Tips to Examine How Diversity is Used in Your Communications

January 10, 2022

We came across a USA Today article that highlights that less than 5% of medical illustrations in four of the medicine textbooks assigned at top U.S. medical schools show people with dark skin. It quotes an expert who says “the lack of diversity [in medical illustrations] is a ‘huge problem’ that can perpetuate a cycle of implicit bias which ‘does at the end of day affect patient health.’”

This is another great reminder that diversity in our communications matters. When looking at your communications around diversity, consider:

  • Avoiding stereotypes by checking your bias.
  • Ensuring that headlines, images, captions, and graphics are fair, responsible and accurately depict people of color and other marginalized identities and issues.
  • Only using personal identifiers (i.e., race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, disability, etc.) when it is pertinent to a situation and use them fairly, identifying white individuals if people of other races/ethnicities are identified. Ask the individuals you are communicating with how they would like to be represented.
  • Consulting with a DEI committee or consultant and/or varied perspectives for input on the message.

To learn more, check out our Tools for Communicating About Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. If you have further questions, reach out to University Relations at unews@umn.edu or the Office for Equity and Diversity at oed@umn.edu.

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