This week I went to a presentation on Diversity and Inclusion. The name of the event was “Who Am I” “Who Are You” “Who Are We.” The biggest topic of the discussion was what we identified with. It was an interesting topic, because obviously I naturally identify with certain groups, but I never really thought about it all at once. We were prompted to share what identities we had with other smaller groups and then eventually as a big group. It was difficult to think about my own identity, but it was a lot easier when I related to something that someone else said. Some of the easier identities to think about were race, gender, sexual orientation, etc but it was difficult to think about access to education. I think the main reason for this, is that most people around me have that same access, but not everyone does have the opportunity to get an education at all let alone a good one. Another topic that we dove into was privilege, but the presenter really stressed that it wasn’t about making us feel bad for having privilege, but rather acknowledging opportunities we have that other people may not have, because of factors that they can’t control. We talked about dominant groups and minoritized groups. The presenter explained to us that the multicultural center prefers to use minoritized over minority, because minority implies that they are apart of a group and that it is somewhat their fault, when really it is an action done by society. Another reason they do this is because there are some groups that are minoritized when really they are the majority. For example, women are often minoritized when really they make up more than half of the population. This is something that I probably would have never thought of if I didn’t go to the meeting, primarily because I tend to identify with the dominant groups. It was really enriching to think about the privileges that I have, while associating it with the idea that some people don’t have them. It definitely will help me understand where people are coming for on a daily basis. Another privilege that I didn’t think about is fertility. However, it does kind of make sense that this is a privilege. Although, I think its more of a survival based privilege than a societal privilege.
I expected to feel a little awkward talking about some of these topics, but I think that the environment was encouraging and positive. There was a lot of participation by people from different backgrounds who talked about their paths to OSU and just overall prejudice or discrimination that they may feel or see in society. We talked for a little bit about the difference between prejudice, discrimination, and oppression. All three of these topics are really similar and I never completely thought of their differences until the meeting. I learned that discrimination was prejudice with action and that oppression was discrimination with power. This means that discrimination is when someone does something to another person purely because of one of their identities. Oppression is when their is institutional power that supports the discrimination. Overall I think the experience was extremely enriching for me.