Diversity = the word with no definition
Diversity, a word that’s constantly argued about, redefined, and problematic for people to understand and accept world wide, carries no definition. At least, according to Diversity Committee Chair Martin Uraga.
Uraga says the issue comes down to people’s perceptions. Our background and experiences heavily influence what diversity means to each of us. Brothers from the same family may have different views on diversity, so bringing in race, class, gender, privilege, and other variables are going to mix up the broad word even more.
Diversity is therefore pointless to define because it comes down to who you ask. Nobody is to ever tell anybody what they believe diversity means. That is in itself not diverse.
For diversity committee, as student representatives, we have the right to represent all viewpoints that are valid/hold meaning in a way that helps the university become more diverse in itself. Just because one perspective might be focused on, such as African-American civil rights, doesn’t lessen another organizations causes and rights, such as the LGBT movement.
Uraga’s overall gaol for the committee is to bring awareness to the topic.
Uraga wants to use a grassroots understanding approach, meaning that in order to achieve anything people need to push for a culture that encourages, respects and tolerates others.
And why is this so important as we approach 2011? Because in any job or life experience, you will all have to deal with people who come from diverse backgrounds, therefore we have to move towards a cuture that inspires people at UW-Madison to think about the issue. We need people to begin to take the viewpoint that we need to be empathetic, and put ourselves in shoes of other people and respect/tolerate that they can have different viewpoints than our own and that does not mean that they’re wrong. It takes decades, but we have to start now.