Multiple Discrimination

Multiple Discrimination, Racism, and the Imperative for Inclusive Policies by Ilaria Boiano

To understand multiple discrimination, visualize the overlapping sections of a Venn diagram. Each circle represents a form of discrimination – be it based on race, gender, age, disability, or sexual orientation. Where two circles overlap, an individual faces discrimination on both counts; and where three circles intersect, they face discrimination on three fronts.

But this isn’t merely an academic exercise. For countless individuals, these overlapping sections of discrimination are a daily reality. In a world increasingly driven by discussions about equality and equity, understanding multiple discrimination and addressing it through inclusive policies is not just timely, but essential.

Multiple Discrimination: More Than The Sum of Its Parts

Multiple discrimination is not merely an additive process, where one form of discrimination piles upon another. It’s multiplicative. This means that the lived experiences of, say, a disabled Black woman cannot be fully understood by simply summing the experiences of Black individuals and those of disabled individuals. The intersection of her race and disability creates a unique form of discrimination that is distinct and more layered.

Racism, a dominant form of discrimination, often exacerbates these challenges. For example, a Black gay man might face homophobia within his community and racism within LGBTQ+ spaces. His struggle isn’t just a simple combination of being Black and gay; it’s a distinct experience shaped by the intersection of race and sexuality.

Why Addressing Racism Is Crucial

Racism has deep roots in many societies and operates both overtly, through blatant acts of prejudice, and covertly, through systemic biases. This systemic nature of racism, often woven into the fabric of societal institutions, creates barriers for racialized individuals at every turn – from education to employment to justice. These barriers become even more pronounced when combined with other forms of discrimination.

Inclusive policies, thus, need to first address the systemic nature of racism and then factor in the intersections with other forms of discrimination.

Inclusion Policies: Moving Beyond Tokenism

Inclusion isn’t about tokenism or merely ticking boxes. It’s about understanding the complex, multi-layered experiences of individuals and ensuring that policies are designed to support and uplift everyone, especially those at the intersections of multiple discriminations.

Here are a few considerations for genuine inclusion policies:

Holistic Understanding: Recognize that individuals can face multiple, overlapping forms of discrimination. Policies should address this complexity, not simplify or erase it.

Consultation: Engage with communities and individuals who experience multiple discriminations. Their lived experiences provide invaluable insights.

Accessibility: Whether it’s physical spaces, digital platforms, or communication methods, accessibility should be at the forefront.

Regular Reviews: Inclusion policies shouldn’t be static. Regularly reviewing and revising them ensures they remain effective and relevant.

Education and Awareness: Many biases are deep-seated and unconscious. Continuous training and awareness campaigns can help break down these biases.

Concluding Thoughts

Multiple discrimination is an intricate web that intertwines various forms of bias, with racism often acting as a magnifying lens. By recognizing these intersections and proactively working to create inclusive policies, societies can begin to unravel this web. Such efforts do more than just aid those facing discrimination. They create more just, understanding, and cohesive societies for everyone.

Course Outline
Lecture, March 20th

Ejaz Ahmed – Journalist and Cultural Mediator

Introduction to the Seminars and an Introductory Lesson on MULTIPLE DISCRIMINATION, RACISM, and the PROMOTION OF EQUALITY PRACTICES.

Lecture, April 3rd

Davide Valeri

G2 Network – Second Generations

Lecture, April 17th

Kwanza Musi Dos Santos – QuestaèRoma

Lecture, May 8th

Josef Tewelde – Black Lives Matter

Lecture, May 22nd

Bridget Uche – Journalist and Afro-feminist Activist

Lecture, May 29th

Mahboba Islami – Surgeon and Feminist Activist

The students were involved in writing a short article for the project blog about the topics of the lectures. You can access the collection of students articles below:

Migrant Women’s Pregnancy

Laurea’s projects provide students to acquire research, development, and innovation expertise. Integrating the project into the study module can be accomplished in various ways. The ILO (International Learning Online) project facilitated the inclusion of an expert lecture in an existing study module. This expert lecture enabled employment promotion for highly educated professionals and the development of student’s skills in interacting with clients from immigrant backgrounds.

