So, in the words of our friend from Anchorman,
What in the hell is diversity?
Well, depending on where you look, definitions of "diversity" can vary slightly, but the general idea remains the same: diversity is about the differences between people. In 2018 it is generally understood that diversity in our society is good for us. Differences between people bring dimension, empathy and perspective to a community. It also brings lots of fun things like food and even the sports you enjoy.
You might notice some of these differences the first time you meet someone, but some differences in other people may be "invisible", such as someone's intellectual ability, their religion or their sexuality. No matter what aspect of diversity we're talking about, understanding the benefits of diversity is a great step towards solving problems like prejudice and discrimination.
For the purposes of the work of Diverse Hawkesbury, diversity is nicely summed up in this excerpt from the University of Oregon:
The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect.
It means understanding that each individual is unique,
and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along
the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs,
political beliefs, or other ideologies. It is the exploration
of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment.
It is about understanding each other and moving beyond
simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the
rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.
ASUO Diversity Team (1999), the University of Oregon.
SBS News story on 2011 Census data
What's the difference between prejudice and discrimination?
Often we will hear words like "bias", "prejudice" and "discrimination". We also hear discussions on "privilege" and "entitlement", and sometimes it's hard to understand what's going on when we are watching the news. Have you ever seen a news story about an act of discrimination against an individual or even a group of people because of the group they belong to?
Contary to what you might have heard, "prejudice" is "a preconceived negative judgement of a group and its individual members" (Myers, 2014). We define "discrimination" as "unjustified negative behaviour towards a group or its members" (Myer, 2014).
In other words, "prejudice" is the thoughts, feelings and attitudes someone may have towards a group or individuals of that group, and "discrimination" is when those attitudes come out as words or actions. Have you ever been discriminated against because of someone's prejudice towards you?
The psychology of prejudice and discrimination is complex, but the way we respond it can be simple.
Myers, David G. (2014) Social Psychology, McGraw Hill Education, North Ryde