The Oxford English Dictionary Online (2009) provides the following definitions of diverse and diversity:
- Different in character or quality; not of the same kind; not alike in nature or qualities.
- Differing from itself under different circumstances at different times, or in different parts; multiform, varied, diversified.
- The condition or quality of being diverse, different, or varied; difference, unlikeness.
- with a and pl. An instance of this condition or quality; a point of unlikeness; a difference, distinction; a different kind, a variety.
- Divers (sic) manners or sorts: a variety. Obs.
“Promoting diversity” means that we support, encourage, and raise our attention – and the attention of others – to issues of diversity. Promoting diversity thus involves discussing and encouraging an understanding that people have distinct qualities, that the expression of those qualities may differ by circumstance, and that the uniqueness of personal qualities is a strength.
We choose to promote diversity within our library for two main reasons. First, we value the distinct qualities individuals possess. Second, certain differences, especially cultural differences, have been historically stigmatized and individuals identified with those differences systematically discriminated against. Due to this discrimination, individual and group differences need to be acknowledged and celebrated for what they contribute to personal interactions and community dialogue. By promoting diversity among library employees and library users we aim to:
- foster a work environment that welcomes all employees’ qualities,
- deliver library services successfully to all library users, taking into consideration their unique interests and needs, and
- support the participation of all employees and library users as engaged citizens in our local and global community.
Simple Things You Can Do:
- Speak out against racist, homophobic, and sexist actions. Confront perpetuators of discriminating behavior, if you don’t, you’re sending the message that this behavior is acceptable.
- Get to know people who are “different” from you. Take advantage of the diversity that exists around you. Make a conscious effort to befriend people who look, speak, act, or worship differently. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
- Learn about issues and concerns of other people. Expose yourself to views of multiculturalism, racism, sexism, or homophobia. By improving your knowledge, you are better equipped to combat discrimination.
- Consider the impact of your words and actions, not just their intent. Discriminatory jokes can be just as offensive as slurs. Don’t perpetrate biases and prejudices in the name of fun.
- Watch what you say. Some terms and phrases are demeaning to others. Everyone deserves to be addressed respectfully.
- Understand and accept the differences among people. By denying the differences that make this society so diverse, you could also be denying aspects of someone’s character that are very special to them.
- Through your normal daily interactions, show younger children that diversity is a good thing, show them that it is okay to be around people who are different. Eventually, they will accept this as their own belief and perpetuate that philosophy.
- Don’t stay silent. If you become the victim of discrimination, say something. Don’t let the incident slide. Tell your friends and family, tell your co-workers or classmates, they may be able to help and support you.
- Be open-minded. Challenge your views and way of thinking; try to understand the point of views of others.
- Don’t underestimate the power of money. Boycott places that are racist, sexist, or homophobic, and encourage other people to do the same. Tell the place you’re boycotting your reasons for doing so; otherwise they may not get the point.
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Oxford English Dictionary Online