Equality, Equity, and Equal
This July’s session hit on a topic which happens to be receiving a lot of attention from all media channels: racial injustice.
Our Director Christy Chiarelli started the session off by welcoming us and giving us a quick rundown on the layout for the session. We broke into small groups to check-in with other classmates to see how they are doing and if anyone had any personal growth from their experience with our new norm. A common theme was spending time with family that would not happen if we were not on this schedule. Before our speaker Dr. Suarez took the stage, Christy briefly spoke to the class about leaders constantly learning. One statement she said that stood out was, “learners aren’t always leaders but leaders are always learners”.
Learners aren’t always leaders but leaders are always learners.
Dr. Suarez spoke about racism and how this is a topic that can make people extremely uncomfortable when having to speak about it.
She asked for us to watch a TED Talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “The Danger of a Single Story”, before the start of the session. In this TED Talk, she does a great job of explaining how we as a society can have one perspective of a group that we gather from stories we are told by others. We go on believing these stories until we actually listen to another side of them or experience it for ourselves.
We learned about social identities and the Identity Wheel:
- Gives us a basic sense of who one is
- One’s beliefs and values
- Conscious and unconscious
- Socio-Economic Status
- Particular Activities
- Sports, education, farming, etc.
We all know what the golden rule is, but some were caught off guard when Dr. Suarez mentioned the platinum rule (me being one of them):
- The platinum rule is: Do unto others as they would like to have you do unto them.
- This rule makes you take a step back and think
We also learned about equality and how it does not mean equal:
- Equal means to get the exact same
- This is assuming everyone starts from the same place and needs the same help. Which is not always true
- Equity is giving everyone what they need to be successful
Dr. Suarez also spoke about microaggressions which are subtle, verbal, and nonverbal slights/insults often automatically and unconsciously directed towards a particular person because of their group identity. A couple of common microaggressions are:
- “No, really, where are you from?”
- “You don’t even sound like you’re from another country.”
She gave a list of 10 things to remember when things get tough:
- Intent vs. Impact
- Do not start naming all the people of color we know
- Sit in our uncomfortably
- Acknowledge when you made a mistake
- Be vulnerable
- It is ok to admit that we do not know something
- Do the work
The most important one is to LISTEN, which is why it is listed three times.
Dr. Suarez mentioned in her presentation, “saying nothing is still say something, and that not saying something could be more harmful.”
Don’t let others think you agree with what is being said because you aren’t say anything that combats that assumption.