Diversity Literacy Galaxy Model

by Jorge D. H. Prósperi 2022

A methodical study of Diversity would require at least several lifetimes in order to seriously delve into its history, content, contexts and genres. Throughout the ages, Diversity has been examined by countless academicians, scholars, scientists, anthropologists, social scientists, culturalists, psychologists, quantitative and qualitative researchers and historians. Each field probing and dissecting definitions and meanings – and yet – for most of us it remains an enigma.

A lazy simplistic definition of Diversity is to define it as meaning just “difference” “the other” – “opposite” – “not the same.” This view is interpreted and constructed from what we determine to be the “other”, “opposite” and “not the same.” A primary lens by which such determinations and judgements take place is our ID – our identity, and the multitude of complex influences and variables that constitute it.

This leaves unanswered critical questions regarding Diversity – as to socio-cultural meaning, development of and influences on identity, belief systems, ethics and the fundamental essence of our humanity – its attributes and relationships. In other words, the core condition and quality that we share . . . our mutual humanness.

The major challenge of trying to explore and identify the plethora and immensity of Diversity continues to be overwhelming and irrepressible. What we do know unequivocally is that the very term ignites controversy, angst and often creates a dividing line among citizens. The reason for this is because Diversity has been politicized.

Therefore, the challenge in creating a Diversity model was to provide an image – a metaphor – an instrument that would yield a sense of Diversity’s complexity and at the same time be engaging and inviting for further study, examination and discussion.

What would that image be? Upon reflecting on the immensity of Diversity, I concluded that geometric designs, webs, lattices and quilts would not be adequate. As I pondered the challenge, I decided that there was only one image – one boundless reality that would suffice – The Universe.

First Photos of James Webb Space Telescope 2022

The goal would be to think of Diversity as we think of the Universe. To acknowledge its presence, to be in awe of its vastness, its intricateness, its depth and breadth that could lead to awareness and respect by seeking and delving into its wonders.

Acknowledgement and awareness can become precursors to collaborative and mutual ventures of understanding and acceptance of the truth. The James Webb Space Telescope has revealed in 2022 realities that have shaken our perceived knowledge regarding our very existence and significance.

Likewise, I posit that Diversity holds realities that are waiting to be discovered that will free us from predispositions about our humanity and the human condition. But, do we dare to look through the telescope?

Do we dare to look beyond our own constructed reality?

Cognizant awareness can be the first step to understanding, recognition, validation, appreciation, empathy and advocacy to seek the greater truth. The challenge being whether we dare to engage in a conversation that will explore Diversity’s galaxy. The task in 2022 continues to be a daunting exercise.

Conversations on Diversity can be frustrating, uncomfortable and taxing. Avoiding conversations about Diversity can lead to isolation, existing in an ideological bubble where we only hear people who agree with us pushing us further into the fringes of divisiveness.

Anxiety and Stress rather than cognizant awareness.

Some of the major reasons we avoid conversation on Diversity are associated with FEAR. Fear of not having enough knowledge on the subject. Fear of race baiting. Fear of sounding arrogant, all knowing, self-righteous. Fear of sounding defensive. Fear of sounding uninformed. Fear of having our views, identity or ideology attacked. Fear that we will be thought to be ultra conservative or too liberal. Fear of not knowing enough language regarding Diversity in order to comprehend or express oneself with clarity, content and context. Fear that we may be misunderstood and hurt the feelings of others without intent or malice. Fear of realizing that what we were taught to believe as the truth is questionable requiring further examination, reflection and change.

Therefore, Fear often wins out as we avoid making a sincere, honest and meaningful connection with fellow citizens – with fellow human beings.

The challenge when dialoguing about Diversity is to suspend judgement, not think of it as “winning or losing a debate” or “converting the other” but rather try to listen with awareness based on knowledge, research, data, empathy, compassion and tolerance.

It is perfectly acceptable to not fully agree with another’s perspectives. But seeking understanding can lead to introspection and is a valuable tool in order to avoid vilifying and seeing others as “the enemies.” There is value and worth in moving from a prejudicial and biased perspective to one of tolerance or at a minimum, neutrality.

