November 23rd, 2006
When Diversity Help is “Needed”
By Leo Laurence
Diversity means “different,” according to Webster’s.
But, when does a journalist who is different mean that they need help from the S-P-J? The answer explains why we need a National Committee on Diversity, to help those who are hurt because they are different.
While our president, Christine Tatum, has a very expansive view of diversity, not all those involved in that expansive perspective need help from our organization.
Those who do are usually people of color, Gays and Lesbians and others who become victims of discrimination or insults in newsrooms as a result of their difference.
Tatum said in a San Diego interview that we sometimes get “hung up” on issues of ethnicity and sexual orientation when thinking about diversity.
Yet, those are the very issues that create the need for help from our national committee.
When someone in a newsroom “jokes” about “those damned illegal aliens” while a Latino reporter is working nearby, that dramatically demonstrates the need for more diversity training for that staff, training that is available on the diversity section of SPJ.org .
The issue of diversity is not necessarily defined by the broadest definition of the word, but by the scope of those who need help as a result of rude and unprofessional discrimination.