Blink Consulting
On Language
On Diversity
On Multiculturalism
On Normative Culture
On Whiteness

While “diversity” may refer to any of an infinite number of differences between individuals or groups, Blink uses it to refer to those differences that on a collective level seem to correlate with differences of social experience, including inequalities of privilege, opportunity and access to resources. This social justice-oriented definition of diversity focuses on the following axes of identity: race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, physical ability, geography/nationality and age. In the context of schools, Blink considers learning styles to be an important tenth axis of identity. Of course, a person is not just her learning style, sexuality or religious affiliation; rather, identity is multi-dimensional. Blink believes that acknowledging this complexity is a social responsibility in communities that value diversity.

Despite the broad scope of diversity, the term is often used in US culture as code for race. Within the independent school community, “diversity” often concretizes around a concern about the numbers of people of color on campus. With this redefinition, the term has tacitly shifted from describing communities as a whole, to labeling individuals within them: people of color understand themselves to be “the diversity” at schools. This expectation-that people of color enrich the community by being different, while white people can simply be-sets up a barrier to authentic inclusion even while schools strive to open their campuses.

Complicating the issue of race as diversity is the fact that a significant percentage of people of color in independent schools are of mixed-white ancestry and/or similar socio-economic status as the majority of the school's community. This raises the question: how much more diverse are schools becoming, even as they increase their numbers of people of color?

Blink asks schools to consider what diversity they seek and why. On the flip side, schools must also consider what diversity-and what consequences of diversity-they cannot support. Fundamental to any commitment to diversity is inclusion; therefore, it is critical that schools consider how the diversity they seek will be lived within their communities. Blink believes that broadening the question of diversity from what to how is central to the cultivation of authentic multiculturalism.
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