My Illuminating Conversation With Rogelio Hernandez-FloresBy Michele Clark, MAC President
My illuminating conversation in May 2021 with Rogelio Hernández-Flores about multiculturism and diversity [paraphrased].
Michele: I’ve been using the terms “diversity, equity and inclusion” to focus theMAC’s work on expanding the backgrounds and perspectives of our mediator community. You use terms like “multiculturalism” and “cross-culturalism.” What’s the difference?
Rogelio: What we are really talking about is changing the culture of mediation, no matter the words we use. But, the more we talk about what the words mean, the better our understandings.
A multicultural society contains several cultural or ethnic groups who co-exist but don’t necessarily have engaging interactions with each other. A cross-cultural society goes a little deeper, trying to understand more about each other’s cultures. Finally, an “intercultural society” tries to remove the norms imposed by a dominant culture, creating mutuality, reciprocity and equality.
Michele’s Reflections: After this exchange, my first thought was that we could use diversity, equity and inclusion as tools in moving toward interculturalism. Then, I had one of those perspective-shifting moments – does thinking about our change in terms of equity, diversity and inclusion suggest assimilating all other cultures into the dominant culture?