Engaging Diversity Training without Engaging Resistance

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Abstract

This article explains how the Ethnocentric Mono-culturalism Assessment Technique (EMCAT) helps bridge the gap from traditional diversity training to immersing participants in a gentle perturbing experience that works to challenge their current meaning-making system while minimizing resistance. The EMCAT is a measure that explores basic knowledge of geography and cultural symbols from a United States American perspective. A majority of EMCAT scores are typically very low. Participants are asked to reflect on their scores in a group setting and through journaling. Three overarching themes relating to emotions, self-judgment, and academic preparation emerged from their responses. This activity lends itself toward self-insight but also opens the door in a non-threatening and indirect way for discussions about ethnocentric mono-culturalism and its consequences. This technique serves an important role in the examination of self and the beginning of the realistic self-awareness needed to engage with individuals different from self. Implications and suggestions for diversity training are discussed.