Is Beverly Hills 'Multicultural'?

Answering a Simple Question With a Complex Answer

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Doug Melville Doug Melville
Last week I was on a conference call with a colleague talking about the different makeups of multicultural cities, states, DMAs, etc. In regard to the city/DMAs, all the multicultural "usual suspects" came up -- Detroit, D.C., Miami, New York City, Atlanta, et al. -- along with their various defining geographic properties (check out this multicultural melting-pot map for a quick reference). Next, we went on to discuss what specifically makes up a "multicultural" market, based on my colleague's definition.

The conversation regarding multiculturalism quickly got into the breakdown of population density and ethnic diversity and how those two qualities, in some form or fashion, typically make up his geographical definition. No surprises there. Then he said, "You know, Beverly Hills is technically a multicultural neighborhood, based on some people's definition of multicultural."

"Really?" I said.

"Yes, based on the lower number of residents and the increasing number of different races -- Hispanic, African American, Armenian, Indian, Asian, South American -- Beverly Hills is, by some definitions, considered multicultural." Although the reasoning made sense, I was caught off guard.

But it got me thinking. If one person's definition of "multicultural" could include Beverly Hills, then how many different definitions are out there? Very rarely in business can you ask someone a question and get a completely different answer every time depending on who is on the other end of the call. Conversations about multiculturalism are not new to me. I enjoy them and look forward to them. In fact, discussing the word "multicultural" allows me to gain insight into people that I may have never encountered before.

So, I wanted to pose the question to you: If you were giving a presentation to your peers, and they asked you to describe "multicultural," what would be your response? I'm interested in hearing your thoughts.
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