Diversity and Inclusivity: Why Should I Care?

Category: Cherry on Top

This week’s blog post is about diversity and inclusivity. You have probably heard these words before in classes, clubs, organizations or your workplace. When most people think of diversity and inclusivity, they think of issues surrounding race because that is a common, often sensitive topic of discussion in our society today. Although conversations about race and racism are important, diversity and inclusivity is all encompassing and covers topics such as gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, health, and much more. Here are some commonly asked questions to give you a better understanding of diversity and inclusivity and why they are important, and how they relate to your career, as well as other aspects of your life.

Q: What do you mean when you say diversity and inclusivity?

When we talk about diversity and inclusivity we want people to celebrate and educate themselves on what makes people different; we make a conscious effort to acknowledge the hardships that come along with identities separate from our own. In doing so, we are able to better understand where people are coming from, why they may do the things they do and what topics are sensitive to individual people. When we learn better, we do better, and can help prevent the common misunderstandings that impact people negatively.

Q: Why is learning about diversity and inclusivity important? I feel like I am a nice person and don’t discriminate.

An important concept to understand here is “implicit bias”. Implicit bias “refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.”*  Whether we know it or not, our consumption of media and input from the world around us has influenced unconscious associations in our brains between groups of people and often times, negative things. It is important to learn about diversity and inclusivity so we understand the implicit biases we do have and make an effort to correct those.

Q: What are some resources that can help me learn more?

  1. The Liturgists is a podcast that tears down the barriers society puts up against religion, race, gender, ability and sexuality. I would highly recommend listening to this whenever you have some free time. Every episode is super informative and spark great topics of conversation.
  2. The Safe Zone Project is an online resource for LGBTQ awareness. It has various websites, organizations and handouts for personal learning and growth.
  3. Documentaries such as Miss Representation and 13th and films like Whose Streets are helpful in providing context to some of the misconceptions in our society today.
  4. The Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equity. This division at Mizzou is located in Jesse hall and hosts numerous celebratory and educational events. Be sure and check out their website to stay updated on everything that is happening.
  5. Social Justice Centers on campus (Women’s Center, Multicultural Center, Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center, LGBTQ Resource Center, RSVP Office) are all located in the basement of the student center and welcome to everyone.
  6. The MU Career Center supports career development for diverse student groups including: student veterans, students with disabilities, students of color, LGBTQ students and international students. Check out our web page on Diversity & Inclusion for lots of resources and information about this topic, as well as Mizzou Career Tools  – you can search for Inclusivity & Diversity in the drop down menu under “Explore”.
  7. The Career Center also has a Pinterest Page that includes boards on gender neutral interview clothing as well as diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

 

*Definition from the Kirwin Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity