Thursday, January 29, 2015
MIT's Diversity Summit 2015
Discrimination based on race, gender, sexuality and cultural background is a very real part of the academic culture. At the Annual Diversity Summit, MIT works to make visible both the diversity within the community and structures of discrimination. Under the banner "Hacking the community" panel debates and workshops invite to discussion and constructive problem solution. What are the problems and what can be done to address them?
I am impressed by the genuine effort MIT put into not only paying lip service to diversity issues but actually getting to the root causes and do something about them. This is a situation where MIT's can-do attitude is channeled in the right direction. It is clear that a lot of work remains to be done, but there is a real sense of increased awareness.
The most valuable part of the summit for me was the community workshop where we discussed how to construct a more respectful and aware community. We discussed how to challenge assumptions, how imposter syndrome hits harder at already marginalized members of the community, how different levels of networking- and mentoring organizations can counteract segregation and how discussion surrounding the #BlackLivesMatters movement still displays much ignorance about racial questions in the MIT community. We talked about how to be an active rather than passive bystander.
Keynote talk by institute community and equity officer Ed Bertschinger