Although the MCC was just in my backyard, I had never been to an event due to fear of having conversations that would leave me feeling unresolved, guilty of my own identity, or even upset about disagreements between others. However, my expectations couldn’t have been more incorrect. Immediately, I was greeted by a diverse pool of leaders that I was already familiar with, and we had a very open discuss in a conducive and comfortable environment. This level of comfort allowed us to openly discuss the “big 8” social identities (age, ability, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and religion), the difference between minoritized groups and dominant groups, the fluidity of privilege, and much more. We the learned the importance of being aware of the ways that identity and privilege impact our lives and interactions with others.
After the event, we were given two questions to reflect on: 1) what is one way that you will use this information moving forward, and, 2) What concept(s) will you commit to learning more about? Moving forward, I plan to open more conversations regarding diversity in my community as well as identity, and I plan to learn more about how identity impacts our every decision as well as how privilege affects ones choices. I will hold those leaders around me to be just as accountable to their own goals and to further their understanding of the communities around them.
Obviously, this event intersects with the core values of Ohio State, International Affairs, and Honors & Scholars in the most important way. With about 20 other potentially amazing leaders in our Columbus community, we discussed issues that our predecessors either failed to discuss or only discussed closed minded. As the leaders of the next generation, we were able to discuss both our own diverse identities as well as how it impacts everything we do.
This event impacted me professionally as well as personally by opening the doors to conversations I had been too scared to have with others previously due to the stigma surrounding the issues we discussed. Furthermore, Ashley was able to provide me with information on how to get more involved with MCC as well as how I could benefit from this participation in the long-run. I have decided it is in my best interest to pursue and study diversity through the DICE Certificate Program this upcoming semester. The DICE Certificate Program will allow me to explore diversity, intercultural engagement, and socially-just leadership both inside and outside of the workplace. As a professional in my industry, these interpersonal skills are priceless, but mandatory. Personally, my participation in this program will only change me for the better as well as open my mind to endless possibilities.
So, who am I? I am an American, straight, white, middle-class, Christian, privileged twenty-year old female, with many other identities that are not shown on the surface. When it comes to a scale of privilege, it is not black and white. I fall on both ends of the spectrum, as do most people. When it comes to identity, it is much more than meets the eye.