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Diversity

A site created to celebrate and understand diversity.

Many Americans associate the term diversity as a simple difference between "black" and "white" skin color and the associated social experience.  But diversity is so much more than that!  Diversity encompasses a divergence in:
 
1. Religion
2. Ability
3. Age
4. Sex
5. Sexual Preference
6. Race
7. Cultural Experience
8. Class
 
 
Use the links on this page to find information and exersizes to help you learn more about unmasking the misconceptions around diversity.
 
Each tab examines an issue of diversity and seeks to offer information, exersizes to enlighten and highten awareness, and links to visual aides or organizations which focus on improving the social problems associated with each issue.

Certain diverse groups are in the "social minority."  To clarify how to identify a minority, they share these characteristics:
 
1. They experience unequal treatment in employment and may experience   prejudice and discrimination.
 
2. They share physical characteristics and their liesure activities may differ from those in the social majority.
 
3. Membership in this group is involuntary.
 
4. Members may have a strong solidarity with other members of the same group.
 
5. In general, members of the group marry another member of the same group.

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Use this link to view a film about diversity by a student government.

This link will take you to a site that parodies "Stuff White People Like" or the dominant culture.

diversitywheel.jpg

The concept of "unmasking diversity" is an important one. Maybe you, like many other Americans, have never had a conversation with a homeless person or haven't had a friend who is of a different race, class or who is gay. 
 
If you don't know anyone personally, It's easy, because you have no real world reference, to stereotype people who are different from you.  This makes "those people" into a "thing" rather than a unique person with their own complicated good and bad attributes. 
 
This transforming a person or group into something less than human, however, is the first step on a continuum towards prejudice, discrimination and even violence.
 
The way we think about others, our thoughts, are important.

Each tab examines an issue of diversity and seeks to offer information, exersizes to enlighten and highten awareness, and links to visual aides or organizations which focus on improving the social problems associated with each issue.

The content on this site seeks to promote peace and acceptance.

 

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. -the Dalai Lama

justbaby.jpg

Thoughts are powerful.  We often make judgements about the moods or behaviors of others based on what we see.  If we saw this unhappy child, for example, we might assume he is sick, tired, tempermental or even neglected.  But we may not be seeing the full picture...

nicaraguafamily.jpg

Now, if we expand our view a bit, we can see that we might have made some incorrect assumptions.  First of all, we can now see that the boy is part of a family and judging from the family's expressions, they appear friendly, open and happy.  We are no longer blaming the parents for the child's stoic expression.  However, the family still appears poor based on their clothing and what little background we can make out. 
 
Most Americans will be quick to assume that the parents are probably lazy and that's why they are poor.  What other assumptions might we make about this family?
 
Now let's widen the picture a bit more.

thewholepicture.jpg

The boy's father used to work in construction but lost his job when the economy slowed the production of new construction.  The family immigrated from Nicaragua in 1997 and they are here in America legally.  The mother works five days a week as a seamstress and cleans houses on the weekends.  The father watches the children during the day and does some part time janitorial work at night.  They live in this small out building on an old plantation in Florida because it is all they can afford since the father lost his job. The old plantation has about fifteen just homes like theirs and all are inhabited by renters - most of whom are families.
 
The bigger picture allows us to understand that this family's problems are not based on individual failures, ethnicity or legal status but is rooted in society.  And unemployment is not just experienced by one boy and his family but by many across America.

DEVELOPING A

COMMON LANGUAGE

D E F I N I T I O N S

From the pamphlet "Close the Book on Hate"

Ableism

Ableism is prejudice and/or discrimination against people

with mental or physical disabilities.

Ageism

Ageism is prejudice and/or discrimination against people

because of their age.

Anti-bias

Anti-bias is an active commitment to challenging prejudice,

stereotyping and all forms of discrimination.

Anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitism is a prejudice and/or discrimination against

Jews. Anti-Semitism can be based on hatred against Jews because

of their religious beliefs, their group membership (ethnicity)

and sometimes on the erroneous belief that Jews are a “race.”

Bias

Bias is an inclination or preference either for or against

an individual or group that interferes with impartial judgment.

Bigotry

Bigotry is an unreasonable or irrational attachment

to negative stereotypes and prejudices.

Classism

Classism is prejudice and/or discrimination against people

because of their real or perceived economic status.

Culture

Culture is the patterns of daily life learned consciously

and unconsciously by a group of people. These patterns

can be seen in language, governing practices, arts, customs,

holiday celebrations, food, religion, dating rituals, and

clothing, to name a few examples.

Homophobia

Homophobia is the irrational fear of people who are believed

to be lesbian, gay or bisexual.

Multicultural

Multicultural means many or multiple cultures. The United States

is multicultural because its population consists of people from

many different cultures.

Prejudice

Prejudice is pre-judging, making a decision about

a person or group of people without sufficient knowledge.

Prejudicial thinking is frequently based on stereotypes.

Racism

Racism is a prejudice and/or discrimination based on the social

construction of “race.” Differences in physical characteristics

(e.g., skin color, hair texture, eye shape) are used to support

a system of inequities.

Scapegoating

Scapegoating is the action of blaming an individual or group

for something when, in reality, there is no one person or

group responsible for the problem. It targets another person

or group as responsible for problems in society because

of that person’s group identity.

Sexism

Sexism is prejudice and/or discrimination based on gender.

Stereotype

A stereotype is an oversimplified generalization about a person

or group of people without regard for individual differences.

Even seemingly positive stereotypes that link a person or group

to a specific positive trait can have negative consequences.

Discrimination

Discrimination is the denial of justice and fair treatment by both

individuals and institutions in many arenas, including employment,

education, housing, banking, and political rights. Discrimination

is an action that can follow prejudiced thinking.

Diversity

Diversity means different or varied. The population of the United

States is made up of people from diverse races, cultures and places.

Hate Crime

Hate crimes are defined under specific penal code sections

as an act or an attempted act by any person against the person

or property of another individual or group which in any way

constitutes an expression of hostility toward the victim because

of his or her race, religion, sexual orientation, national origin,

disability, gender, or ethnicity.* This includes but is not limited

to threatening phone calls, hate mail, physical assaults, vandalism,

cross burnings, destruction of religious symbols, and fire bombings.

* Elements of crime statutes and protected classifications vary state to state.

Hate Incident

Hate-motivated incidents are defined as behavior which

constitutes an expression of hostility against the person

or property of another because of the victim’s race, religion,

disability, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. Hate-motivated

incidents include those actions that are motivated by bias,

but do not meet the necessary elements required to prove

a crime. They may include such behavior as non-threatening

name calling, using racial slurs or disseminating racist leaflets.

Heterosexism

Heterosexism is prejudice and/or discrimination against people

who are or who are perceived to be lesbian, gay or bisexual.

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