A Dialogue on Diversity begins
As part of a week-long series, reporter Sonya Goins takes a closer look at racial and ethnic diversity and how diversity matters in self-preservation, education, and local government.
The subject of race or ethnicity can sometimes be a difficult conversation to have. But it’s one we should talk about. Reporter Sonya Goins spent over a month asking people in the northwest metro what diversity means to them. The replies were as different as the people responding to the question.
What does “Diversity” mean to you?
- “I think it just means a lot of different people from different walks of life,” said Cayla Brandt, Brooklyn Park.
- “It’s not about skin, it’s about the mind. If the mind is not diverse, we can’t be diverse,” replied Reginald Grant, Minneapolis.
- “Eye color, hair length, whatever it is— is really less important than diversity of ideas and experiences,” said Jordan Rowan, Robbinsdale.
- “People of color mostly, that kind of thing. My neighbor is black,” said James Monteth, Plymouth.
What the experts say “Diversity” means
Duchess Harris is an American Studies Professor at Macalester College in St. Paul. She’s also written many books on race and culture.
“The mythical norm is you know, the straight, protestant, white guy, this is what we think American is, and the minute we think outside of that, then that’s diversity,” explained Harris.
We live in a “Diverse” area
The northwest metro is a mosaic tapestry of cultures. In Plymouth, there’s a large Indian and Russian population. In Brooklyn Park, Liberian, Nigerian and Hmong demographics continue to grow.
The Mayor of Brooklyn Park, Jeff Lunde, says the city has several initiatives aimed at diversity and inclusion. He also says it is exciting to see many different people calling Brooklyn Park home.
“Our diversity is diverse,” explained Lunde.”People seem to think diversity is this or that, but if you get beyond the skin color, and you go into where people are from, you find out that people, Central Africans are different than people from West Africans.”.
Over the next several days, we’ll show you how diversity–race and ethnicity, play a role in self-reservation, relationships and education. Local governments will also tell us what they are doing to foster an environment where diversity and inclusion are the norm.