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Rethinking the link between diversity and oppression

They will never be equality, because all humans are different; this is an idea that is generally accepted in today’s society.


Mabel Encinas


However, the consequences of this diversity, are seen in different values and through a variety of actions. In other words, there are differences of perception (and action) in relation to diversity.

This enters into issues of diversity in ethnicity, gender, social class, religion, age, physical abilities, sexual orientation, and other aspects that make up our identities.

The combination of these aspects generates even more differences, as feminism has pointed the concept of “intersectionality”, highlighting the variety in the experiences of oppression of women that comes into play when discussing e thnicity, social class and sexual orientation.

For some, they have accepted the idea of difference, they are simply talking about diversity and the oppression associated with it, as a fact of life.

Just as often it rains in London, or Rio de Janeiro is sunny, in the human world we are “different”, and if there is oppression, then that is the way it is.

This is something that we have to accept without further emotion or thought. Interestingly, in contrast, it is very common to complain about the weather.

An alternate look at diversity is an historical look. On one hand, the story is a development of the past.

The divisions and relationships of domination are built over long combinations of past events.

Such events also have been interpreted and reinterpreted, and through this certain roles, physical characteristics, attitudes, and social attributes have gained greater value, while others have not. Oppression has taken root in the value of certain groups over the devaluation of others. On the other hand, the story is also a projection of the future.

Our actions are projected to both purposes of the activities in which we participate (e.g. offer a shuttle service, teaching mathematics, or selling food), and the specific actions that we perform (filing reports, helping a child small to dress, or making a warehouse inventory).

Not only at work, but all of our actions affect our future participation in the social world.

By rethinking the link between diversity and oppression, looking into the future and asking where we want to go can suggest the way forward in the multicultural society in which we live.

Therefore, we should not “accept” or “tolerate” diversity, but actively participate, and learn throughout the process.

In practice, this means, to begin by talking with your neighbours, including new people in your neighbourhood, and listening. It also means participating by creating common experiences. Maybe in this way we might lose our preconceived ideas about ethnicities, physical abilities, or religions. The term “community” no longer refers to social units built in the past, but to the social units that are being built today.

Maybe in the future we can create shared experiences and build new roads. So perhaps we can stop children learn about diversity only through bullying in schools. (Memorias de The Prisma. January, 2014)

(Translated by Grace Essex – Email: – Photos: Pixabay

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