The Diversity of Three American White Guys: Pathways towards Racial Identity

By Joe R. Busby, Tim Hatcher and Jason W. Osborne.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Diversity is more than what we can see; it includes characteristics that are not readily observable, yet serve to enhance human endeavors. At times, being different can be considered less than positive. Subtle racist language and behaviors replace overt language and behaviors as part of a natural evolution within a group or culture as it becomes socially unacceptable to overtly express prejudice against a group while at the same time members of the majority group continue to hold prejudicial beliefs (e.g., Gaertner & Dovidio, 1986).
The case for diversity in human social organizations is clear as exemplified by the World Conference against Racism 2001 (United Nations, 2001). In the US, efforts to reverse centuries of discrimination may cause diversity to become over-simplified and seen as a singular issue based solely on race/ethnicity. Because of this focus on righting past and current discrimination, it may be the case that today discussions around diversity are less diverse than they ought to be, possibly reducing its value. A singular focus on race/ethnicity can undermine efforts related to, and benefits of a broader view of diversity.
The three White/Caucasian American male authors of this paper appear not at all diverse. But, as we explored our upbringing, work and life experiences, beliefs and orientations it became clear that diversity can be obscured, opaque, and subtle; we do ourselves, our organizations and our communities a disservice by categorizing and stereotyping people based primarily on obvious, visible differences. People come to value diversity through many paths, but one common element seems to be personal interaction with those who are different at a time when openness to diversity and empathy with others is possible. We further encourage others to explore diversity within and across groups, finding value in the broad diversity of humanity.

Keywords: Racial Cultural Identity Development, Diversity

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp.185-196. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 975.135KB).

Dr. Joe R. Busby

Assistant Teaching Professor, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

Joe R. Busby, Ed.D., is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA.

Dr. Tim Hatcher

Professor, College of Education, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

Tim Hatcher, Ed.D., is a Professor and Program Coordinator of Training & Development and Adult Education in the Department of Leadership, Policy and Adult and Higher Education at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA.

Dr. Jason W. Osborne

Associate Professor, Curriculum, Instruction and Counselor Education, Old Dominion University, Raleigh, Virginia, USA

Jason W. Osborne, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Educational Foundations and Leadership Department at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, USA.

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