That said, there will always be a segment of society that will adamantly avoid critical thinking, analysis, fact finding, irrefutable evidence, introspection and change – even deny the very existence of the Universe.

The astronomer, physicist and engineer, Galileo di Vincenzo Bonailuti de’ Galilei faced constant charges of blasphemy in 1615 by the Roman Inquisition that concluded that Galileo was a heretic and contradicted Holy Scripture – pronounced him “Vehemently suspect of heresy” and spent the rest of his life under house arrest – all because he dared to share the reality and knowledge of what he saw through new lenses.

Even in 2022 there is a segment of society that proclaims that the earth remains the center of the universe with man at its core and that Diversity is but a socio-cultural Political Correct hoax, that slavery was justified by the Bible, that colonialism was ordained and blessed by God and that the Holocaust never happened.

This landscape speckled with glittering stars is actually the edge of a nearby, young, star-forming region called NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula. Captured in infrared light by NASA’s new James Webb Space Telescope, this image reveals for the first time previously invisible areas of star birth. Image Credit: (NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI)

Ignorance by choice and design, on any subject, by any means, limits awareness and understanding. It blocks opportunities for significant personal growth and change. Hopefully, Diversity-Threads.com can provide motivation and confidence to enter the challenging space of civil discourse on Diversity with knowledge, language, references and context.

The goal is not to convince or persuade but to urge further curiosity, criticality, exploration, examination, comprehension and reflection – to continue with emotional intelligence and moral courage to look through new lenses at the Galaxy of Diversity.

Original Model Image by nancy Gage 2007 – Updated Diversity Literacy Galaxy Model Image by Anthony Baez, 2022 – http://www.anthonybmedia.com/

Diversity is depicted in the model as a galaxy because of the immense dimensions of the universe, with galaxies, planets and moons connected and changing. Likewise, humanity and the human condition is as highly complex, multifaceted, multi-dependent, diverse and changing.

The model is divided into 5 sections in order to provide depth and breadth of the complexity, magnitude and relevance of the elements connecting and intersecting the layers and threads.

The major sections are:
1. Social-Cultural ID Entity – Identifiers from the “I” Perspective
2. Knowledge Bases and Lenses – Validity and Credibility
3. Socializing Agencies – Social Curricula
4. Metanarratives
5. Social Constructs, Concepts, Ideologies, Beliefs, Values, Phobias, Isms

The model provides a tsunami of language often requiring pause, reflection and examination before moving on. Some would argue that the model could be a school curriculum mapped across all subjects from Kindergarten through college and beyond. This would be a worthy national objective in order to foster responsible citizenship. But we, as a society, are far from making such a commitment requiring moral courage.

Connectedness, multiplicity and intersections between all segments of the model is common and expected. A word and/or concept may not evoke no response or may elicit a multitude of connections and associations beyond the model itself.

The reasons why there will be different responses is that perspective and perception on Diversity are always connected to the “I” lens – our Identity. A person’s relationships, experiences and beliefs about Diversity is always at play – always in flux as to its limitations and amplifications.

The core of each concept related to Diversity has context – peripheries that upon examination become cores of their own significance, surrounded by yet other peripheries. All cores and peripheries are in a dynamic state of motion – amplifying meaning and relevance.

It is not a typo that I decided to name the first Galaxy circling Diversity as ID Entity in order to emphasize the singular importance of ID (personal identity as a qualifier “I am”) and its Entity (existence, being, vital force).

Social-Cultural ID Entity – Identifiers from the “I” Perspective

The framing of ID Entity is based on a host of influences beginning at birth, early childhood development – during the earliest stages of our lives and the power of socio-cultural influences that continue to shape our persona during our time on earth.

During our early childhood we become a captive audience to family members, schooling, acquaintances, regional environment and experiences that shape our lenses on self and others.

