Wednesday evening, February 22nd, 2017, I attended an event called “Beyond Inclusion” hosted by Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD) held at Gallaudet University. Ryan Commerson, the lead moderator in the event. I had mixed feelings though. First of all, within the community service, the panelists did an extraordinary time! It was a great learning experience!
I’m disappointed that the panel was not enough diversity as Ryan claimed that it is important to acknowledge during his presentation. All panelists were white. As what I meant by that, the panel did not invite a Deaf person of color on the panel. In the audience, there were at least 11 or 12 people of color. There was not enough diversity. Why can’t the audience see that?
When we talk about diversity, we become highly conscious of how it operates by comparing and appreciating our differences. In my opinion, diversity in higher education enhances economic competitiveness, promotes a healthy society, and strengths the community of higher learning and teaching.
How come Ryan did not expand his educational leadership in reaching and making a conscious effort to build health and diverse learning environments appropriate for CSD’s mission? The strength of our democracy depends on it.
An event misses out a professional experience like these makes me realize the paramount importance of supporting academically capable students with diverse importance whether the person of color should be recognized.
At the same time, I do not like the term, “diversity” as I would rather use “Intersectionality” myself because of Latin root, div- as in divide. Div-ersity. It is a negative connotation. Intersectionality is perhaps the most critical component in making powerful learning tools.
It is a lifelong growth–a special way of knowing how they are moving beyond surface learning (change) to deep learning (growth). Whether people of color on the panel would make a good leader who inspires, applauds, steers, and stands on the side. Yes, sometimes we would need to focus on intersectionality to encourage collegiality, and to create a setting in which each individual can change and everyone can grow.
Would CSD ensure that it would be a community service where higher learning happens for change and higher teaching promotes growth? Why can’t Ryan not see that, too?
Copyright @ 2017 Jason Tozier
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