What is Diversity? - Definition & Meaning

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  • 0:01 What Is Diversity?
  • 0:43 More Than Race or Age
  • 2:09 The Value of Diversity
  • 2:28 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Chevette Alston

Dr. Alston has taught intro psychology, child psychology, and developmental psychology at 2-year and 4-year schools.

This lesson defines the word diversity. It also gives examples of both visible and invisible diversity. Some examples of understanding diversity and why it is important are also discussed.

What is Diversity?

By itself, diversity can mean many things. The definition itself is a form of diversity. Meanings range from a state or fact of being diverse or different, to a variety of opinions. The important point in the formal meaning is that it indicates there is a point of difference. This means diversity broadly refers to many demographic variables. There are several other areas. However, well-known areas of diversity include race, religion, color, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, age, education and skills.

Diversity is More than Race or Age

If you've ever visited the downtown area of a large metropolitan city or a major university, in addition to Caucasian students and workers, you've probably noticed African or Asian American students and workers as well. However, if you look beyond race, you may see an older woman or a young man with a physical disability. These are forms of visible diversity. Visible diversity is external and demonstrates things we cannot change, such as age, race, gender and other physical attributes.

However, there is also invisible diversity, which includes attributes that are not readily seen. We cannot see someone's work experience. With the exception of a wedding band, we do not know a person's marital status, educational achievements, income or religious beliefs. The only way to find out the status of an individual's invisible diversity is to ask them in a kind, but direct manner.

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