Workshop teaches students about own prejudices

Karla Karcioglu, Contributor Ω

Monica Sanchez-Flores discusses diversity and difference at TRU International Days. - Photo by Karla Karcioglu

Monica Sanchez-Flores discusses diversity and difference at TRU International Days. – Photo by Karla Karcioglu

Monica Sanchez-Flores, professor of sociology at TRU, hoped those who attended her Diversity and Difference workshop, at TRU International Days on Feb. 5, recognized that “nobody is without prejudice.”

Sanchez-Flores explained to those in attendance, the complexities of individual identity and how we are conditioned over time through a number of primary and secondary factors.

Primary factors include race, sex, socioeconomic status, gender, religion, age, disability and sexual orientation. These factors can be divided further into specific secondary factors, but neither primary nor secondary factors stay static through your lifetime.

Sanchez-Flores said identity is formed by how we build our sense of who we are, how others perceive us, societal constructs of hierarchy and status and the interlocking and intersecting of oppression.

According to Sanchez-Flores, identity is constantly revised, negotiated and updated.

“In principle none of us are prejudice,” she said, “but those structures are deep in us.”

Sanchez-Flores also talked about the importance of social structure versus individual agency.

“There are social situations which influence our lives,” she said. “They influence our behaviour, but they don’t determine our lives.”

“There is a little oppressor in all of us,” Sanchez-Flores said. “It’s about being aware of the prejudice.”

Diversity wheel. - Image courtesy Monica Sanchez-Flores

Diversity wheel. – Image courtesy Monica Sanchez-Flores

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