What I could do to support the DEI cause was to examine my own personal biases. I had already been thinking a lot about my biases over the past 11 years since joining UC Davis, but I wanted to go deeper.
In the past year, I took several campus-sponsored DEI workshops. In all of them I had some painfully enlightening moments, a couple of which I will share here.
One workshop asked us to picture ourselves walking into a crowded lecture hall and seeing only a few open seats; one was next to a person in a wheelchair, another was next to an Indian man in a turban, another next to an overweight individual, and more.
I had a very negative reaction about sitting next to a certain subject. Wow. I had to look deeper inside myself to figure out why I immediately had this negative feeling. That was definitely a hidden bias of mine and I have overcome it.
Another workshop mentioned how people react to different accents, such as a Chinese accent versus an Australian accent. I realized I had another hidden bias.
I know I have much more work to do. And I will keep doing it.
Check the DEI events calendar for workshops.