value of diversity, The

Riley-Eddins, Essie Alberta

As stated in the Journal of Multicultural Nursing and Health (JMCNH) Values:

Diversity: The JMCNH will promote respect and appreciation of differences, i. e., age, culture, ethnicity; race, minority groups and their issues; men in nursing as minorities and their related issues; and groups of people who have different lifestyles from the dominant population due to religious beliefs, sexual orientation and employment status.

In articulating this value, from time to time, JMCNH includes considerations of the subject of diversity in various formats of the Journal: editorials, guest editorials, articles, book reviews, review articles, communications, etc. The primary purpose of this EDITORIAL is to offer a general statement on the value of diversity in (American) society, particularly in a democracy as a way of life. One of the best ways of appreciating the value of diversity in our democracy is by considering how diversity is incorporated into our educational philosophy and practice.

Fundamentally, education involves the belief and attitude that there are plural and diverse paths to truth; that there are competing standards of value; and that there are various and justifiable means to a given end. Diversity, then, is to be valued in an instrumental sense: it enables education to achieve its goals and purposes. The consideration of various ideas, belief systems, institutions and practices may aid in understanding and in understanding more fully a given culture and cultural practice. These may well be the ingredients which would properly go into our formulation of a more mature and adequate view of culture itself.

Furthermore, persons of diverse backgrounds bring to classroom, research and administrative activities insights, emphases, data, habits of mind and their “representations of humanity” which ennoble and enrich our endeavors. Thus, in serving certain instrumental values, diversity, as we have noted in this latter emphasis on representations of humanity, also is to be valued as an intrinsic good. One may see the whole educational enterprise as legitimately providing an atmosphere and ethos conducive to the fair and equitable consideration of a plurality of (cultural) emphases, values and ways of life. Democracy, which is a society based on openness, succeeds when there are no privileged notions or practices; but each notion or practice justifies itself by its contribution to our common interests and human endeavor.

Essie Alberta Riley-Eddins

Founding Editor

Copyright Riley Publications, Inc. Center for the Study of Multiculturalism and Health Winter 1999

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