1. Social-Cultural ID Entity – Identifiers from the “I” Perspective

Socio-Cultural Identifiers: [“The Big 8” of the 20th Century (Ability, Age, Ethnicity, Gender, Race, Religion, Sexual Orientation, Socioeconomic Status]- Expanding with “The Little 4” (Situational Factors, Geographic Origin, Marital Status, Physical Appearance) Lucinda Lee Katz 1997, Jossey-Bass Publishers. What follows is the expansion of identifiers in the 21st Century. The list is not static nor absolute as ongoing research and counter-voices provide added layers of awareness, understanding and inclusivity.
The identifiers project a sense of self, view of the world and of others. There are layers of meaning in respect to the significance of each identifier. The identifiers can be “thin-micro”, “thick-macro”, “historical”, “global”, “systemic”, “structural”, “environmental”, “external”, and/or “internal” (psychological). The term Diversity begins with the “I” lens perspective – our sense of selfhood. “I am ____ – I identify with _____”

Social Identifiers from the “ID” perspective: Ability (Mental/Physical), Age, Artistry, Access to Resources, Assimilation, Acclimation, Affiliations/Memberships, Ancestral Legacy, Bicultural (multi), Bi-ethnic (multi), Bilingual (multi), Biracial (multi), Catharsis, Citizenship, Citizen Status, Colonization, Culture, Curiosities, Diaspora, Education, Employment, Entertainment, Entitlement/Privilege, Ethnicity, Experiences, Family, Family Status, Fail Safe (1%), Financial Status, Gender, Geographic Location, Happenstance, Health, Health Care, Habits, Heritage, Historical Events, Immigrant, Immigration Status, Income, Indigenous, Inheritance, Interests, Language(s), Legal Status, LGBTQIA, Location/Region, Marital Status, Military, National Origin, Nationality, Native, Neurodiversity, Occupation/Job, Oppression, Passions, Physical Appearance, Political, Political Affiliations, Political Events, Profession, Race, Refugee, Relationship Status, Religion/Spirituality, Rituals, Sexual Orientation, Situational Factors, Slavery, Social Media, Social Network(s), Socioeconomic Status, Sports-Athletics, Transgender, Trauma (multigenerational-intergenerational – victim – victimizer – originator – conspirator, War

2. Knowledge Bases and Lenses – Validity and Credibility

Knowledge-Based Critical Lenses – Cognizance:
These lenses provide critical tools by which to examine all aspects of Diversity. Like an MRI and Electron Microscope these knowledge bases examine the layers, depth and breadth of Diversity from simplistic notions and assumptions to complex socio-cultural constructs.

Knowledge Bases: How do we come to know what we know? Validity, Credibility, Relevance, Scope, History, Context, Pursuit of the Truth: AsianCrit, Background Knowledge, Brain Based, Counter-Stories-Voices, Criticality, Critical Anthropology, Critical Gender Studies, Critical History, Critical Pedagogy, Critical Political Science, Critical Psychology, Critical Race Theory, Critical Sociology, Critical Research Theory, Critical Sociology, Critical Thinking, Education (pre-school-post college), Environmental Knowledge, Epistemology, Experiential Knowledge, FemCrit, Feminism, Geographic Region, Happenstance , IndigenousCrit, Internet , Knowledge-Based, Language(s), Latina/o Critical Theory, LatCrit, LatinX , Learning<>Teaching, Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans Queer Intersex Asexual Pansexual CRIT, Metacognition , Multiculturalism, Observation, QueerCrit, Science-Based, Social Media, Teaching<>Learning, Technology , TribalCrit, White Critical Studies

3. Socializing Agencies – Social Curricula

Socializing Agencies / Social Curriculum:
On a daily basis the “I” perspective and perception is influenced and shaped consciously and unconsciously by socializing agencies. The influences are in the very air we breathe and impact every aspect of our socio-cultural life. From birth, each of us goes through a learning process that is ever at play 24/7/365. This learning process remains present throughout our lives influencing a sense of self and of others. Our personal views and beliefs on Diversity are learned – constructed.

