Diversity

and the Community College Experience

Spectrum of Diversity

1. The word diversity derives from the Latin root diversus, meaning “various”.

2. In the chapter we use diversity to refer primarily to differences among the major groups of people who collectively compromise humankind or humanity.

3. The human species that spread across the planet is dispersed into all groups of people that make up the human spectrum, which is humanity.

4. Diversity has meaning and value

Groups of people differ from one another in numerous ways including:

· Physical features

· Religious beliefs

· Mental and physical abilities

· National origins

· Social backgrounds

· Gender

· Sexual orientation

· Other personal dimensions

What is Race and Culture?

A racial group (race) is a group of people who share some distinctive physical traits, such as skin color or other facial characteristics. The U.S. Census Bureau (2010) identifies four races: White, Black, Asian, and American Indian or Alaska Native.

Culture may be defined as a distinctive pattern of beliefs and values learned by a group of people who share the same social heritage and traditions. Culture is the whole way in which a group of people has learned to live including: Styles of speaking, language, fashion, foods, art, music, values, and beliefs.

Cultural differences can exist within the same society (multicultural society), within a single nation (domestic diversity), or across different nations (international diversity).

What is an Ethnic Group and Humanity?

An ethnic group (ethnicity) is a group of people who share the same culture. Culture refers to what an ethnic group has in common and ethnic group refers to a group of people who share the same culture.

An ethnic group shares a characteristic that has been passed on through socialization which is their common characteristics that has been learned or acquired through social experiences.

European Americans are the majority ethnic group in the United States because they account for more than 50 percent of the American population. Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans are considered to be ethnic minority groups because these groups are less than 50 percent of the American population.


Human variety and human similarity exist side by side and complement each other. Diversity is a value that is shown in mutual respect and appreciation of similarities and differences. Experiencing diversity not only enhances our appreciation of the unique features of different cultures, but also provides individuals with a larger perspective on the universal aspects of the human experience that are common to all humans, no matter what their particular cultural background, such as racial or cultural differences, all people express the same emotion with the same facial expressions.

Major Forms or Types of Diversity

1. Major Forms or Types of Diversity

A. International Diversity

B. Ethnic and Racial Diversity

C. Socioeconomic Diversity

D. Generational Diversity


We can define Diversity as the state of having people who are different races or who have different cultures in a group or organization.

International Diversity & Ethnic/Racial Diversity

When we see the word “International,” we see action or movement between two nations or more. For example, international organizations, international schools, and international students. International is also relating to every association or group that has people from two or more nations. And when we talk about International Diversity, we need to know that we are members of an international world that includes multiple nations. There are some problems that concern the whole world, an international corporation are needed to solve these problems, such as global warming and terrorism. Today, communication and interaction across nations are greater than at any other time in world history because of rapid advance in electronic technology (Dryden & Vos, 199; Smith, 1994). By learning from and about different nations, people you become more than a citizen of your own country; you become a cosmopolitan which means a citizen of the World.


According to dictionary.com, Ethics is defined as pertaining to or characteristic of a people, especially a group (ethnicgroup) sharing a common and distinctive culture, religion, language….

We have America as example which is quickly becoming a more racially and ethnically diverse nation. According to research, in 2008, the minority population in the United States reaches an all-time high of 34 percent of the total population. And the same research shows that by 2050, the percentage of white Americans will drop from 66 percent (2008) to 46 percent (2050) while ethnic and racial minorities will become the majority because they will constitute the majority of American by middle of the 21st century.

Socioeconomic Diversity and Generational Diversity

Diversity is also appears in the form of socioeconomic status or social class, which is typically divided into lower, middle, and upper classes, depending on level of education and income. Groups occupying lower social divisions have significantly fewer social and economic opportunities or privileges. When we study about socioeconomic, we can refer to majority and minority. A research shows in the wealthiest 20 percent of the American population controls approximately 50 percent of the country’s total income, and the 20 percent of American with the lowest income controls only 4 percent of the nation’s income. Although all ethnic and racial groups experience poverty, minority groups experience poverty at significantly higher rates than the white majority.
The US Census Bureau shows in a study in 2007 that poverty rates for different ethnic and racial group were as fallow:

· Whites: 8.2 percent

· Asians: 10.2 percent

· Hispanics: 21.5 percent

· Blacks: 24.5 percent

It’s estimated that 600,000 families and 1.25 million children are now homeless, accounting for roughly 50 percent of the homeless population.


