Multiple Selves


What Biracial People Know by Moises Valassquez-Manoff 
New York Times, March 4, 2017

Intended as a commentary on the shortcomings of a homogeneous cabinet in the White House, this short, well researched article provides a data rich source on the benefits of diversity. Using biracialism as an example, the author, himself biracial, points to the benefit of having to transcend racial stereotypes to construct a more inclusive worldview. Having multiple selves appears to enhance mental flexibility.  At a group level, social scientists have documented that diverse groups in business, art, and scientific studies are likely to be more creative and insightful in solving problems and more likely to question faulty assumptions. Additionally, better decisions emerge from more diverse mindsets. The good news for educators is that this kind of mental flexibility can be cultivated through interaction with others with different life experiences. With opportunities to set up intentional communities, independent schools may be well positioned to attract and recruit students and teachers from various cultural and socioeconomic groups who bring world views that can enrich the school experience. Often more diverse than their neighborhood public schools, independent schools are at an advantage in preparing students to function effectively in a country that is fast becoming a “majority of minorities.”

Submitted By: Pearl Rock Kane, Klingenstein Center, New York, NY

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