Tonight, I'll be discussing the topic of diversity with my students. All in all, it's a fairly diverse class for an undergraduate section. We have representation from multiple cultures and races and a good split between genders. I'm trying to figure out how to make workplace diversity real to them. How will I put them in the shoes of a store manager who is having a communication conflict with a hearing-impaired customer? How do I communicate the anxiety of somebody who opening up about her sexual orientation? How can I portray the feelings of somebody who perceives that he's being discriminated against based on race? How should I approach the subject of somebody who feels inferior because of a lack of education?
We can talk a good game about tolerance and acceptance. We can discuss how there are two remaining viable candidates left within the Democratic candidates and neither is a white male. We can cover some "really meaningful" case studies. But how can I help them see that true diversity is NOT about adversarial conflict? It's about embracing the similarities as well as the differences. And when differences do exist, they make a wonderful teaching tool.
But when they leave my classroom tonight, will they really get it? Or is it just another "unit" on their way to the first exam?