Office of Inclusive Excellence

Editor's Submission

October 19, 2021

Ryne Leuzinger, Information Literacy Instruction Coordinator

Renee Penalver, Assistant Professor of Psychology,

Vanessa Lopez-Littleton, PhD, RN Associate Professor/Chair of Health, Human Services and Public Policy

Nelson Graff, PhD, Director, Communication Across the Disciplines

Stephanie Johnson, PhD, Visual and Public Art Department 

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Diverse Perspective, a community-led newsletter of the Office of Inclusive Excellence and Sustainability (OIES). For this edition, we posed the question “what changes are necessary to advance racial and social justice” to a broad array of CSUMB scholars. In light of increasingly active and persistent calls for racial and social justice in many spheres, we felt this topic was particularly relevant and timely. 

For this inaugural edition, we sought a wide variety of viewpoints and perspectives on this topic and our authors delivered. It is our hope that this publication will serve as a CSUMB community-led vehicle for critical reflection and a driver of social change on our campus and beyond. By addressing complex social issues and stimulating equity-centered conversations, we desire to play a role in our campus to create a more just and equitable society. 

In responding to the call, our authors identified the following challenges in which to direct their propositions for social change. As you read this edition, you will encounter challenges to: retention, tenure, and promotion (RTP) process, miseducation, structural English language supremacy, lack of diversity in leadership and policy action, punitive policies and practices in schools, linguistic microaggressions; capitalism/colonialism/white supremacy; racism and discrimination; erroneous assumptions and misconceptions; civic responsibility, worker rights and working conditions; bias in higher education; cultural racism. The level of thought and insight provided by our guest authors combine to create a well-informed inaugural edition. Our contributors were inspired by authors such as adrienne marie brown, Leanne Simpson (Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg), James Baldwin, Carter G. Woodson, Cathay Davidson, and others. Others celebrated art and artists who used their work as an “act of cultural reclamation.” In totality, this volume demonstrates the power of the collective voice of the CSUMB community.

While the approaches to the overarching question may vary, empathy (in various forms), critical consciousness, and collective action are notable themes throughout this issue. 

Empathy. Until we can all see each other as fully human, many will continue to suffer from bias, discrimination, slights and microaggressions that contribute to disparate outcomes across a broad range of indicators (e.g., health, education, economics, resource distribution). Thus, empathy is an important factor in allowing one another to understand and share the feelings experienced by others. We are all human beings; but, there are social and political realities (historic and contemporary) that impede our ability to progress collectively. In How to Be an Anti-racist, Ibram X. Kendi describes this ongoing battle as “the struggle to be fully human and to see that others are fully human” (p. 18). 

Critical consciousness. In building upon empathy, we must consistently increase our ability to understand and contextualize our individual identities and how those identities form a reality that is unique to us as individuals. Simultaneously, we must recognize how the realities of others are marred by the society in which we exist. Combined, this level of awareness forms a level of critical consciousness that can provide a deeper level of understanding and broadens individual worldviews to allow for an acknowledgement of social and political contradictions. 

Collective Action. When one can empathize and acknowledge the harm living in an unjust society presents for subgroups in the US, groups of individuals can be inspired and moved to action. The collective action of a concerned citizenry, committed to justice and fairness, is the only effective mechanism or process that can move us closer to a more just and equitable society. 

This is the first of many issues of Diverse Perspectives, a CSUMB publication designed to document our campus’ commitment to radical social change. We look forward to learning and growing along with our entire campus community. Enjoy the journey.