Socializing Agencies – Social Curriculum: Ability (Special Needs, Disabled, Handicapped), Arts (Visual – Performing), Athletics – Sports, Community (sense of belonging), Culture, Education, Entertainment (Cable, TV, Theatre, Sports, Movies, Music), Environment, Ethnicity – Nationality, Family , Finance , Geography Region (local to worldwide), Happenstance, Internet, Language(s), Neighborhood, Peer Groups, Political Affiliation(s), Profession, Race, Religion/Spirituality, Sexual Orientation, Social Media, Socio-Economic Status, Special Interests (Passions), Physical Appearance, Technology, Workplace

4. Metanarratives

The definition of a metanarrative differs depending on the critical lens that examines its meaning. It is a term that has been debated regarding its relevance and impact on society – particularly in the 21st Century with the Internet and Social Media used to sway public opinion, attitudes and modus operandi that can lead to established beliefs, motivations and behaviors.
For this study, Metanarratives are grand teleological accounts/narratives that seek to explain the world and its inhabitants within the compass of overarching grand legitimate stories. These stories at times have been politicized and radicalized.
One feature is the abstraction from time, place, and culture. At the time of their origin, these narratives did not cause immediate reaction. For example, Trickle Down Economics, No Child Left Behind, Meritocracy, Noble Savage, Affirmative Action are all words that have a deeper meaning impacting different segments of citizens. Metanarratives can become prominent historical-socio-cultural accounts [stories] that become inherent, embedded and marketed as national truisms influencing dispositions, thinking, attitudes, and behavior.
Metanarratives can influence views on History, Autocracy, Democracy, Citizenship, Government, Nation Building, patriotism, justice, equity, colonialism, slavery, Civil War, race and gender. Metanarratives can create delusions of superiority as to what segments of society are worthy and entitled to rule.
When corrupted and politicized, Metanarratives can create a false narrative justifying and normalizing division, polarization leading to authoritarianism, genocide and inhumanity.
* The lenses in the second section called Knowledge Based Critical Lenses – Cognizance can provide tools by which to explore and examine the origin(s) and history of each Metanarrative.

Metanarratives: Affirmative Action, Alternative Facts, Aryan Race, Banana Republics (Third World Countries), Bell Curve, Big Lie, Binet-Simon Intelligence Test, Blumenbach [Caucasus Mountain Theory], Caucasian, Colonialism, Color Blindness, Cultural Ethical Relativism, Deficit Paradigms, Dillingham Commission, Eugenics, Ghetto, Rural, Urban, Suburban , Globalization, Historical Determinism, Jim Crow Laws, Linnaeus [Americanus, Europaeus, Asiaticus, Afer], Lost Cause (The), Manifest Destiny, Master Race, Melting Pot Theory, Meritocracy, No Child Left Behind, Noble Savage, Paternal Slavery Doctrine, Pro-Slavery Arguments, Race Science, Reconstruction, Romanticization of Southern Life, SegregationResegregation, Survival of the Fittest, Terra Nullius, Three-Fifth Compromise, Trickle Down Economics, Westward / Southern Expansions, White Men’s Burden, White Supremacy 

5. Social Constructs, Concepts, Ideologies, Phobias, Isms

Social Constructs provide an overview of language used in the study of Diversity. Such language can be helpful with awareness – connecting with new content and context when reading, writing, researching, discussions, debates and/or clarifications on Diversity.
The construction / engineering of social constructs is embedded in the Socio-Cultural-Political-Religious legacy of Human History.
Social Constructs (perspectives and perceptions) are constructed by human beings and therefore can be examined, altered and deconstructed depending on the value and impact on the quality of life of the human condition. How we come to identify, define and believe the meaning of words and concepts is based on the influences that have shaped such meaning(s).
Social Constructs do not have to be considered negative influences or detrimental. At the same time, Social Constructs can be controversial, provocative and challenging but can provide historical insights leading to civil discourse based on basic understanding of their origin.
For example, while “Life” and “Death” are realities, each human being has their own definition, perspectives and beliefs related to such realities that can significantly differ from others.
Also presented are terms associated with soci0-cultural Phobias and Isms linked to cultural ruptures, division, ethnic/religious cleansing, domination (power and control), genocide, inhuman atrocities, multigenerational trauma, oppression, suppression and victimization inflicted on human beings.
All of the terms should be examined as to meaning, context and impact, particularly from the “ID” perspective and perception. 
* The lenses in the second section called Knowledge Based Critical Lenses – Cognizance can provide tools by which to explore and examine social constructs.

