Do we have to deal with this?

July 12, 2010

I was at an interview forum today when a candidate, talking about the trend of increased ethnic diversity in higher education, said: “and we’ll have to deal with that.”   Pardon me?  “Deal” as in “it’s a problem to be solved?”  I wondered how the people of ethnic diversity in the audience felt about this white woman’s words. Here’s what I think we need to deal with:

We in the dominant culture often tend to make problematic that which doesn’t fit our implicitly or explicitly named norm. Often without realizing it, any difference in behavior or actions that doesn’t fit the historical paradigm is seen as a problem.  How often we forget that the historical paradigm was designed by those of us who have historically had the power.  It is simply one way of doing things; not the only way or necessarily the right way.

Yet we are conditioned to think it is the way.  Hmmmm, now that’s a problem to deal with.

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