Diversity Statement

I have over ten years of experience teaching at various public institutions, ranging from community colleges (e.g., College of Southern Nevada, Phoenix Community College, and GateWay Community College), and well-ranked, four-year institutions (e.g., Clemson University, St. Mary's College of Maryland, and Arizona State University). My experience taught me that the lack of an appropriate role model is one of the biggest factors keeping minority students from achieving their fullest potential. Many students require a person they can relate to, who they can trust to learn from, and who can provide them with the proper encouragement to succeed. This belief, along with my dedication to increasing diversity within the discipline of philosophy, is what motivated me to initiate and establish the first all undergraduate chapter of Minorities And Philosophy (MAP) at Clemson University. I intended to continue my dedication to pursue justice for minority students within the discipline of philosophy by establishing a national organization for undergraduate philosophers (NOU Philosophers). I conceived this proposal as a solution to a practical problem I ran into while attempting to establish MAP at Clemson University. In my attempt to do so, I realized that establishing a diverse community within the discipline of philosophy requires more than the establishment of an organization that is dedicated to advancing the conditions of those who are marginalized. What was needed was a more all-encompassing organization that would provide non-minority undergraduate students an incentive to interact with minority students as equal participants of the same community. The proposal was not accepted for an APA Diversity grant, but I hope to revise and resubmit it in the future. In the mean time, I carry the lesson I have learned with me as a professor of philosophy. I practice an inclusive teaching style that aims to encourage and students to voice their perspective and to help others consider other voices and perspectives. This does not also entail that every voice or perspective has a legitimate claim to truth, and I work with my students to help them understand why. I also believe that it is a disservice to minority students to hold them to an alternative standard of quality compared to non-minority students. Although it is true that minority students are often disadvantaged by the consequences of being a minority, educators harm students in general by expecting and accepting work of lesser quality from disadvantaged students. What we ought to teach students in general is that given unjust conditions, students must take advantage of the opportunities that are intended to help them overcome these conditions, and regardless of their status in life one must work and strive in order to flourish. Finally, as a minority philosopher, I have learned to gain the respect of both minority and non-minority students. I realized that as a minority professor, I am not simply a role model for minority students. I am someone who might be able to bridge the divide between minority and non-minority students. I can do so not only by facilitating communication between minority and non-minority students, but also by being an example of someone to whom non-minority students can relate.