“Diversity Dictionary” Developed to Guide Campus Discussion on Race, Gender, Class and Sexuality

Following recent discussions on topics such as race, gender, class and sexual orientation on campus, the Community & Multicultural Development (CAMD) section of next year’s Blue Book will feature a list of words regarding privilege and diversity.

The “Diversity Dictionary” will aim to give students a vocabulary basis from which they can discuss diversity in all its forms. CAMD staff, members of the Equity, Access and Inclusion Committee and students from Out of the Blue (OOTB) are currently collaborating to create this list which will include a variety of words from many subjects, including “heterosexualism,” “gender” and “microaggression.”

“Part of the reason, I think, that we don’t engage across cultural differences, across class differences we can go on, is that we’re not confident in our language,” said Linda Carter Griffith, Dean of CAMD. “The thought was that it would be helpful, in the section of the Blue Book that talks about CAMD, to have a brief glossary of terms that we’d like every new student to have some understanding of or awareness of so that they could engage in dialogue about multiculturalism and diversity.”

“In order to continue with the discussion on campus regarding social change, both within and outside the “Andover Bubble” that accommodates people of varying identities, we need to introduce incoming students to the proper and respectful terms for that discussion,” said Alejandra Uria ’15, a member of the OOTB committee.

In addition to introducing students to these terms, the creators of the dictionary hope to confront the problem of students feeling afraid or uncomfortable about participating in discussion because they do not have access to the language surrounding the topic.

“[To] my students earlier on in the year, I asked, ‘Does everyone know the difference between sex and gender?’ Everyone did not know that, and why do we assume that everyone would know that? Because they’re Andover kids, and they’re smart? It’s an assumption. You get into more trouble when you make assumptions,” said Griffith.

“We’ll start with microaggression, for example. Did you know what microaggression was before this year? That’s a word we expect everybody to know,” she added.

“We’ve really worked to crunch this list, so this in no way should be taking as the list of terms we hope you graduate knowing. This is what we want you to know when you come in,” said Griffith.