Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Diversity, Part 4. The Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How

Parts 2 and 3 of this series explored problems of definition and measurement in Diversity.  The definition of a Diverse person is somewhat subject to an arbitrary classification of Identity and measurement of Diversity is subject to the choice of geographical or organizational levels of Diverse groups.

This post considers Diversity and Inclusion by examining Exclusion, that is, which groups can be excluded (granted a waiver or are exempt) from Inclusive membership and which cannot be excluded, that is, must contain members from two or more categories of persons.

The top universities are the vanguard of Diversity and Inclusion.  Their lists of student associations indicate legitimate Exclusion and, by omission, illegitimate Exclusion.

Take Washington University in St. Louis, which, like all other leading private and public universities, emphasizes Diversity and Inclusion (Respect, Equity, Social Justice, etc.) as integral to its educational mission.

A search of student organizations lists 83 that fall in the category of Diversity and Inclusion.  Most are classified by race, ethnicity, gender, sexual preference, religion, geography, or national origin.  Some have self-explanatory names; others I briefly describe.  Most are single category organizations.  Some are multicategory.  Some that I have not included are substantive, e.g., comic books, positive sex, weekly running club, books and basketball, art for non-artistic students, etc.  Presumably members from any racial, ethnic, gender, sexual preference, religion, nationality, etc. can participate.  I present them in alphabetical order.

Ability:  Furthers Inclusion of Disabled.
African Students Association
Ashoksa:  South Asian Student Association
Asian American Association
Association for Women in Math
Association of Black Students
Association of Latin American Students
Bhakti Yoga Club
Black Anthology:  Black Community
Black Pre-Law Association
Caribbean-American Student Association
Elevate:  Connecting and Empowering Professional Women
Hawaii Club
Hillel Leadership Council
Hindu Students’ Association
Hong Kong Students Association
Japan Peer Network
Lambda Q:  LBGTQIA+
Lunar New Year Festival
Mariachi Cuicacalli:  Latino Music Band
Minorities in Business
Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students
Minority Association of Rising Students
Muslim Students Association
National Black MBA Association
National Organization of Minority Architects, Wash U Student Chapter
National Society of Black Engineers
Orchestrating Diversity
OWN IT:  Wash U:  Women’s Leadership Forum
Pride Alliance
Q.U.E.E.N.S.:  Black Women
Safe Zones:  LGBTQIA+
Sisters of Color:  Women of Color in Sororities
Social Justice Center
Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers
Society of Women Engineers
Sur Taal Laya:  South Asian Music in A Capella Groups
Taiwanese Students Organization
Teaching Racial Understanding Through Harmony
Thai Student Association
V-Day:  Blank Monologues:  Violence Against Women
Vietnamese Students Association
Wash U Garba:  Gujerati Indian Dancing
Women in Architecture and Design
Women in Computer Science
Women’s Empowerment in Business
Women’s Panhellenic Association
WU Bhangra:  Annual Divali Show
WU Chaahat:  Diverse Indian Dance Styles
WU for Undergraduate Socio-Economic Diversity
WU Questbridge Scholars Network:  Low-Income First-Generation Students
WU Women in STEM
WUSTL Open:  LGBTQIA+

The following words do not appear anywhere among the 83 student organizations:  White, Caucasian, Male, Men.

Washington University has no, more likely permits no or frowns upon, exclusively White Male Student Associations.  This is the operative principle and practice of Diversity and Inclusion. An all-White Male organization could potentially exist, perhaps a small fraternity, but that would be by happenstance, not by design.  Any all-White Male organization that actively sought to exclude minorities would be shut down and banned from campus.

Student organizations in other categories—Cultural, Political Action, Pre-Professional, Religious and Spiritual, Social Justice—partly overlap with those under Diversity and Inclusion.  Those that do not also exclude any White Male clubs.

Take U.S. News & World Report’s Top 20 Private National Universities, Top 15 Liberal Arts Colleges, and Top 15 Public Universities.  You will not find an Exclusively Male, and especially White Male student organization among them.  If you do, it has probably been overlooked by or hidden from campus administrators and will sooner or later be shut or forced off campus.

We now have a precise definition of Diversity and Inclusion.  No all-White entity can exist.  Every group with Whites must include non-Whites.  Any group of non-Whites need not include Whites.

Put another way, Whites cannot self-segregate.  Whites must be Inclusive.  In contrast, minorities must have the right to integrate and also self-segregate as they wish.  Minorities can be both Inclusive and Exclusive.  Whites must be inclusive.  Women can be Exclusive of men, but also not all-White.

Every university explains this system of student organization as necessary to overcome historical discrimination, explicit or implicit bias, or other factors that denied People of Color equal access and opportunity.

The same principle and practice apply equally to university staff, faculty, and administration.

Group size limits the applicability of Diversity and Inclusion.  A duo or trio cannot be comprehensively Inclusive.  Rural firefighters may live in communities that lack a Diverse population.  Common sense can indicate when an all-White group poses no harm to the promotion of Diversity and Inclusion.


Given these constraints, what are the most effective social, economic and political means to advance Diversity and Inclusion that minimizes costs and disruption.

Before turning to that policy question, it is worthwhile to delve deeper into the application of racial/ethnic categories used in the Census and the Common Data Set to determine which persons in what groups deserve maximum consideration for advancement.

1 comment :

brunnegd said...

I don't want anything to do with any organization that tells me who I must associate with.