The Diversity Conundrum

It happens every so often: the question of where disability fits into the diversity conversation.

This week, it was an e-mail from my alma mater, asking about our experiences of diversity during college. I opened the e-mail, saw the usual questions about race and ethnicity, began to type my response… and then closed my browser window before hitting the “send” button.

Why? I’m not sure. I’m not sure if there is a good place for the disability as diversity argument, or more likely, I’m not sure if I care enough to keep fighting for its inclusion.

It’s a disarming statement, I think, for me as a white woman from a (comparatively) privileged background, to stand up and say, yes I am a minority, yes I am discriminated against due to that status. It throws people off. It’s hard to contextualize or make sense of, unless you have been in this position.

I tried to do it for awhile, I was on all kinds of diversity committees, ostensibly as the “disability representative”… did it have any impact? I hope so, but I’m not sure.

I guess I’m just weary of it all, the attempts to get people to recognize experiences that they have not experience as validly diverse, similar to although theirs.

That’s mostly the point of diversity education, actually, but it is easier said than done.

So for now that survey goes unanswered, unless I think of some brilliant way to formulate my thoughts on the conundrum of contextualizing disability within the diversity conversation.


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