Friday, 1 June 2012

Some are more equal

Yesterday I took a compulsory online course on Equality and Diversity. I don't know why I had to take it – apparently as a step in my Professional Development. Frankly, I had felt I was sufficiently Equal and Diverse, but a subjective feeling doesn't get you a course certificate. The intro said it would take an hour, but apparently I am a slow learner, it took me an hour and a half. There was a test afterwards, and I had to score 80% to pass. I did quite well with the exercises, but I always get stressed about any kind of tests, exams and quizzes, so I only got 85. I missed some intricate legal nuances between discrimination, harassment and victimisation.

It was quite interesting and useful, especially learning about all the legal particulars. Not that I expect to be involved in any, but who knows.

Where I grew up, a professor could say to a student: Don't bother to apply for PhD, you are Jewish. Where I grew up, a professor could say to a student: If you want to pass the exam you'll have to sleep with me. Where I grew up, homosexuality was a crime. Where I grew up, women were expected to work and take care of the family. Where I grew up, there were no wheelchairs, and you wouldn't see a disabled person in a public place. Where I grew up, people were discriminated, harassed and victimised by each other and by the authorities. Where I grew up, some people were more equal than other people.

In Sweden, I was a member of equality committee at my work place. I spent hours and hours trying to persuade the other committee members that equality was not only about gender. They thought that I was making too much of being Diverse. I pointed out that there were other Diverse people in the department, staff as well as students. I was useful by being Diverse when diversity was the slogan of the day, but being Diverse didn't make you Equal. In fact, the more Diverse, the less Equal. Perhaps we should all have taken courses in Equality and Diversity. It's easy to be Equal, but very difficult to be Diverse. If you are Equal, you don't think much about those who are Diverse.

Perhaps I should go back and revise until I get it 100% right.

1 comment:

Birger Gröndahl said...

Very well argumented and very interesting. In the 8oth or maybe the 90th there came a very interesting dissertion from Åbo University and Claes Jansson . If my memory still functions the title was "Outsiders and censurfriends" and he caracterized very much the psychology of the Equals and the Diversionists