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Dimensions of Diversity: Welcome

Focuses on specific aspects of diversity such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation/gender identity, creed, and socioeconomic status



Photo: Audre Lorde "It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences."  -- Audre Lorde
Our Dead Behind Us Quotes. goodreads. Lorde, A. (1994).  Our Dead Behind Us: Poems. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Image by K. Kendall (originally posted to Flickr as Audre Lorde) [CC by 2.0]


America's Diverse Cultures

What Does " Diversity" Mean?

  • Counting diversity refers to empirically enumerating differences within a given population. Using this definition, social scientists take a particular population and simply count the members according to specific criteria, often including race, gender, and ethnicity. In addition, it is possible to take a particular unit within a society like a school, workplace, or government and compare its race, ethnic, or gender distribution to that of the general population.
  • Culture diversity refers to the importance of understanding and appreciating the cultural differences between race, ethnic, and gender groups. Since members of one culture often view others in relation to their own standards, social scientists using the culture diversity definition would argue that it is important to show that differences do not have to be evaluated along a good-bad or moral-immoral scale. With greater tolerance and understanding, the argument goes, different cultural groups can coexist with one another in the same society.
  • Good-for-business diversity refers to the belief that businesses will be more profitable and government agencies and not-for-profit corporations will be more efficient with diverse labor forces.
  • Conflict diversity refers to understanding how different groups exist in a hierarchy of inequality in terms of power, privilege, and wealth."  

Diversity. (2008). In W. A. Darity, Jr. (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (2nd ed., Vol. 2, pp. 419-420). Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA. Retrieved from

Other thoughts on the meaning of "diversity"

"It’s very important to note that the terms 'diverse' and 'people of color' only make sense in a Western context. In America and Canada in particular, the latter term has gained widespread use. It simply refers to the groups of people who are ethnic or racial minorities in countries that have a majority white population. Saying 'people of color' in countries like China or India where ethnic and racial diversity is less common doesn’t make sense like it does in Europe or America. People from such countries may not understand 'diversity' in the same sense that western countries do, where it usually means the inclusion of marginalized voices into mainstream discourse.  --Naz @ Read Diverse Books (

While blog readers generally agreed with parts of this definition, one replied "Your definition of diversity is spot on to me. I think that you can use the word diverse outside of the West though. The beautiful thing about diversity is it can apply to religion, sexual orientation, thought and ideology, or even different ethnic groups within a country."

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