We mentioned that we’d provide information about the individual sessions from the Raleigh Neighborhood Exchange held on September 19, 2009. This post is about “Building Communities with Diversity” presented by Susan Jakes, Ph.D., North Carolina Cooperative Extension.
The session started out with clarifying the objectives: the intent is to better recognize and appreciate diversity in the ways we live in Raleigh. The participants of the session gained an understanding of why diversity is uncomfortable, how it can be positive and powerful, and how to develop a framework for maximizing community amidst diversity.
Jakes started out by defining diversity as distinct and unlike. Then she talked about how it’s our natural instinct to compare and categorize the information that we put into our brain. We have a natural instinct to predict. For example, when we meet someone, we have an instinct to determine if they are friendly, safe, dangerous, kind, etc. She further explained how people are open (willing to take in information and not categorize immediately) or closed (quick to categorize people or take in lots of information and process it).
We then participated in a group exercise to define the differences that we recognize. The list went something like this: (more…)