Embarking on my Research

Research Question: “Has the definition of ‘diversity’ changed or been misconstrued between the Civil Rights Movement Era and the New Jim Crow Era?  What role does colorblindness play into that evolution?”

At first, I was hesitant to delve deeper into this question because I could not, for the life of me, find any resources for the evolution of the definition of “diversity”.  I thought to myself, “Do other people care about ‘diversity’ the same way I do?”  However, after receiving help in class, I realized I was simply not typing the information in the correct way to search the databases successfully.  After my second round of searching for sources, there was a plethora of resources.  I kept coming back to search the same database because there were to many articles that captured my attention.  My working bibliography now consists of (in APA style):

  1. Rostant, J. j. (2017). Diversity in Education: Initial Explorations of Ethnocentrism, Uncertainty Tolerance, and Phenomenological Perspectives. Antistasis, 7(1), 57-65.
  2. Atasay, E. e. (2014). Neoliberal Multiculturalism Embedded in Social Justice Education: Commodification of Multicultural Education for the 21st Century. Journal For Critical Education Policy Studies (JCEPS), 12(3), 171-204.
  3. Gibson, S. s., Baskerville, D., Berry, A., Black, A., Norris, K., & Symeonidou, S. (2016). ‘Diversity’ ‘Widening Participation’ and ‘Inclusion’ in Higher Education: An International study. Widening Participation & Lifelong Learning, 18(3), 7-33. doi:10.5456/WPLL.18.3.7
  4. Apple, M. W. (1980). Ideology and curriculum. 1979. Educational Theory, 30169-175.
  5. Apple, M. a. (2016). Challenging the epistemological fog: The roles of the scholar/activist in education. European Educational Research Journal, 15(5), 505-515. doi:10.1177/1474904116647732
  6. Meshulam, A., & Apple, M. W. (2014). Interrupting the interruption: neoliberalism and the challenges of an antiracist school. British Journal Of Sociology Of Education, 35(5), 650-669. doi:10.1080/01425692.2014.919847
  7. Apple, M. a. (2006). Understanding and Interrupting Neoliberalism and Neoconservatism in Education. Pedagogies, 1(1), 21-26. doi:10.1207/s15544818ped0101_4
  8. Apple, M. W. (2015). Understanding and interrupting hegemonic projects in education: learning from Stuart Hall. Discourse: Studies In The Cultural Politics Of Education, 36(2), 171-184. doi:10.1080/01596306.2015.1013245
  9. Mockler, N. N. (2013). Reporting the ‘education revolution’: MySchool.edu.au in the print media. Discourse: Studies In The Cultural Politics Of Education, 34(1), 1-16. doi:10.1080/01596306.2012.698860

Hopefully these will give me insight I desire.  I expect my bibliography will continue to expand as I continue doing more “concept archaeologies”.

 

Concept Archaeology: The Proof is [Not] Out There

I have decided to delve into the research for the question:

“Has the definition of ‘diversity’ changed or been misconstrued between the Civil Rights Movement Era and the New Jim Crow Era? What role does colorblindness play into that evolution?”

I am starting with my first source, H. Richard Milner IV’s, “Rethinking Achievement Talks in Urban Education”.  I want to use his framework of addressing certain concepts in the United States’ education system as social constructs.  Using the concept of “gaps” and providing the overlooked gaps, Milner established a framework for which he could elaborate in explaining the opportunity gaps:

  1. Colorblindness
  2. Cultural conflicts
  3. Myth of Meritocracy
  4. Low expectations and deficit mindsets
  5. Context-neutral mindsets and practices

Through my research, I want to find out if any of these have a role in teaching students diversity, or if the change in the meaning of diversity directly affects any of these.  Milner was able to conclude that these related to social constructs through the research of M. W. Apple’s idea of knowledge being a social construct.

This led me to finding M. W. Apple’s, “Understanding and Interrupting Neoliberalism and Neoconservativism in Education” in “Pedagogies: An International Journal“.  Unfortunately, I could not find this work on Google or in my university’s databases in the full extent, but he wrote about his own work on researchgate.net.  “In this article I describe the ideological strategies of neoliberal and neoconservative educational reforms on the educational systems of the North and West. The principal strategies entail the labelling of culturally and economically disenfranchised communities through media and political debate in ways that shift responsibility for their educational marginalisation to both teachers and these communities themselves. The goals of educational systems are then recast in narrowly economic terms that call for market-based reforms. Democratic educational reform is examined as an alternative, with specific examples from Brazil and the United States. so I looked up some of his other works (Apple 2016).”  I found this to be interesting because it could tie into a framework that I have already studied: the Strict Father vs. Nurturing Parent approaches.  I could take this and apply it to the objects of study in the educational realm.

Being that I could not check the bibliography, I googled some more works by Apple, and I found one titled, “Challenging the epistemological fog: The roles of the scholar/activist in education”.  I was also unable to find this in the databases of google or my school, but Apple described the inspiration for the research article to come from “a very difficult time in education. Neoliberal and neoconservative policies have had major effects on schools, on communities, on administrators, on teachers, and on all school staff. A new alliance has integrated education into a wider set of ideological commitments. The objectives in education are the same as those that guide economic and social welfare goals. They include the dramatic expansion of that eloquent fiction, the free market; the drastic reduction of government responsibility for social needs; the reinforcement of intensely competitive structures of mobility both inside and outside the school; the lowering of people’s expectations for economic security; the ‘disciplining’ of culture and the body; and the popularization of what is clearly a form of Social Darwinist thinking. In response to this, I detail nine tasks in which the critical scholar/activist should engage in fulfilling the role of the public intellectual. Such tasks are crucial if we are to collectively deal with the current crisis (Apple 2016).”  I would like to use this to research more about the specific role of the activists in the Civil Rights Movement Era and the New Jim Crow Era because activists are the ones reacting to the pressures and creating a climate for progress. By studying how the activists changed their style of activism, I can see how the interpretations of “diversity” evolved as well.

