Monthly Archives: June 2009

Diversity Means Having Multiple Identities

Two examples of ignoracacy thinking:

When some people “act” threatened almost any time someone they disagree with addresses their own identity or even mentions being “Jewish, African-American, Hispanic, gay, etc.. or talks about how their experience has influenced their perceptions. Ex. Limbaugh calling Sotomayer a racist and a bigot. It’s gotten ridiculous. And calling the organization “La Raza,” an Hispanic KKK, despite the fact that is has corporate support from ‘Liberal and conservative” businesses. They use someone’s background identity as a reason to say they aren’t qualified.

When someone thinks that everyone who shares one of their identities is always right, can’t do “no wrong,” and is incapable of committing heinous crimes. Any attempt to investigate to determine “guilt or innocence,” is labeled being against a whole group. They assume that all people from their particular identity group think like they do, or should and that no one from their group is biased towards any other groups which is a bias in itself. They also only think of themselves in only one dimension.

Neither group takes the time to look at the multiple identities we all have, and acknowledge commonalities and difference as individuals. To me they both sound like they are saying that cultural differences are genetic rather than experiential. Ex. I have a black friend who was born and raised in Guatamala, and is constantly told she should call herself African-American and just doesn’t want to admit who she is.

If we are conscious of how our backgrounds impact our perceptions, it can help us break through some of our biases and understand that there can be more than one way of doing something, or that we may be wrong.