The definition of “diversity” is “the condition of having or being composed of differing elements : variety; especially : the inclusion of different types of people (as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization.” It appears, however, that diversity for some folks mean “only if you agree with or are just like us.”
In Olympia, Wash., South Puget Sound Community College’s Diversity and Equity Center planned a “Happy Hour” for staff and employees in order to discuss racial issues. The invitation to the event was sent to 300 people…but there was a catch:
The invite made it clear white people were not invited.
The email read: “If you want to create space for white folks to meet and work on racism, white supremacy, and white privilege to better our campus community and yourselves, please feel free to do just that.”
The program director, who helped craft the invitation, defended it by saying, “When trying to explicitly talk about race it can be a really difficult conversation for a lot of people.”
At the United Nations this past week, Girls Scouts from around the world were invited to give input on UN policy. Working in small groups (with no adults allowed), the young women were asked to discuss “women’s rights,” with those rights including “reproductive health.” Several Catholic teens began to feel very uncomfortable as they expressed their views.
When Ave [Fouriezos] tried to explain her views on sexual health and abortion, “my opinion was disregarded. It was obvious that my opinion didn’t matter because it didn’t comply with the WAGGGS’ [World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts] agenda.”
In another group, a WAGGGS leader said “access to contraception” should be in the UN’s goals. One teen, Lauren Downes, explained this was controversial and suggested changing it to “education in contraception.”
Miss Downes said that in her group, “every girl in the group wouldn’t listen to me, wouldn’t respect me, and slowly pushed me out of the circle. I didn’t feel welcomed and I didn’t feel like I had a voice.”
It’s impossible to be diverse if you intentionally shut out a certain group of people. To disengage from those with whom you disagree is isolationism, not inclusion and diversity. One might as well stay home and talk to one’s self.