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Diversity: Welcome!

This interdisciplinary guide is intended to serve as a portal to library and online resources related to diversity and cultural competency.
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]

ACC: Faces of Our Mission

Dr. Susan Thomason, Executive Director, Strategic Initiatives/Faculty Innovation, produced this video for an Austin Community College faculty workshop.  We are including it here because it celebrates not only the diversity of the students at ACC, but also of the diversity of program pathways the College offers to match interest, talent, and potential with achievement.

What Is Diversity?

Diversity, simply stated, is difference--the characteristics and experiences that make us uniquely who we are.  We promote the understanding of diversity as a celebration of differences and complexities.  Fred Rogers (1928–2003), children's television producer and star of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," is quoted often on this topic:

“What's been important in my understanding of myself and others is the fact that each one of us is so much more than any one thing. A sick child is much more than his or her sickness. …. A pediatrician is more than a medical doctor. You're MUCH more than your job description or your age or your income or your output.” (Quotes, Goodreads)

1. 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.
2. 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 relationship 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.
3. 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.
4. 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 http://www.gale.cengage.com/gvrl

"One of the major difficulties in discussions surrounding diversity is its very definition. At its core, diversity means embracing differences among people with respect to age, class, ethnicity, gender, health, physical and mental ability, race, sexual orientation, religion, physical size, education level, job level and function, personality traits, and other human differences.

Yet there is also the paradox of diversity:

  • We are each unique and like no one else
  • We are each like some people and unlike other people
  • We are each like all other people."

Dr. Evan M. Morse, interviewed in "The Back Page: Embracing Diversity in Veterinary Medicine," Today's Veterinary Practice, September/October 2011 (Volume 1, Number 2).

What is Multiculturalism?

“The ideology of including people of diverse cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds in an organization's workforce, faculty, student body, or customer base.  ‘Multiculturalism as an ideal has been regarded both as the entitlement of cultural groups and as a form of civil rights grounded in human dignity and the equality of cultures. It is seen as a move toward interculturalism, the beneficial exchange where cultures learn about each other (Anderson & Collins, 2007). Cultural diversity is an essential component of multiculturalism, leading to a broader representation of perspectives, worldviews, lifestyles, language, and communication skills. Acknowledging diversity suggests that subordinate groups are not necessarily required to give up their identity or assimilate to dominate norms (Lum, 2004; Weaver, 2005). For dominant groups, this may mean that new ways of relating to those of different cultures need to be acquired.’” 

(2008). Multiculturalism. In Terry Mizrahi & Larry E. Davis (Eds.), Encyclopedia of social work. New York: Oxford University Press. Retrieved 20 Feb. 2014, from http://www.oxfordreference.com/

"The development of multiculturalism as an intellectual theme and social movement has been most prominent in the United States—although it has spread rapidly to other countries. Debates over the content of education in the 1970s and 1980s were pivotal in this process. These centered primarily around multiculturalist arguments for expanding the curricula to include the history and work of marginalized groups (e.g., African Americans, Native Americans, women, immigrants—and later Hispanics, Asians, gays, lesbians, and other minorities). They also urged enlarging the canon of 'great works' to include texts originating outside the Western tradition.” 

(2002). Multiculturalism. In Craig Calhoun (Ed.), Dictionary of the social sciences. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 19 Feb. 2014, from http://www.oxfordreference.com/

What Is Inclusion?

"Inclusion refers to how diversity is leveraged to create a fair, equitable, healthy, and high-performing organization or community where all individuals are respected, feel engaged and motivated, and their contributions toward meeting organizational and societal goals are valued."  This definition comes from Global Diversity and Inclusion Benchmarks: Standards for Organizations Around the World  by Julie O'Mara, Alan Richter, and 80 expert panelists, sponsored by The Diversity Collegium, 2014. Also: Diversity and Inclusion, Definitions of. (2015). In J. M. Bennett, (Ed).,  The Sage Encyclopedia of Intercultural Competence. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. HM1211 .S24 2015 ebk  ebooks on EBSCOhost

circles illustration inclusion, exclusion, segregation, and integration.  Inclusion shows all the differently colored balls in one circle 

Image from Special Education Degrees: Your Guide to a Career in Special Education

What is Cultural Competence/Competency?

flags of four diverse nations "Cultural competence refers to the process by which individuals and systems respond respectfully and effectively to people of all cultures, languages, classes, races, ethnic backgrounds, religions, and other diversity factors in a manner that recognizes, affirms, and values the worth of individuals, families, and communities and protects and preserves the dignity of each." (2007). Indicators for the achievement of the NASW standards for cultural competence in social work practice. Washington, DC: National Association of Social Workers Press. p. 12-13.

