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9780130491114

Diversity Consciousness Opening Our Minds to People, Cultures, and Opportunities
Diversity Consciousness Opening Our Minds to People, Cultures, and Opportunities
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  • ISBN-13: 9780130491114
  • ISBN: 013049111X
  • Edition: 2
  • Publication Date:
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall PTR

AUTHOR

SUMMARY

Not long ago, I happened to pick up a magazine that featured this advertisement: "Life without technology isn't an option." As we begin the twenty-first century, it is becoming increasingly apparent that life without diversity is not an option either. Our personal worlds are expanding as people and cultures throughout the world become more and more interconnected. Human diversity, in its many shapes, forms, and colors, is an integral part of our everyday life. As a result, each of us desperately needs to develop ourdiversity consciousness:our awareness, understanding, and skills in the area of diversity. Diversity consciousness is important for a number of reasons. It allows us to appreciate and enjoy the infinite variety of people and lifestyles that are part of our expanding social world. More specifically, we will increase our knowledge and stretch our thinking. By learning to interpret events through different cultural lenses, we will be able to think critically and adapt to a large variety of situations. Because of our ability to communicate and team with different kinds of people, we will be more successful at work, school, and in other realms of life. This book is an outgrowth of my personal and professional experiences during the past 35 years. From the beginning, I have wrestled with the subject of diversity intellectually and emotionally. I attended Howard University, a historically black institution, to pursue my studies in the area of race and ethnic relations and earn my doctorate degree. As a white male, this experience radically altered my thinking about diversity. My experiences as a college professor have also been invaluable. For the past 28 years, I have taught students from a rich variety of cultures and backgrounds at Baltimore City Community College (BCCC). More than anything, this experience has taught me the importance of listening carefully to my students and appreciating their diversity. It has also made me look inward, into my own thoughts, feelings, and behavior. In addition to my teaching, I served as the first Director of BCCC's Institute for InterCultural Understanding (IIU). Nationally recognized for its work in diversity education, the IIU nourishes an inclusive, international learning community of students, faculty, staff, and community members. On a more personal level, my work with the IIU makes me more aware of the difficulty and importance of making students as well as educators more conscious of diversity and its central place in a high-quality education. Another extremely important dimension of my own diversity is my family life. I am the father of a son who has a disability called autism. My son, as well as the rest of my family, provides me with daily reminders of the joys and challenges of diversity. Jimmy has enriched our lives and brought our family closer together. Because of Jimmy, my family and I see and experience life differently. My daughter Katie, who is a recent college graduate, was asked to write about someone who has had a profound influence on her life. She wrote about Jimmy. "Growing up with my autistic brother, I have discovered more and more about myself and other people. He has shown me that not everything wonderful seems wonderful at first sight. When you have someone so different that is so close to you, you develop an uncommon compassion for others." The aim of this book is two-dimensional. First, it examines the relationship between a person's success and his or her ability to understand, respect, and value diversity. Success, as defined in this book, means to achieve your goals. A second aim is to explore how people can develop diversity consciousness. Subjects such as teamwork, conflict management, communication, and flexible thinking are discussed in a style that promotes self-reflection and dialogue. A wide variety of real-life student experiences and perspectives appear throughout. Diversity Consciousness[read more]

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