Diversity

I thought this cartoon went very well with this statement by Pearl Kane and Alfonso Orsini’s work, The Colors of Excellence:

People of color, be they African-American, Native American, Asian, Middle Eastern or whatever ethnic group, have spent years discovering their roots, developing a keen pride in their heritage, and accepting who they are. So don’t expect the current crop of prospective faculty to fit into your conservative profile. Many of them will not, and, frankly, I don’t think they should even try! Is that shocking? Is that unacceptable to you and your clientele? Then, perhaps, diversity is really not for you. If a turban or a dashiki pants suit offends, then so will diversity! Diversity by definition implies that the status quo will be upset.

Beyond just racial and ethnic diversity, I believe this speaks to intellectual diversity, too. As noted in Richard Riesen’s Piety and Philosophy: A Primer for Christian Schools: One must be able to explore controversial and complex topics that might seem different, and probably are different, but that is the idea of being able to think. Intellectualism is not confining all thought to a set of rules that can be placed in a box; it is the freedom to explore, challenge, and grow from what others think, know, and value. Aristotle said it best when he stated: “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” I fear that independent thought is under attack by the notion of conformity. It seems too often that we are being told what to think, how to think it, and why to think a particular way. Have you listened to music of late; it all sounds the same. Or, try turning on the TV. It seems that all of TV operates in a ubiquitous fashion when it comes to reality TV; I guess in some sense, I too contribute to this train of thought; I mean, I am sitting here constructing a post about my thoughts and ideas. And at times, about the reality of my day-to-day actions. In my defense, I do try to present and challenge people with provoking ideas. I am not sure this is the case for the Bachelor. To some extent, we are all guilty of conformity.


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3 thoughts on “Diversity

  1. I think there is some genetic basis to the human tendency to be xenophobic. It exists in all cultures in all times. It’s hardly unique to now or to America or to Christians.

    Recognizing that is the first step! 🙂

    If we realize that a persons first reaction is to be uncomfortable with what they don’t already know – simply because they are human – then it will be easier to find ways (that actually work) to mitigate those responses.

    Certainly, cutting back on the cultural things that increase xenophobia is a good step. Get rid of as many structural barriers as we can – especially those that are governmental.

    But, there will always be a core of this stuff at the center of every human being. If we’re honest we can all think of times in our own lives when we were unnecessarily rude to someone who we perceived to be “the other” – remember high school?

    Diversity is good not only because it introduces new cultures to other cultures. But because it gets individual people used to being around a wide variety of people over time. I think there is a subtle difference.

    The first can be done with TV programs and slide shows. But the second has to be lived.

    The only way to mitigate true xenophobia – the type that is likely a genetic part of us (like it is in all animals) – is to force people to live together until they have no choice but to see that we’re all part of the “us” crowd … and that “the others” are on Lost!

  2. Pingback: Good Students. Diverse Students. « The Professor

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