"Cultural competency is "the capacity to function effectively in cultural settings other than one's own.  This will usually involve a recognition of the diversity both between and within cultures, a capacity for cultural self-assessment, and a willingness to adapt personal behaviors and practices."

VandenBos, G.R. (Ed.). (2007). APA Dictionary of Psychology. 1st ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. REF BF31 .A63 2007

What Is Equity?

Equity: Boys standing on boxes to see over a fence with taller boxes for shorter boys
 [Image Source]

In terms of student success, it is often necessary to address equity issues--such as access to specific technology--that may be related to socioeconomic status and other factors.  At many educational institutions course schedules have not been printed for years; students must register and enroll in courses online. Final grades, financial aid accounts, and college announcements may be provided exclusively online. A considerable portion of a library's collection may be digital  and require access to online databases, including the library catalog, to complete research assignments.

Image from Mann, Blair. (2014, March 12). Equity and equality are not equal. The Education Trust. Retrieved from https://edtrust.org/the-equity-line/equity-and-equality-are-not-equal/

 

What Is Intersectionality?

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What Are Microaggressions?

Dr. Dewald Wing Sue defines microaggressions as "...the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership."  Sue, D.W.  (2010). Microaggressions: More than just race. Blog. Psychology Today.  Retrieved April 8, 2016.

Vega, T. (2014, Mar 22). Everyday slights tied to race add up to big campus topic. New York Times.  Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/

"The word itself is not new -- it was first used by Dr. Chester M. Pierce, a professor of education and psychiatry at Harvard University, in the 1970s. Until recently it was considered academic talk for race theorists and sociologists."

"At least in part as a result of a blog started by two Columbia University students ... called The Microaggressions Project, the word made the leap from the academic world to the free-for-all on the web. Vivian Lu, the co-creator of the site, said she has received more than 15,000 submissions since she began the project.  Events, observations and experiences have been posted by people from around the world."

Boysen, G. A. (2012). Teacher and student perceptions of microaggressions in college classrooms. College Teaching, 60(3), 122-129. doi:10.1080/87567555.2012.654831
"Despite  their  subtle  nature, research  suggests  that  microaggressions have deleterious effects on students. To begin, the frequent experience of microaggressions leads students to perceive campus climates negatively (Solorzano et al. 2000). Furthermore, prejudice has long been recognized as a significant stressor on physical and psychological health (Clark et al. 1999), and recent research among ... students  confirms  that  facing microaggressions predicts symptoms of psychological stress and dysfunction (Mercer et al. 2011; Torres, Driscoll, and Burrow 2010). Microaggressions could even interfere with academic  performance."

"Teachers might be tempted to believe that incidents of bias in the classroom are best left ignored so as not to call attention to the behavior, but research suggests that students want teachers to respond to classroom microaggressions. For example, one qualitative study indicated that students prefer that teachers lead classroom discussions about microaggressions rather than ignore them (Sue et al. 2009). In addition, Boysen and colleagues (2009) asked students to recall incidents of subtle
bias in the classroom and rate the effectiveness of the teachers’ method of responding to the incident. Students indicated that ignoring subtle bias was ineffective overall and that it was significantly less effective than all other response types."

 

What Is Stereotype Threat?

Stereotype Threat, the fear of failing in a way that reinforces derogatory stereotypes of one's social group, undermines performance in school, sports and the workplace. Psychologists Claude Steele and Joshua Aronson of Stanford University, coined the term  in 1995. 

Neil de Grasse Tyson, African American astrophysicist and science communicator, said "In the perception of society my academic failures are expected and my academic successes are attributed to others. To spend most of my life fighting these attitudes levies an emotional tax that is a form of intellectual emasculation. It is a tax that I would not wish upon my enemies." Yong, E. (2013). Armor against prejudice. Scientific American, 308(6), 76-80. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete

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"Some research has indicated that negative consequences can, to some extent, be mitigated. For example, the effect may be reduced by educating students about the issue and underscoring that the existence of stereotypes and stereotype threat does not necessarily mean that performance will be adversely affected. One approach that has gained considerable influence in recent years is teaching students that intelligence and academic performance can be improved through effort and hard work. See growth mindset for a more detailed discussion." 

Stereotype Treat. (2013, August 29). In S. Abbott (Ed.), The glossary of education reform. Retrieved from http://edglossary.org/stereotype-threat/


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