Practicing Diversity

It is my impression that sometimes when there is a lot of emphasis on diversity, we miss the things people have in common and even isolate them somewhat, but separating them from others who are not diverse in the same ways.

Does anyone else have this feeling? Or is this an issue that I don’t understand because of my ethnicity?

I was reading College Englishtoday and that issue came up. It also came up when I was reading through Component A of an online class I am taking. Am I the only one struggling with a feeling that we are dividing our students more than we are helping them by focusing on their ethnicity?

This doesn’t mean I don’t want to value my students for who they are and what culture they come from, but I wonder if sometimes some people emphasize this too much.

The former adjunct liaison at CC1 used to have a post up somewhere in the lost world of the internet on the cultural differences between low socio-economic system students and middle class socio-economic system teachers. I learned a lot from that, despite having been a low SES growing up. And I can see why that cultural difference matters.

But does it really matter if we’re “red, brown, yellow, black, or white?” I don’t think that culture necessarily matches ethnicity.

A friend of mine who grew up in the barrio, when he was about 13 was in Houston and approached a guy whom he assumed was from a similar culture. He greeted him with the lingo of the ‘hood, and the fellow said, in very correct English, “I am sorry. I did not understand you.” Skin color is not culture.

Skin color may inform culture. But I wonder if it ought to be as big a deal as it is.

Why is a white woman writing about black women “racial theft” (as per Laurie Grobman’s article) but a woman writing about a man isn’t gender theft?

There are lots of points I want to make about practicing diversity in general, but I am often afraid to talk about the topic or ask questions for fear that I will be seen as oppressive and racist. So I can’t even ask…