While not intentional, his idea underscored the unconscious tendency to ignore the complex forces of history, colonization, slavery and identity.
Thoughts on Diversity Part 2. Why Diversity is Difficult.
@Shaft
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Wow. This is so insightful — and terrifying. The impulse to use some kind of identifier is good — it is clear problem solving. However, I am sure that the SVP is still surprised that the idea was tone deaf. What is stunning to me, personally (especially since I am a proud member of a mixed-race family), is that the the historical context of identity vis a vis the surname is the detritus of centuries of white power and exclusion. Leslie — thank you for feeling and acting on the political and moral undertones of race even when those of who don’t think that we see race, carry our position of privilege clumsily. It makes me a little sick to stomach that I didn’t immediately see the history of slavery and colonization in his suggestion to use a surname classifier. It shows how foolishly segregated we are — as I said in my post about our mixed-race family, I “never thought about race as something to consider” because I never encountered being on the outside of privilege and advantage. Your simple insight about the political ramifications of name makes me so angry at myself because I couldn’t see it. We live in such a difficult world where race and class are pervasive — but when you sit in the position of advantage, it is so difficult to have true empathy. Thanks for pointing out the subtle nuance of race, even where it wasn’t leveraged in a way of disempowerment. In some ways, being tone deaf about the issues of race and diversity while contemplating ways to improve diversity is more damning and shows the enormity of the problem in a way that overt racism would not.

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