Diversity for global society

When anyone talks about diversity, the very first thing that comes to our mind is either gender or ethnicity differences. However, diversity includes a much wider range of factors such as differences in socio-economic status, abilities, languages, sexual orientation, and so on. It is significant to be familiar with all types of diversity in order to better understand dissimilar individuals. Furthermore, using the word diversity with inclusion and equity makes a difference compared to using diversity individually. In other words, we might have a diverse environment without considering and including everyone, but, if we create an inclusive environment, we can have diversity, too. In my point of view, it is also important to understand the differences between equity and equality to be fair when addressing individuals.

Before taking the class “Diversity for global society” I had the same understanding of diversity as many other individuals have. This class broadened my perspective by encouraging me to think beyond the general information I receive from my day to day life. Knowing how every single word that I use, even unintentionally, can be some type of microaggression made me to behave more cautiously to avoid impacting other individuals. I understood that I should be more aware of typical words that I use day to day and even notify others when they use inappropriate words to address other folks. On the other hand, I also learned that it is not usual to accept and allow others to mistreat me because of my differences.

The other word that I learned in this class was privilege. We are benefiting every day from certain features that we have. Examples of privilege would be being a while male who is heterosexual. The benefits received by such person can be better understandable when comparing him with a black female who is bisexual. Privilege can be defined as unearned, unrecognized, and culturally taught characteristics. Being part of a privileged group, individuals might not be aware of advantages they are receiving by believing that they have somehow earned it. Therefore, we should put our effort to make changes to such cultures and modify people’s beliefs. Also, we might not be aware of the implicit biases we have towards certain groups. Understanding both of these can greatly impact our situations and the way we behave towards dissimilar individuals. It can impact our decisions while intending to provide more equitable environments.

A great part of this class was the discussions that we had about the topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. I could learn about everyone’s ideas, opinions, and feedbacks in class which lead me to dig deeper into related areas and enhance my thoughts. I learned how to be involved in such discussions and that how significant can be to participate in events related to these topics. I tried my best to learn how to talk about diversity, when to address inclusion, and how to educate others about these topics. Although increasing our knowledge and understanding such topics is prominent, in my opinion, it is significant to transfer our knowledge to the community.


About mensafi

Mahnaz is a Ph.D. student in Environmental Design and Planning at Virginia Tech. She holds two master’s degree, M.S. in Environmental Design from Texas Tech University and M.A in Architecture from University of Tehran (Iran). Currently, she is both research and teaching assistant at Virginia Tech. Her research interests include BIM, facility management, construction safety and healthcare design.
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