In the third step, you must begin to immerse yourself into various cultures in order to grasp how truly difficult it is for such groups to exist in our society. You must delve deeply into the immersion process by formally educating yourself about diverse cultures. Unless you want to learn about white people, George Mason provides its students with a wide variety of programs, including: Asian Pacific American Heritage Month; Black History Month; Safe zone training to become an “ally” to the members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Community; Hispanic Heritage Month; and American Indian Heritage Week. Participating in these events is the best way to truly experience the difficult lives of minorities. After all, nothing says oppression like a Pow-Wow!
Step #4: “Make a sincere effort to establish a meaningful relationship with a student of a different ethnic or cultural background or lifestyle.”
In the fourth step you are to personalize your newfound sensitivity by using discriminatory practices to find a culturally different “friend.” Long gone are the days of freely associating with people because you like them or have something in common with them. Now you must create bonds with people for the purpose of easing your guilt for the inherent bigotry you never knew you had. Once you have done this, you can breathe easy knowing you have taken a poor, friendless minority under your wing.
Step #5: “Learn to overcome the tendency to stereotype members of various groups, and instead, try to develop a sensitivity to their feelings and experiences.”
Step five can be rather difficult because, after four steps of forcing yourself to become aware of cultural differences, you are now expected to ignore all of that and pretend these differences do not exist. But don’t worry; you’ve reached the end of your journey of diversity ignorance recovery! You can now take the knowledge you have acquired and be a true advocate for these poor, underrepresented groups. Can’t you feel your heart bleeding already?
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