Diversity Goes Deeper Than Skin Workshop Shows
When it comes to diversity, people oftentimes perceive diversity as just the color of one’s skin. It’s the quality of oneself that strangers tend to notice first, then their gender, their race, and so on. But diversity is so much more than that.
Whether someone has pale skin and is White, or has tan skin and is Hispanic, there’s more to people than just the color of their skin. People fail to realize that when it comes to diversity, sexuality is included, as well as self expression, and gender identity.
It’s important to have diversity on a campus and in a workplace. Everyone should feel included and less likely to be ignored or silenced for being different than the majority.
On Tuesday, April 10, WCC held a Diversity Workshop, hosted by the YWCA of White Plains, which is one of the largest providers of supporting low-income housing of women in Westchester.
“Our mission is eliminating racism and empowering women,” said Maria Imperial, CEO of YWCA.
The workshop’s speaker was Ryan Ewers, who began by explaining to everyone that, “Equality and equity are not the same thing,” said Ewers. “Sameness does not mean fairness, a lot of people fail to realize that.”
Ewers then continued on by saying that despite being male, which is socially acceptable, he at times has a feminine side, as opposed to always having a masculine side. It’s less accepted when males show a feminine side, but it is important that people are aware that it is okay to not fit into the social norms.
As the workshop continued on, Ewers had people in the audience turn to someone that they didn’t know and had them ask a series of questions about diversity and what their experiences with it were. Some questions ranged from ‘what do you most like/love about yourself?’ or questions such as ‘can you share an experience where you felt unrepresented in school or in media?’
“I went to a school that was in a neighborhood that was mainly White,” said Skylynn Roman, a WCC student. “I was one of the very few Hispanic people at that school and sometimes with the way that the teachers taught, I felt kind of stupid compared to the other kids that were advancing at a faster rate.”
After everyone thought about their answers and told their stories, Ewers asked the audience how they felt after telling a stranger about themselves. The audience responded that they felt good about sharing their experiences and that they were surprised to have found similar experiences with their partner, which they would not have assumed prior to talking to them.
“I think that it should be a requirement for people to go to this type of workshop,” said Roman. “As an education major, people in general should be open-minded to other people and not judge them automatically. People have other qualities to them that you wouldn’t know unless you get to know them first.”
Getting to know people of different background and social groups is key to helping people better understand that races are more than just stereotypes and that not everyone sees the world in the same way.
“Having an equity lens is a tool that everyone needs,” said Imperial.