Today, I attended the STEM diversity event at the Journalism building. I was not particularly excited to attend this event; I do not feel the most comfortable talking about the ideas of identity politics because I would consider myself to be a priveleged person. In any case, I went to the event so that I could complete the event attendance requirement and also so that I could write this post.
Prior to going to this presentation, I had talked about identity groups in the past. We have all talked about our own identities in one scholars survey class already. But besides that, I had attended a summer program in the past about global studies in which I, along with 60 other students, discussed about how the actions of one group affect the lives of other groups on the macro scale (e.g. how fast fashion culture in the U.S. affects how factory workers in Bangladesh live). So I went into the presentation with a few ideas in my head.
We talked about how there are dominant and minoritized groups, and how these identity groups affect how people would act. It was an interesting presentation and it made me think deeply about how power can influence certain societal groups. I genuinely felt like I learned something from the presentation. I will say, though, that very few people contributed to the conversation. Understandibly, the topic itself was one that can be hard or feel a little awkward to talk about. I myself found it a bit hard to talk about things because I did not want to say something offensive or something dumb which would embarass myself. This led to a lot of awkward, long silences when the presenter asked for audience participation. In fact, nobody volunteered to speak what was written on the slides of the presentation as well. For those, one of my friend and I essentially take up the role of reading the text, which wasn’t very hard to do; I just felt weird that nobody wanted to read out loud.
I understand that I am a priveleged person. I come from an upper-middle class and I am a heterosexual male. On the contrary, my identity as a Japanese-American would make me a minority; however, I would not consider myself as minoritized. I feel comfortable with the Japanese friends I have here at Ohio State and it is nice to have a sense of belonging for one of my identities that is not very represented at this school. For my everyday life, there is not much that I have to think about regarding my identities and that idea is the definition of privelege.
In the STEM field, I feel like that there is little representation for minoritized groups. Even in our scholars group, there is little diversity of races. In my opinion, diversity of ideas is more important than diversity of people; I will concede that having different identity groups will tend to have different experiences growing up and therefore more diverse ideas. I never think that having too much diversity is a bad thing, since discussing our differences in ideas is what makes us move forward socially.