Empowering highly educated migrants

“Sharing such a personal story for a room full of total strangers must have required a lot of courage and strength” – the Erasmus+ project ILO is empowering highly educated migrants

TEXT | Tiina Wikström

Even today Europe is filled with many talented and well-educated migrants who are not able to share their expertise and skills in higher education institutions. The Erasmus+ project ILO (Intercultural Learning Online, 2022-2024), led by Laurea, is a good example of an international co-operation project that has succeeded in inviting highly educated migrants to participate in different educational university activities as lecturers and presenters in Finland, Belgium, Netherlands, Greece, and Italy. Such win-win activities promote the employment possibilities for talented migrants and give space to their much-needed skills in European scientific and educational communities.

ILO Co-Creation Workshop in Rome, 2022. Picture credit: Minttu Räty, Laurea.

This article describes some of the key points about such co-operation, realized during an intercultural Laurea course with ILO lectures and workshops, that might help also other actors planning to integrate migrant lecturers in their educational activities.

Shortly about the Erasmus+ project ILO

In 2020, the European Commission presented the new EU Action Plan on Integration and Inclusion (2021-2027) that focuses on promoting employment opportunities and skills recognition to fully value the contribution and merit of migrant communities, thus ensuring that they are supported to reach their full potential.

Following this EU Action Plan by making visible the varied skills and expertise of highly educated European immigrants, the ILO project supports their employment and integration in Europe and increases their opportunities to become active members of university communities in Finland, Netherlands, Italy, Greece, and Belgium. The ILO European partners include Maastricht University, Roma Tre University, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, European Migrant Platform, and Laurea University of Applied Sciences.

ILO Co-Creation Workshop in Rome, 2022. Picture credit: Minttu Räty, Laurea.

Between 2022-2024, the ILO project partners are organizing different shared courses, lecture series, workshops and panels where highly educated migrants can make visible their talents for example on such topics as interculturality, resilience, sustainable future business, social enterprises and leadership as well different co-creation methods. They are also invited to share their personal narratives that are of great importance when trying to understand the present European multicultural landscape. These types of activities are a win-win situation for all the participants – the migrants get much needed opportunities for lecturing and networking, the students get new views on intercultural and sustainability-related topics, and the university teaching staff learn new ways of co-operating with European migrants.

Flexibility and support when creating joint sessions

When starting to plan the shared lecture and workshop activities with different migrant lecturers, it is always good to have an open and flexible mindset and a desire to support the migrants in co-teaching activities. Giving enough time and space for ideation and planning brings always better results, and one needs to be prepared to give the necessary support for the visitors who are not familiar with the specific regulations and practices of varied European universities; what is maybe obvious for us might not be so for others. It is better to overexplain than just assume things.

It is natural that there will be different levels of academic and other skills both for the speakers and the audiences, and there are also cultural differences in teaching and learning styles. So, these topics might need to be addressed as well. In addition, it is good to analyze the needs of Bachelor and Master level courses as well as science university requirements versus the needs of universities of applied sciences.

Yet, it is also important to allow the presenters to talk about such themes that are meaningful and inspiring to them rather than just too strictly follow for example the curriculum or the course description. In this way, the presentation and following discussions can bring new, unexpected, and inspiring learning experiences for all those involved. Also, the migrant lecturers can bring fresh views for example on different intercultural topics, based on their personal experiences, and students often greatly appreciate these personal life stories and the possibility to engage in a dialogue with the lecturers. Oftentimes, the best stories are shared when creative freedom is allowed.

What about during and after the joint sessions?

ILO Co-Creation Workshop in Rome, 2022. Picture credit: Minttu Räty, Laurea.