We are now living in world which have several generations. Like in America, we now have six generations in America, but the 4 majors generations are:

The Tradition Generation, a.k.a the silent Generation (born 1922 – 1945). This generation was influenced by events such as the Great Depression and World War I and II. The characteristics associated with this generation include royalty, respect for authority, and conservatism.

The Baby Boomer Generation (born 1946 – 1964). This generation was influenced by events such as the Vietnam War, Watergate, and the human rights movement. Characteristics associated with it include idealism, importance of self-fulfillment, and concern for equal rights.

Generation Y, a.k.a Millennials (born 1981 – 2002). This generation was influenced by the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack the United States, the shooting of students at Columbine High School, and the collapse of the Enron Corporation. Characteristics associated with this generation include a preference for working and paying in groups, being technologically savvy, and a willingness to provide volunteer service in their community. They are also the most ethnically diverse generation, which may explain why they are more open to diversity and see it as a positive experience.

Benefits of Diversity

· Diversity Promotes Self – Awareness

o Diversity allows you to compare your life to those whose lifestyle differs from yours. You see what is distinctive about yourself and if these distinctions are advantageous and disadvantageous. You also see how your own cultural background has influenced your beliefs, values, and lifestyle.

· Stimulation of Social Development

o Seeking friendship with a variety of people builds your amount of friends, and social skills. It also allows you to find similarities between yourself and someone who is apparently different. In a way, it brings us all together.

· Strengthens Learning and Critical Thinking

o When we are around people who are different, it challenges us to try and understand their point of view. Therefore, stretching our minds towards new understanding and insight that we didn’t have before.

· Diversity Promotes Critical Thinking

o Diversity allows you to see things from different perspectives, therefore giving you a number of different thinking styles and ways to solve problems.

· Enhancement of Career Preparation and Success

o Diversity prepares you for the world of work by giving you the skills to work with a number of different people and relate to them.

o Employers seek candidates that have experience with diversity.

Stumbling Blocks and Barriers to Experiencing Diversity

· Stereotypes

  • Stereotyping is viewing individuals of the same type in the same way
  • Stereotypes involve bias which literally means “slant”
  • Bias can be either positive or negative, for example:
  • Positive bias; “ Italians are good cooks”
  • Negative bias; “ Italians are in the Mafia”

· Prejudice

  • When stereotyped groups are judged in a negative way, the result is prejudice
  • Prejudgment or stigmatizing- associating inferior or unfavorable traits with people who belong to the same group
  • May be defined by a negative judgment, attitude, or belief about another person or group of people

· Discrimination

  • Action taken towards others- prejudice put into action
  • Most often associated with negative action resulting in treating people/groups in an unfair way
  • Hate crimes are an example of discrimination because they are motivated by prejudice members of a stigmatized group

Interacting and Collaborating with Members of Diverse Groups

Once someone overcomes their biases and begin to see member of diverse groups, as unique individuals, they are positioned to take the next step. Which is interacting and collaborating and forming friendships with them. Your initial comfort level with interacting with people from diverse groups is likely to depend on how much experience you've had with diversity. However if you've had little or no previous experience, the good news is that you can finally increase your experience.


1. Intentionally create opportunities for interaction and conversation with individuals from diverse groups.

2. Take advantage of the Internet to "chat" with students from diverse groups on your campus or with students in different countries.

3. See out the views and opinions of classmates from diverse backgrounds.

4. Join or form discussion groups with students from diverse backgrounds.

5. Form collaborative learning terms.