I am trying a new train track. I am trying to share more honestly my experience as an academic that teaches issues of diversity in the context of a journalism university program. A post on self-reflection is forthcoming, but until then I want to share a glimpse of a “diversity moment,” as I will try to call them. Moments of learning and listening and reflecting on interacting with people that are different than oneself; in the process, I must also learn about myself in the context of inclusion.
I’ve started listening to the new podcast “Same Same Different” from Michigan Radio, and I’m thrilled about it. This indicates to me not only that we are able to have deeper, more meaningful conversations, but that the world is also interested.
So far, the second episode moved me to tears in its honesty. The guests on the episode, Virgie Tovar and Kiese Laymon, share important stories about being blamed for their bodies and skin color, and how they have “flipped the script” growing up, how they pushed back, and reclaimed words and acts typically used against them.
Have I flipped the script? I am having a hard time coming up with examples; I am inspired to flip it, though I am not sure I have been that brave yet. I want to believe I felt empowered and quick enough, but I’m not recalling examples right now. I can list a few times when I didn’t, and yet had the opportunity to (like the time a student complimented my skirt; I should have turned it around and compliment him on his outfit… maybe?)
I highly recommend this podcast. I am excited to live in an age where we engage with what it means to be different and what it feels like to be excluded. To me, inclusion is more than not excluding; this podcast is a beginning. And this blog post is a beginning of that conversation.