Harvard professor Susanne Craig says labels such as “liberal” and “progressive” are damaging to our society and can help perpetuate a false idea that people are not diverse.
In a new column for the Harvard Crimson, Craig says it is time to acknowledge the “bigger picture” and focus on the diverse voices that are making up our communities.
Craig said she and her colleagues have a “sense of urgency to challenge the labels and to say, ‘No, I’m not going to pretend that this is all just about race, gender, sexuality, religion.
“We are. “
The labels have the effect of creating a false notion that we are not as diverse as we think we are,” she wrote.
We are not.”
Craig, who is the co-author of a new book on the subject, is one of several academics to join an open letter calling for greater diversity in academic departments and in research, which was published on Thursday by the American Association of University Professors.
She called on professors to be more inclusive of the views of people of color, immigrant, LGBTQ, women and others.
“I’ve learned a great deal in my time, as an academic, from being surrounded by people of different races, genders, and sexualities,” she said.
“My message to people who think that diversity in the academy is all about race and gender, religion and sexual orientation is: It is not.
Diversity is about inclusion.”
The letter was signed by more than 300 scholars from across the country.
In an interview with CBC News on Thursday, Craig said her call for greater inclusion comes as her colleagues are calling for a diversity agenda that includes diversity in research and hiring.
“Our task is to make sure that people of colour, women, LGBTQ people, people of disabilities, people with disabilities — we want to ensure that we don’t perpetuate this false idea, which is that we’re all different,” she told CBC News.
“When we talk about diversity in academia, we talk primarily about people of diverse races, ethnicities, genders and sexual orientations.
We don’t talk about people who are not of a particular race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.”
The call for diversity is not just about gender, Craig added.
“It’s about what we think about diversity as a whole and as individuals.”
Craig also noted that there are many different ways of thinking about the world and said that “the more diverse the community, the better.”
“In the world of research, when you have a diverse group of people, it is more likely to succeed, and there is more to be learned from that diversity,” she added.
In her article, Craig also called for greater academic freedom, citing research from Harvard University showing that the more academic freedom researchers have, the more likely they are to find their way back to the top of the class, which in turn, results in better research and a better future.
Craig’s letter is the latest in a series by scholars calling for more diversity in academics and research.
In February, Harvard professor Daniel Dennett, who recently announced his retirement, said that more diversity is essential.
In March, the American Society of Social Workers published a study that found that when more people from diverse backgrounds come into the profession, that the number of women in the profession is halved.
In September, the International Association of Social Science Teachers published a survey that found more than half of professors of color say they are either less likely to hire or leave a professor for a position that does not include them.
And last week, Harvard University professor Daniel Pipes said that there is a need for more female professors and for a more diverse research community.
“There is a serious problem in academia,” he said.
But, as for Craig’s call for more diverse faculty, she said she doesn’t think the push for diversity has been a “total waste of time.”
“I think we should be trying to make a positive difference,” she noted.
“But, there is so much to do in academia.
I think it’s not enough to say that this institution needs to be the best because we are diverse.
That is not going a good place.”
For more on the race issue, read the latest on CBC’s Spotlight: Canada.