What a semester and a privilege to immerse myself and learn about the many facets of diversity and the principles of inclusion and equity. Taking this class, Diversity and Inclusion for a Global Society, has radically changed my perspectives and outlook on DEI. I am a little bit wiser in that I now have a better understanding that diversity is truly expansive and beyond traditional factors such as race and gender. It is all encompassing and includes many ascribed attributes and selected factors. Diversity is really the thread of humanity, and the essential ingredient that makes people, situations and life more beautiful, enriching and enlightening. We must embrace diversity and the unique differences we all bring to the table to complement, uplift and stimulate each other.
Inclusion requires proactivity and involves taking individual and collective responsibility to create spaces and environments where everyone feels valued, affirmed and a sense of belonging. It goes beyond mere representation but promotes a system of togetherness and interdependence. When we understand that everyone and each group or community has something of great value to offer and that we all can benefit and learn from, then I believe we can experience real growth and edification. Exclusivity on the other hand is the thief of enrichment.
Furthermore, equity is ensuring fairness and equality of opportunities and access by having a level playing field. Understanding there is more to gain in removing barriers and allowing everyone to rise to greatness and make society a better place.
Indeed, this class was very enjoyable, thought-provoking, stimulating and enlightening. I feel inspired and challenged to be intentional in acknowledging, respecting and advocating for DEI initiatives. Certainly, the people and groups affected by DEI issues are important, and their challenges significant in addressing, for the greater good of society.
The topics discussed in class were riveting. I learned a lot of invaluable and important information from the course content, discussions and interactions. I gained recognition about gender pronouns and how I can respectfully and appropriately address myself and different people. Additionally, I gained knowledge about microaggressions and how to detect them. I also learned about implicit biases, stereotype threat, and the 5 different forms of racism and how these pervade and perpetuate in people and society. Moreover, I learned about the many identities people can have and the privileges awarded to the dominant groups in society. Most importantly, I learned that I need to be mindful and aware of my own conscious and unconscious biases and how to examine my own stereotypical perceptions, behaviors and reactions to avoid enacting them onto members of society. The topics reviewed and discussed were very helpful in allowing me to see how I can identify and personally debunk such mindsets, behaviors and attitudes towards others.
Interestingly, the insights from the topic of intersectionality was impactful in that I learned that people are a totality of their experiences and cannot be viewed from singular lens. People are made up of diverse identities and we must do our best to communicate to people with this awareness in order to better understand and relate to each other. Furthermore, the issue and topic of diversity extends beyond the U.S. borders. Many countries around the globe must engage with DEI and work towards making their institutions and society more tolerant and forbearing. I can confidently say that I feel a greater sense of internal and external awareness and I gained a deeper level of growth and development after taking this class and interacting with the content and my peers.
Also, Dr. Grimes was a great facilitator for the class and he really challenged and encouraged us to think outside the norm and to absorb, digest and engage with the controversial material and commentary in a respectful manner. I very much appreciated the classroom environment and I am grateful for the experiences and discussion shared by my classmates and their unique perspectives on DEI to enhance my learning and understanding.