The role of Southeast Asians in promoting diversity efforts (Opinion)

Undoubtedly, faculty members in American higher education come from black, Indigenous, and Hispanic communities – one only has to look at the annual report of the National Center for Education Statistics for clear evidence. What does it mean to talk about campus diversity and how do we diversify? And where is the representation of international and minority Asian population in DEI description? I would like to include my voice in considering these questions.

Although BIPOC faculty members are often presented as part of diversity at college-wide meetings to show an organization’s generous face and commitment to diversity, their actual and meaningful inclusion is often overlooked. Diversity committee and office work has expanded in recent years. Still, many of these offices remain functional sites for perpetuating hegemonic practices that go deeper than their interrogation. Often, the gatekeepers of diversity on campus restore the status quo of hegemonic politics to include “only our kind of diversity”, providing lip service to talk and do diversity without criticizing the lack of organization. Often, institutional administrators redesign systems and structures that regularly ignore the work of black, transnational, brown, and BIPOC foxes everywhere, highlighting their needs and what they have to say about their real-life experiences at the academy.

As a result, those who often look different become the face of diversity. As Sara Ahmed points out, the comfort cushion of institutionally favorable diversity means a system that has blunted criticism of the organization. Ahmed famously called it DEI’s public relations. Inside Being included, He claims that the discourse of diversity became part of the rhetorical and humble discourse because of its functional nature. He argues that it needs to innovate itself and create a more comprehensive matrix.

Institutional stakeholders testify to the discussion of diversity and often include white and vigilant faculty, who have sworn allegiance to their faculty members, and have used a formulaic, good strategy. This strategy typically focuses on highlighting so-called diversity commitments and mission statements, using language to show the organization’s intentions when it comes to diversity, ignoring the systematic inequalities and prejudices that persist within its structure. Many of these doorman-allies use DEI equipment protection but remain silent about the need for serious racist work to integrate with diversity and inclusion. Diversification only works when people are not comfortable with the organization’s exceptional “commitment to diversity”, but rather pursue it as a strategy that leads to significant policy and cultural change – a change that can create institutional discomfort but make real change possible.

Ironically, those who engage in serious interruptions to DEI’s work are often seen as problematic, racist in nature. Here, the associate Asian and South Asian American faculties in the DEI initiative are few and far between. In line with our white supremacist structures and the systems that support them, many faculty members who identify themselves as upper-caste South Asians see the DEI initiative as part of the problem. They are often seen as members of the hunting community who work on such initiatives who have not made adequate use of the good things that have been handed down to them in the mythological age of the civil rights era.

Many South Asian Americans in positions of power, representation, and privilege do not see DEI as something that needs to be done, given the growing pressure to comply with whiteness (and respectful whites are included). After all, most of us are interested in being part of the solution. As the frequently cited model occupying minority status, we are somewhat compelled to maintain stability rather than be part of the problem. So the sustainability of the functional DEI structure gets full support from this panic. Nevertheless, life in higher education remains uncertain for Asians, who have little or no protection in terms of disability, continental faculty and staff and academic independence.

The inconvenient fact is that, in higher education, the DEI industry complex works when someone advocates a certain kind of diversity and inclusion. As has been observed in various cases, reports of being “overly sensitive” to racial issues can end one’s career with a brief note of “job offer cancellation”. In the meantime, the push for diversity and inclusion is now being linked to recognition values. The diversity and inclusion values ​​associated with the broader journey of students and faculty alike may indicate that institutionally, without an honest and deliberate focus on diversity and inclusion, colleges and universities may fail to apply the innovative and critical thinking embedded across multiple disciplines and higher education. The framework, however, regularly reaffirms the tendency for “institutional betrayal” to preserve and consolidate diversity, while those who speak the truth about institutional diversity and equity, or lack thereof – most recently, Nicholas Cree, a professor at Moravian College, lose their position.

I thought more ways to work strategically And because of the effective inclusion in the machinery of diversity, I am actively reminded of how I have often been left out of conversations about building alliance loyalty and segregated solidarity. As a South Asian, I am part of a group of people who can be called upon by the institutional administrators to act as a symbol of the religious intent to create diversity by promoting the “right” kind. As economic and elite immigrants within transnational and minority structures who are not seen as disruptive or questionable, and who sometimes have leadership expertise, we run the risk of being co-opted as an exemplary model of diversity, in contrast to less privileged minority groups. And networks, rather than stakeholders supporting policy change.

Yet we can avoid that risk. We can be part of a group that resists the flexible stereotypes of model minorities. We can become reactionary and invest morally in advocating for greater cultural change that can reconcile the intersecting and aligned black and brown people.

In order to coordinate and form active efforts to integrate and form these alliances, committees, Caucus and local initiatives, members of the privileged South Asian group of investors must actively participate in collaborative, internationally inclusive organizations that are involved. . Presented communities. I propose a three-tiered coalition structure, which would be:

  • Diversify and expand the presence of this diversity committee on campus.
  • Establish both interdepartmental and interdepartmental equivalents.
  • Create a commitment to meaningful diversity by injecting a process, including the Rubric of Diversity, for annual evaluations along all academic and administrative levels for training, recruitment, tenure, and promotional activities.
  • Establishing and sustaining local and global support structures outside the academy — for example, Caucus on diversity with nonprofits, civil society organizations, public libraries, and nearby social justice groups that may be part of this group.

If we, the privileged South Asian-recognized academics, intellectuals and civil society stakeholders, are behind these changes, we can begin to make a difference. And if we are active in organizing, participating, and sustaining diversity efforts within and outside the organization, we can help make the DEI framework a truly meaningful strategic alliance.

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