Kenny Irby is asking us to get out of our “comfort zone” to talk about diversity.
“No progress without struggle, “ he reminded us.
He said that in the academy, we need to be willing to have difficult conversations about diversity.
When we use a case study or example to promote discussion of diversity, here are questions we can use to have student discussion groups focus on:
* What did you learn?
* Any surprises?
* What needs do you have?
Irby’s new role for Poynter is director for community relations. He has led conversations about diversity in 12 countries and across country.
In taking on the discussion of diversity – whether in the media newsroom, corporate business or the classroom – start the discussion by asking the members of the group if they are interested in:
* Be honest
* Seek understanding
* Challenge with passion
* Be willing to change
* Stay in the conversation
Irby shared the “Conditions of Difference,” a wheel that includes differences, such as age, education, religion, race, class. [You can get a PDF handout of this at Stephen Grote’s website — http://stephengrote.com/teaching/courses/files/index.php?c=P206. Click on Conditions of Difference handout.]
After talking in small groups, we discussed how to use the Conditions of Difference wheel to assess our own world view, the way a newsroom looks, the way the audience looks, etc.