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Why 20th Century Diversity doesn’t fit 21st Century Citizens

Photo Credit: http://racebridgesforschools.com/wp/?p=2793

I have come across something quite troubling in the many training activities surrounding diversity. In these activities I am required to admit my struggles and my privileges.

 

The way that we focus on diversity, and how we talk about different people and their stories can be really triggering and uncomfortable. Whenever job training requires us to do a diversity activity, a collective sigh of resignation ripples around the room.

 

There is a stigma with diversity talks, because the way that we go about diversity is backwards, and it feels like we are shaming privilege and highlighting personal struggles. Or even worse we are inflaming old wounds or triggering people unnecessarily.

 

As a TCK, my diversities are hidden and these activities are often misleading. There are many hidden diversities which go unrecognized and are looked over by these supposedly “inclusive” activities.

 

In addition to this, when highlighting diversity within a university, corporation, community etc., there is a strong emphasis on visible diversity. By doing this we are devaluing people’s experiences by marginalizing them if their diversity cannot be seen by the color of their skin.

 

Diversity is not about what you can see on the outside, it’s about the rich life experiences you have lived. If that means that you have overcome an incredible struggle, then that’s part of your story. We need to move away from what we can see and towards what we can share and understand.

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1 comment

  1. Kenady, I’m so glad you wrote this article!! I’m sure many will read it (not from this community, but non TCKs) and think your voice is one of privilege (with a negative connotation) when the real message is privilege is the rich experience that allows one to view the entire world as equals simultaneously. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. That’s a privilege I will gladly keep.

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