Achieving Diversity without Doing a Disservice

Inclusive pedagogy is a comprehensive topic. To discuss it, we need to fully understand diversity issues first.

I took the course, Diversity and Inclusion for a Global Society, last semester with Dean DePauw. The course talks about diversity issues from different aspects. I learned a lot from that course, I do suggest anyone who would like to learn more about diversity and inclusion can think about taking that course.

The most important lessons I learned from the course is that we always thinking about diversity issues as big, obvious aggressions, but microaggressions in daily life are more urgent for us to realize and solve. I recommend a short video from YouTube for microaggressions,


The video used a metaphor that comparing microaggressions to mosquito bites to emphasize how microaggressions hurt people in daily life. Sometimes, even if people think they are so nice to say something can hurt others in different ways. Once we understand that and pay attention to details, we may think differently when we deal with inclusive pedagogy.

I am happily to learn that diversity help with creation from the assigned readings this week, and I would like to have inclusive pedagogy and even achieve diversity without doing a disservice. Why do I say this? Because when we try too hard to achieve diversity, that may lead to opposite effects. When we try to assign more diverse study groups, we may make people feel awkward since people will feel that we treat them different as “diverse people”, even if we just want to do something good for them. That will be the same when we want to include more diverse members in our course, association or department. If we do not pay attention to the way we take to achieve inclusive pedagogy, we might easily end up like those mosquitos annoy people.

What I can think of to achieve inclusive pedagogy would be to minimize stereotype threat and microaggressions when we interact with students inside the class or outside of the class. We need to learn more about diversity and inclusion before we talk to students or colleagues, so we can avoid a lot of words related to stereotype threat and microaggressions.

What do you think of how we can achieve inclusive pedagogy without doing a disservice? I would like to hear more ideas.

9 comments for “Achieving Diversity without Doing a Disservice

  1. Rachel Kinzer Corell
    14 March, 2017 at 12:11 am

    Great post! I’ve seen that video before, but it’s been a long time. Thanks for reminding me that it exists!

  2. Maria Saxton
    14 March, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    Really good post– I can definitely relate. I sometimes feel that diversity is such a sensitive issue that it often makes situations more awkward if an individual is singled out, as you suggested.
    Cool video too, I’d never seen it before. Gives you a good perspective!

  3. Haoran Wei
    15 March, 2017 at 12:16 am

    Very good point! I totally agree that it causes microaggression when emphasizing diversity too much. Diversity and inclusiveness is a definitely a good thing. But we need to find a balance between it and fairness.

  4. Nicole Quinn
    15 March, 2017 at 10:45 am

    This was a great example from last semester! Microaggressions in sum can be very harmful even if individually they seem small.

  5. 15 March, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    I love this video. I think this pile up of microaggressions and this “disservice” you talk about might actually be what I’m dealing with right now that I discussed in my blog. I really appreciated your insights :)

  6. Hanh le
    15 March, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    In the article “How diversity makes us smarter”, the author provided a lot of examples showing diverse groups with better creativity and innovation. I think in order to get a good outcome, each member of the group is prepared to work with people who have different point of view or background. In a classroom, students should learn some skills such as communication skills or conflict solving skills before working in a diverse team. As you said “…we try too hard to achieve diversity, that may lead to opposite effects. When we try to assign more diverse study groups, we may make people feel awkward…”.

  7. 15 March, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    I really appreciate the points you’re making in this post. Too often (*cough* InclusiveVT *cough*) it seems like diversity, inclusion, and whatnot are just the new “hot topics” and check-boxes for universities and intuitions to use in furthering their own projects. In several of the departments I’ve been in a common line is:”Oh, we need diversity for this search committee? Why not ask Person X?”. Person X is almost always the one person in the department who holds a minoritized identity and they get volluntold, and tokenized, for all the committees since we need “diversity”.

    To your question, I like to think we can achieve an inclusive pedagogy but not with our current methods and approaches. I think we need to move away from an acceptance and tolerance model of diversity towards a nurturance model that doesn’t value diversity as a means to an end but as an end in and of itself.

  8. katherine phetxumphou
    15 March, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    Totally loved that youtube video! The first way to address microaggressions is the take them head on. We as a society and future educators must acknowledge that they exist and call people out when we hear it. If we constantly ignore minor microaggressions, we are also ignoring the underlying issues in our society. Thank you for sharing!

  9. andrea
    15 March, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    Thank you for sharing. I agree that universities still have a long way to go in terms of properly addressing diversity. Simply aiming to increase the numbers of minority groups would be a disservice to these groups of people since it would mean directing all efforts to increasing recruitment without addressing retention. And since retention involves the community-at-large, it gets more complicated as it would require getting people–who might not feel that this is something they should care about or work on since it doesn’t directly affect them–involved in the process as well. I also think that microaggressions can be a harder issue to deal with since they could be easily missed or disregarded without being aware of the negative consequences. In that sense, microaggressions have the ability to do more damage than macro or more direct types of aggressions which can be more easily addressed.

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