Diversity vs Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are terms that can easily be misunderstood and far too often interchangeable. Although the terms are in fact related they both are lacking in societal institutions as seen in the article by Stripling where she discusses the lack of diversity in librarianship. The American Library Association has taken a firm stand in working on both inclusion and diversity in the field by creating a scholarship that is awarded to students of diverse backgrounds in an effort to vary the professional field (Stripling, 2014). In addition to societal institutions lacking in diversity and inclusion the same is evident in children’s literature. The issue is so drastic that according to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center  “…from 2008-2012 only 10% of children’s books published were about people of color”  (Kysia, 2014). In order to rectify these issues, it is essential to understand that there are differences between the terms diversity and inclusion.

Diversity, as defined by the Webster dictionary, is “1. the condition of having or being composed of differing elements :  variety; especially :  the inclusion of different types of people (as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization <programs intended to promote diversity in schools> 2:  an instance of being composed of differing elements or qualities :  an instance of being diverse <a diversity of opinion>” (1983). Inclusion is defined as “a relation between two classes that exists when all members of the first are also members of the second” (Webster & McKechnie, 1983). After comparing the meanings, it is evident how similar these two terms are and why clarification is needed. On the most basic level, inclusion is the empowerment and welcoming of all despite religious background, ethnicity, gender, and social class. This approach allows for everyone to succeed and nurtures the relationship to sustain the groups success. As a result of inclusion, individuals are able to see a reflection of themselves in media, power, and they take an active part in society. Diversity is about the makeup of the group or what you have in the mix. It is possible to be diverse and not be inclusive. When referring to the mix all that is being taken into account is the fact that the individual is different from someone else, but they may not necessarily be part of the larger group.

Inclusion and diversity can be interrelated, but when you look at them closely each one stands out in their own way. To have inclusion in society means to give all individuals equal stake in various groups. Diversity is the actual make up of any group and refers more to the individuals and their background. In the end, inclusion is closely related to what is being done while diversity is about what you have.