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Diversity Does Not Equal Pluralism

By Dr. Daniel Georges-Abeyie
January 14, 2002

*Introduction: Play---Paranda and Afro-Latino CDs

-The significance of my name, “Georges-Abeyie”

-Why I pronounce it as I do and not as the Fanti would

-The beautiful rainbow or ethnicity, nationality, race, color, and phenotype

at SJSU and in the Bay Region: 1) mention my walk in Mountainview
Shoreline Park---diversity without pluralism

-That, which is beautiful to some, is vile and potentially deadly to

another:mention the Macdonald’s incident mentioned by a student (Doesn’t
anyone speak English in here!)----Not everyone values diversity much less

-2% to 5% of the world’s population respects and advocates

-San Jose, CA Veterans Day Parade and the Confederate Battle Flag

-Divergent Views on the Significance of September 11th and how lacking in

unity we are as a nation-state: the USA as (a) nation-state(s)

-“Diversity Does Not Equal Pluralism

-Pluralism requires the assumption of comparable worth with interaction

on a primary as well as secondary basis

-Why I am speaking today and my role within Amnesty International USA

-Some observations I voiced to Dr. Dorosz in reference to the lack of
pluralism on campus
-Multicultural Advisory and Assessment Committee (MAAC)
-Program to Abolish the Death Penalty National Steering Committee
-Western Regional Death Penalty Abolition Coordinator
-National Crisis Response Team
-The Stressing of Strategic and Tactical Goals and Their Link to
Perception, Difference, and Self-Interest

-My reality as an official in AIUSA is to address that which is most

divisive among human beings and that which divides us is whatever we
perceive as different: the physical, the moral, the ideological, the religious!

-I am sent by Amnesty International to where people are dying! I am sent

where people are killing and maiming---butchering---each other!

-Examples of Perception, Difference, and Perceived Self-Interest

-looking at ones finger nails
-how does one cross ones legs
-tattoos, body and facial piercing

-“Without looking, describe the person to your right or left,

or immediately behind you!” We remember or notice that
which is distinct, that is, that which is different

-Historic Reasons for Interethnic-Interracial Hostility: Eritrean v.

Ethiopian ( who can one marry; mention the taxi cab incident),
Gullah/Geechee v. Whites, El Salvadoran v. Mexican (mention
apartment incident setting-up the bed),
Mexican National v. Chicano, Vietnamese v. Chinese

-We notice that which is different, that which is usual

-We are judgmental about deviations from what is normative to us!

-speech: language, high-and-low context cultures, emotive v.
mechanical expression, dialect and accent, syntax and
sound of the spoken word---is it glottal (mention Thay
and Koreans)
-music: rap, tres guitar, dialect
-diet: food, soul food and Latino v. continental
-attire: color and brightness, tightness, extent of flesh exposed
-personal hygiene: breath and body odor (We are what we eat!)
-physical/personal space: touching of hands and of bodies
(mention Thay and Alia), space between individuals, interaction
between persons of the same or opposite sexes
appropriate gender role-sets: what is feminine or masculine, what
is effeminate, view on homosexuality,
bisexuality, and transgendered
persons, chauvinism v. machismo
morality: single moms v. illegitimate births: Scandinavians v.
Latinos and African-Americans,
dating patterns, holding hands

-politeness v. rudeness: Highly stratified societies, holding

doors, saying “thank you”

-The reality of Social Distance

-Define Social Distance
-Social Distance Scale
-Social Distance over the generations

-Why the Social Distance?!

-Different personal and group experiences (ethnic, racial, religious,
nationality) impact perception

-Initial contact and increased contact usually heightens perceptions of

-Initial contact and increased contact usually intensifies hostility

-Interaction between the sexes when racial and ethnic difference coexists
usually results in male display behavior and heightened fear by females!

-perception is as real as “objective fact”: mention the furniture store


-the lack of assimilation

-assimilation models: diversity, pluralism, dominance

-We fear that which is different! Don’t forget that initial contact between
diverse groups usually results in increased perception of difference,
increased recognition of competition for scarce resources, and increased

-We do not respect that which is different!

-societies and cultures marked by severe stratification are perceived by

outsiders not only as rigid but as rude in terms of social etiquette: note
the holding of doors

-societies and cultures which stress the group rather than the individual
result in behavior that is viewed as outsiders as rude: mention the
movement of Asians in mass or in group formations/tours in Las Vegas

-We believe in atavism: note TV and movie images of the good guy v. the
bad guy!

-We believe that some people do not truly belong!

-We believe that some people did not contribute to the national
development/national welfare (writing Blacks, Asians, and Latinos out of
US Western History)

-We believe that some people are a threat (mention the elderly Asian
Woman on 4th Street, mention the Incidents at Schindler’s List and Amistad
movies; mention the Pawnee in Dances with Wolves and the Apache; Utu

-We don’t respect or valuation that which is non-utilitarian; mention the

relationships and outcome of relationships in the movie Black Robe

-Social Judgement Is a Reality: Lessons from Social Judgment Theory!

-We recognize dysfunctional role-sets but do not truly understand or

appreciate the significance of Structural-Functionalism

-The fact that ---People do not change simply because one

makes them aware of the brutalizing and offensive aspects of
their behavior is the lesson taught by Cognitive Dissonance
Theory: The Myth of Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King

- by Cognitive Dissonance Theory- notes that one must

“voluntarily” change behavior (opt into desired
behavior) before “permanent” change in cognition
-General Valuations exist and they are frequently
-We engage in the Delusion of Denial: General Valuations, Specific
Valuations, Actualization of the Specific Valuation

-We frequently do not say what we perceive!

-We frequently do not do what we say!

-So, how do we address diversity in the class room?

-We recognize that diversity does not equal pluralism!
-We recognize difference! There are different role-sets just as
chairs and tables have different functions!

-We recognize that difference is neutral, that it is neither good nor

bad until one establishes valuations, preferences, rewards/benefits!
-We attempt to clearly and explicitly identify the self-interest in
-We get persons to opt into desired behavior in order to bring about
change in cognition!
-We establish team projects with internal diversity!
-We establish projects that necessitate the learning of a history or of
a cultural different from ones own!
-We establish projects that compare ones own experience with that
of another but does not rank order those experiences in terms of
-We reward out-referencing!
-Build in benefits for interracial and interethnic group assignments
or teams
-We recognize that there can be unity coexistent with diversity! One
does not have to eradicate difference!
-It is okay to be different! Difference is okay; exploitation is not!
-Recognize the existence of distinct cultural traits associated with
distinct ethnic and nationality groupings, then get the student to
seek the genesis for said traits!

-What group project can you come up with?

-Are their national or ethnic cultures/traits and if so what are

they? How can they be addressed in the classroom?

-What were your initial thoughts when you heard the music that
started this program?