The bibliography for this was posted for some odd reason even though the article itself was not.  Through this, I found an article written by TM Alexiu and T Sorde titled, “How to turn difficulties into opportunities: Drawing from diversity to promote social cohesion“.   The summary of this article is, “Racism in Europe is an ongoing reality that shapes many people’s everyday lives. Diversity is often perceived as a barrier to social cohesion or educational success. These discourses are very often translated into measures that tend to assimilate or segregate those with a migrant or minority background. In this article, drawing from the results of the INCLUD‐ED project, it is argued that through the implementation of successful actions diversity can be turned into an opportunity to enhance learning and social cohesion.”  I was disappointed to find that this was a study focused on Europe, but it is relevant because it proves that there are different definitions of diversity out there roaming around; I just have to find the ones pertaining to the United States.   This source is the only source that I have encountered so far decoding diversity.  This breathes a little more hope into my soul that I can find other resources for my interests.

Overall, this concept archaeology was not very helpful in terms of reading detail because I could not even access a preview of most of the sources.  It was helpful in getting acquainted with researches in this particular field of research in education development and social constructs relations. Maybe I am not looking in the right places, but I will seek help sooner rather than later.

Research Proposals: Definitions of Diversity

  1. What does “diversity” mean to different organizations and institutions?

Anyone on this blog knows that diversity is one of my fundamental principles.  It is something that is constantly on my mind.  In every situation I find myself, I am always assessing the “diversity levels”.  However, I never really thought that there could be multiple different versions to the definition of diversity.  Growing up in the United States, one becomes accustomed to equating the word “diverse” with “racially diverse”.  However, in other cultures, “diverse” simply means “different”.  I first came across this in my first semester at university.  I asked my Italian professor how to say “diverse” in Italian because the word for “different” was “diverso”.  I questioned this meaning because in Spanish, “diverso” means “diverse” and “diferente” means “different”, and I thought it would be more similar in Italian.  My teacher looked at me for a second and could not think of a direct translation.  She then said to me, “Oh, I guess you would just have to say ‘étnicamente diverso’ [which translates to ‘ethnically diverse’] because in Italian we do not have a word for ‘diverse’.”  For the rest of the class I was zoned out trying to figure out why Italians did not have a specific word for “diverse” in Italian.

 I then realized that maybe it was not the Italians that had it weird…

…maybe in the United States, certain things just happen to be associated with each other due to specific culture of prejudice developed from the specific historic agenda that led to the formation of the country.

A potential framework of research for this specific question could be someone who has worked and done research on social constructs.  Clearly, the term “diversity” has to be a social construct considering it has different associations in different cultures.  A potential object of study could be the Latin American Youth Center because as I mentioned in one of my earlier blogs, I have wondered how they define “diversity”.

I could probably reframe this question into, “In what ways is the term ‘diversity’ a social construct? How do different organizations in the local DC area define this term – in accordance to the social construct or not?”

 

2. How is “diversity” acknowledged and constructed among schools across the United               States?

I am deeply interested in education development, and after reading H. Richard Milner IV’s article, “Rethinking Achievement Talks in Urban Education”, I started to question even more whether diversity could be considered a social construct.  Being that he elaborated on changing the rhetoric of the achievement gap,

this made me think whether the education system in the United States manipulates the definition of “diversity”.

(Obviously, I had a preconceived notion that it does, but a true scholar must always questions himself or herself to evaluate the validity of his or her argument – see “The Doubting Game” in one of my previous blogs.)

I could use Milner’s article for a framework, but better yet, I could rely on his source.  He got the idea of the social construct of the achievement gap from someone else, so I could use that source as a framework.  Looking to Milner’s source as a source could lead me to finding other sources for frameworks.  For a potential object of study, I should probably narrow it down to a more specific area in the national school system.

I could probably reframe this question into, “How is ‘diversity’ acknowledged and constructed among schools in the local DC area? How does colorblindness combined with different teachings of diversity play into the varying constructions of the word ‘diversity’?”

 

3.  Has the passage of time changed the definition of “diversity”?

Being in the Writing for Social Change class, I have been studying the rhetoric of community organizations in reaction to the pressures at the moment.  Sixty or seventy years ago, during the Civil Rights Movement, the word “diversity” probably intensified in association with “racial diversity”.  (I do not know this for sure, but this is the purpose of initiating further research.)  However, realizing that in today’s society, we are faced with the rhetoric of the New Jim Crow and its consequences, maybe “diversity” means something different.  Actually, I do not think it means something different – it is still very much associated with “racial diversity”; I think because of the shift in the way racism is carried out – nowadays being more institutionalized through colorblindness – the way the word “diversity” is taught has changed.

 I believe that some organizations and institutions have misconstrued the way “diversity” is defined in order to not be held accountable to their colorblindness.

Potential frameworks for this could be studies done by key members of the revolutions during the Civil Rights Movement Era and the New Jim Crow Era.  Potential objecta of study could be archives from the Civil Rights Movements, works from the education systems from the Civil Rights Movement Era and the New Jim Crow Era.

I could probably reframe this question into, “Has the definition of ‘diversity’ changed or been misconstrued between the Civil Rights Movement Era and the New Jim Crow Era? What role does colorblindness play into that evolution?”