“When Diversity Means Everything, Diversity Means Nothing”: Dr. Donnetrice Allison on Diversity & Exclusion

I really want to share this powerful message from Dr. Donnetrice Allison in which she speaks on the need to connect the rhetoric of diversity and inclusion to action and change on college campuses and beyond.

“When diversity means everything, diversity means nothing. Because your goal is not about a genuine desire to appreciate and understand any particular group of people. Your desire is to say you have it. Your desire is the numbers.

You can have diversity and not have inclusion. In fact you can have diversity and actually be practicing exclusion. Just because you invite someone into a room, doesn’t mean that their voice is being heard, or considered or taken seriously.”

Her talk is so rich and relevant and necessary and I hope her words travel far and wide.

Dr. Allison’s tips for how to change directions:

1. Stop playing the (numbers) game. Stop doing what we do for show.

2 Stop being about appearances and more about genuineness.

3. Be active about recruiting, hiring and retaining faculty, staff, and administrators of color.

4. Don’t submit faculty of color to higher standards than you do for others.

5. Find out if they’re experiencing isolation and marginalization and see if there’s any way you can help. Don’t try to convince them that they’re not seeing what they claim to see or experiencing what they say they’re experiencing.

6. Stop denying that race is still a significant factor in higher education.

7. Stop assuming that inclusion is happening by the presence of one person of color in any given meeting.


From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins-Jones, MSW, LLMSW



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I'm a Social Justice Educator and Aspiring Humanitarian who is interested in conflict resolution, improving intergroup relations, and building more equitable and inclusive communities. "Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian" is my blog, where I write about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

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2 Responses

  1. July 1, 2016

    […] When Diversity Means Everything, Diversity Means Nothing: Dr. Donnetrice Allison On Diversity And Ex… […]

  2. June 15, 2017

    […] am reminded of Donnetrice Allison’s talk on how institutions can have diversity, and be practicing exclusion at the same time through their […]

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