Can educators help a diverse group find common ground?

Jun 25, 2019 by

Helping students navigate relationships and overcome biases

Educators have a responsibility to prepare the next generation, find common ground with a diverse group of people and successfully shape the future.

When it comes to diversity education, schools have options.

Exposure to different perspectives early in life is key — challenging assumptions about social norms and understanding the links between everyday life and work. Ideally, the process begins in elementary school.

Consider a woman in your workplace. She may hear a sexist joke four times without ever saying how much it bothers her. Imagine you make an off-color joke one day and it’s the fifth time she hears one. What you consider an overreaction on her part — anger, shock or directly reporting you to Human Resources — is the typical attitude that individuals assume when dealing with microaggressions.

These small, cumulative comments, slights or jokes take on an aggressive character for the receiver that continually points out someone’s difference. What you considered ‘no big deal’ fanned a flame started by others before you. We all grapple with this, and we’ve all created awkward moments where one slip of the tongue said a thousand words. Wouldn’t it have been better to recognize the inappropriateness of that joke before you said it? This is exactly the sort of issue that diversity training explores.

Source: Can educators help a diverse group find common ground?

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