Canberra United foundation player, Beck Kiting is one of those rare Canberrans - she was born in the ACT and has continued to live and work here (not counting a four-year stint playing soccer for a college in Connecticut, USA).
Her Indonesian father and Australian mother have given Beck a strong appreciation for her diverse cultural background.
“Since I can remember, I have always been told by my parents that I am different and special in my own way, because I am privileged to be able to be a part of two very different cultures,” she says. “My cultural identity has grown with both Indonesian and Australian influences to something quite individual and unique to myself.”
“In saying that, I believe I am an Australian,” Beck emphasises. “Which to me, is a very diverse group in itself.”
“But I feel fortunate to be equally comfortable in both Australia (my mother’s birth country) and Indonesia (my father’s birth country).”
The typically warm and friendly defender feels sorry for people who can’t see the benefits of such an upbringing.
“I have been in a couple of situations where someone has said something to me about my cultural identity but instead of feeling animosity to the person, I feel sorry for them, because they have not been able to experience the wonders of my culture and what it has to offer,” says Beck.
“I have been lucky enough to have been brought up to feel comfortable with my cultural identity so when remarks are made to me I usually don’t get offended.”
Beck worries about others who may not have the same resilience.
“There have been many instances where I have witnessed others who are not as confident with their cultural identity and struggle when criticised about it,” she explains, adding that all individuals have a responsibility to treat others as an equal and with respect.
“If people in our community can have greater awareness for other peoples’ cultures - even if they don’t quite understand them - I think our society can be a much better place.”
Citing government organisations and individuals with public profiles as those who should be setting the example, Beck would love to see a firm commitment to diversity by these groups by modelling their behaviour and, “meaning what they say, and not just saying something because it is politically correct - but because they have invested time to learn from the experiences of others.”
“Walking the talk is really important,” Beck notes. “It shows that they know, understand and value cultural diversity.”