Saturday, October 05, 2013

Treat People Different To Give Them Equality. Wait… Huh?

From an old Facebook note I wrote a couple of years ago:

I attended an education symposium yesterday, where I heard these statements from a panel of educators promoting “equality” for students of color:

“If you want high grades for people of color, you have to reward faculty based on that model.”

"Students need educators that look like they look."

"Treat different people and situations differently - that's the only way we can achieve equality."

I was just a tag-along at this symposium, probably the least-educated and lowest-ranking person in the entire room, so I didn’t offer up a comment to the panel, but if I would have, it would have sounded something like this:

“I’m a newcomer to academia, having built my career in the workforce, in military, government, and private sector workplace training and development. We had pretty much moved past the point of stressing about people’s skin color and race (there is only ONE race: human), but instead promoted the general idea that we all are to strive to further the organizational mission by training and supporting people in their various roles. A red man hires a brown woman to supervise a yellow man to help a black woman train a white man for his new job, with everybody recognizing each other as just people - that’s what gets the job done. “Red, Brown, Yellow, Black and White, they are precious in His sight.” And they are all precious in OUR sight, too.

Accommodating and enabling relationships built on skin color (or, as you call it, “race”) does our students a disservice, and does not prepare them well for life out there in the real world, the workplace that has largely moved past a perpetual focus on differences, and toward a focus on what we have in common to contribute to the mission. You may want to continue embracing  your old-fashioned race-based quotas and efforts to divide along lines of skin color, but the real world movers are PEOPLE who practice mutual respect and dignity across all lines of differences.”

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