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Library Hosts 2009 Day of Dialogue Diversity Display

28 October 2009 by Julie Biando Edwards

Diversity goes beyond the obvious – beyond race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or culture. What makes us diverse is not just how we look or how we act, but how we think, how we view the world, and how we approach issues and problems.

Often, it can seem as if an issue has only two sides: someone is right, someone is wrong. Additionally, there often seems to be a lack of civil discourse and genuine dialogue on issues about which people feel passionately. And, when there is no dialogue, people don’t have a chance to think about why they believe what they do, or how to best convince someone of their position, or how maybe an issue that seemed black and white is, in fact, full of shades of grey.

The best way of forming an opinion or deciding how you feel about a question is through dialogue – listening and becoming more educated on a topic, considering opposing points of view seriously and not dismissing them out of hand, and perhaps even changing your mind.

So, in this display we took some sample quotations that we gathered from UM faculty, staff and students earlier this semester. We asked two questions: “What Makes a Real American?” and, “Whose America is It?” We’ve presented some responses here along with supporting or supplementary material that will show where some of these positions might come from and why they are so important.

Please, take a look at the display, consider the questions and positions raised here, and take a minute to enter the dialogue with us. We’ve been thinking about all of these things. . .now it’s your turn.

This display was organized by the Mansfield Library Diversity Committee and will be in the Library from October 29 through the end of the semester. For Library hours, click here.

Please contact Julie Biando Edwards at with questions or comments.

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