On Wednesday, April 3, a â€œDiversity Enlightenment Sessionâ€ held in the Cardinal Lounge was presented by the Director of the Center for Diversity, Pluralism and Inclusion (CDPI), J.W. Wiley. As Wiley said, the Centerâ€™s goal is to inform people that diversity is all around them, and that diversity affects everyone. In order to do this, Wiley went over some ten exercises. These exercises included titles such as â€œthought exercise, diversity and you, diversity experiences, toleration scale, and privilege.â€ Even though the objective of the workshop was to raise awareness of diversity, and to increase the attendeeâ€™s comfort with differences around them, comfort was anything but present. Wiley proceeded to lecture on the subject rather than present the interactive workshop he intended.
CDPIâ€™s mission is to get people to â€œAcknowledge your level of sophistication about diversity, and realize that you will never be as sophisticated about diversity as you would tike to be!â€ Along with â€œAt minimum, seek exposure; at a maximum, attempt to immerse yourself in environments that are outside the comfort zone in which you have been socialized.â€ And finally to, â€œConstantly remind you that diversity involves you.â€.
Comfort was a large focus by Wiley during the presentation. Most college students are aware of the number different races and cultural backgrounds here at Plattsburgh State University. The problem with the workshop was that it felt like a lecture. Even though Mr. Wiley came off as a charismatic and enthusiastic speaker, he almost made his audience feel as they were being drilled. The possible reason for this feeling was the constant use of the word â€œyou.â€ For example, he would say things like â€œYou need to realize your surroundings, which is something I donâ€™t think you do.â€ This thereby suggests that he was trying to tell us what we did and did not know.