Social Constructs: Ableism, Admission Unethical Practices, Ageism, Alt-Right, Anti-Semitism, Apartheid, Arranged/Forced Marriages, Authoritarianism, Biases, Bigotry, Birtherism (Birthism), Black Lives Matter, Boys Will Be Boys, Chauvinism, Child Abuse, Child Marriage, Child Slavery, Citizenship, Citizen’s Arrest, Code Switching, Cognitive Dissonance, Colonialism, Confirmation Bias, Conspiracy Theories, Counterstories, Cultural Competence Training, Demagoguery, Despotism, Discrimination, Diversity Sensitivity Training, Death (perspective on), Doctrine of Discovery, Domestic Slavery, Domestic Terrorism, Domestic Violence, Dysgenic, Emotional Intelligence, Enabling, Eugenics, Fascism, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Gaslighting, Gay Conversion Therapy, Genocide, Gilded Age, Good Old Boy’s Club, Gun Concealed Weapon, Gun Laws, Gun Legislation, Gun Manufacturers Liability, Gun (NRA), Gun (Open Carry), Gun Violence, Gun Violence Research, Hegemony, Hidden History, High Yellow, Historical [Negativism, Revisionism, Denialism], Holocaust, Hollywood (Depictions of Diversity), Homophobia, Human Trafficking, Imperialism, Incest, Identity Politics, Indentured Servitude, Intellectual Inferiority Theory, Intergenerational Trauma, Internal Colonialism, Islamophobia, Jingoism, Just Deserts, Legal Lynching, Life (perspectives on), Lookism, Lynching, Low Hanging Fruit, Machoism, Macro-Micro Aggressions, Megalomaniac, Mein Kampf, Middle Passage, Misandry, Misogyny, Multigenerational Trauma, Multigenerational Legacies of Trauma, Nationalsozialismus, Narcism, Nazism, Nepotism (Institutional Incest), Pathological Lying (The Big Lie), Patriarchy, Plantation Schools, Police, Police Chiefs, Police Training, Police Unions, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD), Predispositions, Prejudice, Profiling, Psychological Inferiority Theory, Racism (Overt, Covert, Aversive, Systemic, Institutional), Rape, Replacement Theory, Relocations (forced), Scapegoating, Scientific Racism, Self-Oppression, Separátocide (parent(s)-child separation), 1776 Report, Sexism, Sexual Assault, Sexual Coercion, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Slave Ships, Slavery, Social Death, Social Media, Socioeconomic Status, Soul Wounds, Sports – Athletics, Stereotyping, Storytelling, Suicide (perspectives on), Survivor Syndrome, Terra Nullius, Terrorism, Totalitarianism, Transphobia, Transgender, Trauma (multigenerational-intergenerational-victim-victimizer-originator-conspirator), Unmarked Slave Graves, Videotaping (Phone Cameras), Wakiksuyapi (Lakota), Wedge Issues, White Capital, White Entitlement, White Nationalism, White Loss, White Privilege, White Slavery, White Supremacy, Xenophobia

The Universe will continue to exist beyond our lifetime. Diversity likewise will continue. At this time we can only discover and explore the wonders of the Universe. But Diversity does not exist beyond the stars. It lives and breathes among us. It lives undeniably within each human being.

The Universe and Diversity are realities that deserve recognition and acceptance beyond tolerance. Both call for appreciation and respect. Both require lenses that shape the acuity of our vision of our earth as part of the Universe and Diversity as part of our humanity.