thing has more than one number and is different, so they cannot be equated.
  • Multicultural, namely the term used to indicate the existence of a group that is willing to accept other groups as a unit regardless of the differences that exist. These differences are usually in the form of ethnicity, gender, culture, language, to religion. The term multiculturalism seems to emphasize that from the differences that one group has with other groups, in the public sphere they become the same, so they must respect these differences.
  • Plurality, namely the term to indicate a form of presupposition regarding more than one thing.

What Elements Are Contained in a Diversity of Society?

In this Indonesian society, there are many elements that are contained so that diversity is formed between the people. These elements are very clear because they “apparently” are seen in every individual who lives in this social life, namely:

1. Race and Tribe

Race and ethnicity also become elements in the diversity of Indonesian society. This is because each individual who lives in the territory of Indonesia from Sabang to Merauke is also part of a different race and ethnic group. This can be seen from their biological characteristics, ranging from hair, skin color, body size, eye size, and height. Not infrequently, individuals who are part of the same ethnic group, it turns out that they have different biological characteristics. This can also be referred to as diversity.

According to Law Number 40 of 2008 concerning the Elimination of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination, race itself is a national group that is seen based on its physical characteristics and lineage. In general, there are five human feelings on this earth, namely:

  • Negroid, which is characterized by black skin and curly hair.
  • Mongoloid, which is characterized by olive skin with stiff hair and slanted eyes.
  • Caucasoid, which is characterized by white skin with blue eyes and blonde hair.
  • Australoid, namely those with black or brown skin characteristics.
  • Khoisan, that is, the average comes from South Africa.

However, when discussing the diversity of society in Indonesia, there are at least four racial groups that become the identity of each individual, namely:

  • Malayan-Mongoloid race, most of whom are in Sumatra, Java, Bali, West Nusa Tenggara, Sulawesi and Kalimantan.
  • Melanesoid race, most of whom are in the regions of Papua, East Nusa Tenggara and Maluku.
  • Asiatic-Mongoloid race, who are foreigners from China, Korea, Japan, and live in all parts of Indonesia.
  • The Caucasoid race, who are foreigners, originate from India, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, America, and live all over Indonesia.

So, previously it was explained that this territory of Indonesia has a strategic area so that many foreign nationals apply for naturalization to the Indonesian government so that they can become Indonesian citizens. Therefore the diversity of Indonesian society is not only limited to native Indonesian ethnic groups, but also a mixture of foreign ethnic groups.

2. Religion and Belief

In Indonesia, there are actually 6 religions recognized by the state, namely Islam, Catholicism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. However, for that trust can vary. Not only that, even within a religion there will also be differences in the way of worship. Nevertheless, this diversity must not tarnish the unity of the Indonesian nation.

3. Manners

These manners are related to the norms applied in an area. Not infrequently if in one region to another, have different manners and norms. Manners are usually in line with polite behavior that must be applied by all Indonesian people, regardless of ethnicity, because manners have been the original identity of the Indonesian people since time immemorial.

Why is Bhinneka Tunggal Ika the State motto of Indonesia?

Since elementary school, Reader  must have been taught what the motto of this Indonesian nation is, namely Bhinneka Tunggal Ika. Yep, this motto is even placed on the Garuda bird which is also pinned as the symbol of this Indonesian state. The meaning of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika is “Different but still one”, which was apparently designed by Sultan Hamid II of Pontianak. The motto was then inaugurated by President Soekarno as the symbol of the Indonesian state at the Cabinet Meeting of the United Republic of Indonesia, precisely on February 11, 1950.

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This sentence about Bhinneka Tunggal Ika has actually been found in the book Sutasoma by Mpu Tantular from the Majapahit kingdom around the 14th century. In the book, the notion of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika is more emphasized on the differences in the areas of belief and religious diversity that existed among the people of Majapahit at that time. This definition is still adhered to today, because it is very suitable and can also be interpreted that even though the Indonesian state has various ethnic groups along with their cultures and customs, overall it is a real unity for this nation.

The embodiment of the motto Bhinneka Tunggal Ika in social life is mutual respect between one community and another, regardless of ethnicity, religion, language, customs, skin color, and others when interacting socially. Through this motto too, we must throw away selfish or regional attitudes for the common good, Reader .

How is the Implementation of Diversity in Indonesia?

There are lots of implementations or concrete examples of the diversity that exists in Indonesia, starting from the family environment, school environment, work environment, to the play environment. Because basically, all individuals do have diversity, be it ethnicity, religion, skin color, to their mindset.

Family environment

Is Reader  aware that within the family, especially in the extended family, there is often striking diversity? The most appropriate moment to gather with the extended family on both the father’s and mother’s side is when celebrating a big day. So, at the time of the celebration, try to pay attention to your relatives, is there anything “different” from your family? Or is there even a striking diversity in the nuclear family? For example, your father is from the Dayak tribe and your mother is from the Javanese tribe.

These things are common and very common in Indonesia, because basically this country has various ethnic groups, so it is only natural that in a large family there are various ethnic groups. Then, how do we respond to this? The answer is to respect others and there is no need to be racist or offend other ethnic groups. Because, we are all Indonesians who must unite.

School environment


Almost the same as the family environment, the school environment must also have the diversity of ethnic groups in it. Take a look at your class, do all of them come from the Javanese only? There must have been several other tribes, for example the Sundanese, the Asmat, or even the Acehnese. Diversity is normal to find because your parents or friends’ families may have moved residents or migrated from their place of origin.

It should be known that the migration of the population is also a factor in why an area can have a variety of ethnic groups. So, how do we respond to that? The answer, of course, is that we should respect each other and not be racist. You can even learn the culture and special language of other tribes through your friends. It’s also fun to learn the culture and language of other tribes!

This diversity is not only limited to ethnic groups, but also to religions 

Work Environment

In the work environment is the most obvious form of implementation to see the diversity of the Indonesian population. This is because it is impossible for a company or workplace to employ only certain ethnic groups, of course it requires many people and the vacancies will definitely be filled by people from various ethnic groups.

Almost the same as in the school environment, the presence of population displacement or migration means that a company or workplace will be filled by various ethnic groups. It is not uncommon for people from other regions with various ethnic groups to choose to migrate to a certain place to get a job. Therefore, a certain place will be mentioned as a heterogeneous area. An example is the Jakarta region which is commonly used as a destination for people who happen to live outside of Jakarta.

Well, that’s the commentary on what is the meaning of diversity along with the causative factors, elements , to the form of its implementation in everyday life. The form of diversity is not only in ethnic groups, ranging from religion, skin color, language, culture, to the way of thinking also of course has diversity. All these things are natural because Indonesia has long been a country of multiculturalism. The important and mandatory thing is that we all have to respect each other and not be racist towards other ethnic groups