At the heart of anthropology research, theory and practice lies a shared appreciation of and commitment to understanding all aspects of human difference. We also recognize that diversity – whether defined as cultural, racial/ethnic, national, socio-demographic, gender/sexuality, religious, linguistic, age or ability – enriches the process of discovery by engendering multiple modes of thinking about problems and communicating ideas.
However, we live in a society that is based on a social and economic hierarchy which systematically devalues differences among and between individuals based on culture, race/ethnicity, nationality, class, gender/sexuality, religion, age and ability among other aspects of identity. These differences intersect with each other. Difference and our valuation of it have historical social meaning and often have biological and economic manifestations.
For example, in the U.S. a 2005 estimate of the breakdown of racial/ethnic group affiliations is:
- 81.7% or 216 million, (Including Latinos and those of Middle Eastern and North African descent)
- 69% (Excluding Latinos but including Middle Easterners, North Africans, and others who checked "Some other race" in the Census)
- Latinos 14.1% or 41.3 million
- Black 12.9% or 36.4 million,
- Asian 4.2% or 11.9 million,
- Amerindian 1.5% or 4.1 million,
- Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander 0.2%
- Two or more races 2.4%, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racial_demographics_of_the_United_States1
Yet, in academia:
- 94% of full professors in science and engineering are white, 90% are male.
- 91 % of full professors at research universities are white; 75% are male.
- 87% of fulltime faculty members in the US are white; 64% male.
- Only 5% of full professors in the US are black Latino or Native American.
- The gap between the percentage of tenured men and percentage of tenured women has not changed in 30 years. (Harvard Magazine 2002) http://www.harvardmagazine.com/on-line/030255.html
We consider these statistics to be a starting point – guidelines to help us understand the diversity that exists in our nation and how we in the discipline of anthropology and as a department compare against these numbers. The broad headings of Amerindian, African or Asian American and Latino imply intra-group homogeneity. This is not the case. Our goal is not only to reflect American or academic diversity, but to go above and beyond the basic numbers by acknowledging and defining diversity within minority groups as well.
In the discipline of anthropology:
There is still far to go before we begin to reflect the diversity of communities where anthropologists live, work and which we serve.
In our own department:
There is still far to go before we begin to reflect the diversity of communities where we live, work and which we serve.
Given that institutions tend to mirror the society in which they exist – meaning that dominant ideologies and practices of institutions reinforce the social hierarchy of the society in which they emerge; AND
Given that this social hierarchy keeps everyone in this society and the society as a whole from reaching their/its greatest potential; AND
Given that anthropology as a discipline will only remain relevant to the world if it includes and trains practitioners from diverse backgrounds;
WE, the UW Department of Anthropology have adopted the following vision and mission statement:
The UW Department of Anthropology is committed to developing a more diverse faculty, staff and student body in order to better achieve our departmental, institutional and discipline-related goals of research, teaching, community service and social justice.
MISSION AND OBJECTIVES STATEMENT
Our mission and objectives are to:
- identify institutional resources and create departmental policies that lead to the recruitment, retention and promotion of U.S. historically under-represented minority faculty, staff and students;
- increase the presence of;
- promote the well-being of;
- support the advancement within the university of;
- improve the departmental environment for;
- encourage the application, hiring and enrollment of;
- raise departmental awareness of the value and need for;
- celebrate the importance and work of
a diverse community of faculty, students and staff with special attention to US minorities historically underrepresented on U.S. university and college campuses.
Statistical data provide raw numbers reflecting diversity in the society, discipline and department; but they do not reflect the complexities behind those numbers. Recognizing that this is a multifaceted issue, and that it is not just quantifiable by a metric, we look to move beyond numbers and strive to reach a higher level of diversity everyday.
1 A separate listing for Latinos is not included because the Census Bureau considers Hispanic to mean a person of Latin American descent (especially of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, or Dominican origin) who may be of any race or ethnic group.
However, in mid-2004, the data from the Census Bureau, many independent study and survey groups and news agencies found that people of Latino culture and origin, immigrants from Latin America and their progeny, now compose 14% of the American population, exceeding the African American population to become America's largest de facto racial minority. While this may not be accepted demographically, its main importance is political, since the political and social expression of Latin American communities exceeds national and racial boundaries, united by a common language and the Catholic faith. The Census Bureau's definition of "white" is not the definition most widely used by the US people as a whole. Most Americans define "white" to exclude all Latinos, even those of foreign European descent, and Arabs. Using that definition, the white proportion of the US population is currently at 69.1%. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_United_States#Ethnic_grou