What is “diversity”?

So. What do we mean by “diversity”? Do we mean some people are diverse, and some are not? That we only want to talk with people we consider “diverse”?

No. In fact, no single person can themselves be diverse. To clarify. we follow the definition of Dr. Kenneth Gibbs, Jr., in his article for Scientific America: (bold added here, links are from the original article)

 

Diversity refers to difference. As such, diversity is a property of groups, not individuals.  Although I am a black man in a field where less than 2 percent of research grants are awarded to blacks, I am not diverse. An individual cannot be diverse, but groups of individuals (e.g., the scientific research workforce) can possess diversity.

There are many dimensions of difference (hence, some of the confusion about what diversity means). I will focus on differences across social identity. These include, but are not limited to, race/ethnicity, gender, disability status, nationality, religious affiliation, sexual orientation and socioeconomic background. Every person possesses multiple, intersecting social identities. For some dimensions of social difference (e.g., nationality), the scientific enterprise has a considerable degree of diversity. In other ways, the scientific enterprise lacks diversity—especially as it relates the participation of women, certain minority groups, and people with disabilities.

Diversity in science refers to cultivating talent, and promoting the full inclusion of excellence across the social spectrum. This includes people from backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented and those from backgrounds that are traditionally well represented.

 

We want the Diversity Journal Club to live up to its name and be diverse. Therefore, we want to hear from everyone. We want to hear your thoughts and comments, your questions. Even if you feel like you know nothing about diversity – you might surprise yourself.

 

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