There are also different points to consider during and after the joint sessions. During the sessions, it is good to have “a plan B” available at all times – anything can and may happen and things might quickly change for example with technology, especially if the speakers join online from different countries. So, patience and commitment are required from all the participants. It is also good to be prepared to use extra hours throughout the process – even if someone else delivers the class, you still need to be actively there and support the whole process.

Also, it might be a good idea to prepare the students beforehand, so they know what to expect. For example, one might need to explain certain things to bridge the gap of expectations – the students might have certain thematic or language skills expectations to migrant lecturers (or any lecturers for that matter), so it is wise to encourage flexibility and an open mind when noticing cultural differences. In addition, students might still be used to remain in the silos of their particular field of study, wondering what the importance of this topic is to them and their future working lives. Thus, the relevance of broad intercultural understanding and understanding of for example different sustainability-related themes can be discussed with the students prior the shared courses and workshops.

After the joint sessions, it is time for feedback that most probably will be both positive and somewhat critical, as usual. Here too the critical tones can be used for improving the shared courses or workshops, and the positive feedback needs to be also shared with the presenter for inspiration and encouragement. Another topic related to feedback is the feedback form – how to collect feedback from different formats of learning, such as co-teaching, lectures, or workshops. Different electronic forms might help when gathering fast the necessary feedback, but one might also wish to use for example learning diaries to collect more qualitative feedback for further development. Below there are some examples of the feedback provided by the ILO students. It is good to reserve enough time for feedback discussions afterwards, as there might be different issues or questions and feelings that need to be processed after the lectures and workshops. And finally, as in life, we cannot control everything, and often these surprise elements offer us the best learning moments.

The Erasmus+ project ILO warmly encourages all to find new and interesting forms of joint European learning with our talented migrants.

Some student Learning Diary comments after Erasmus+ ILO migrant lecturers’ presentations and workshops:

In the final seminar, our group came up with the idea of creating an anti-discrimination platform. Since all our group members were deeply impressed by the guest lecturer on the topic of discrimination, we decided to use this topic to create a product or service based on it.

I had not thought about sustainable finance this way, I need to keep this in mind for later use also in my work.

Could the reasons for the high unemployment rate of non-native people be summed up as racism, discrimination, and no networks?

Link to the Article on Laurea’s Journal Webpages

ILO-ROME by Upama

They say, when in Rome do as the romans do. While for me, The Roman experience went beyond meeting the locals and gave me an opportunity to network and engage in a multicultural setting. Thanks to the Intercultural Learning Online (ILO) project funded by Erasmus + and the European union, I was able to enjoy not only the ancient city but also develop my interpersonal and communication skills in this very interactive multicultural workshop.

The ILO project recognizes the lack of opportunities available for migrant background students and teachers in Europe and aims to tackle this issue. During the workshop the participants were divided into groups with a teacher representing one of the participating European universities as a facilitator. This was exciting since we got to work with students and teachers from different universities and the discussions were multi-faceted and multi perspective. Few topics that we discussed about in the workshop were multicultural communications, gender equality, empowering policies, and human rights.

On the final day all the groups took to the stage with their presentation on their ideas of how they plan to create an online intercultural exchange platforms and opportunities for migrants in the future. This was truly learning experience. Three days of interacting with students and teachers from different cultural background made the atmosphere that of a world village. With a farewell aperitif we bid goodbye to our new friends and colleagues with a promise to keep in touch. This workshop has given me an opportunity to see the importance of promoting multicultural learning. It has helped me connect with new people and has expanded my perspective. On my flight back home, I not only felt lucky to have had this profound experience of connecting with new people, but I also had a new found inspiration to make an impact in our ever diversifying society.

ILO- ROME by Dominic

ILO co-creation workshop aimed at building an online learning platform to promote integration, equity, cultural sustainability in the growing multicultural European societies. For me as student participant, it was an honour and an experience I will never forget because it was a great platform that gave me the insight about the experiences and opportunities of migrants across Europe. It is a kind of workshop I will always recommend for all students and lecturers across the world.

I learnt great ideas and got to know of new online tools that can be used to promote learning in various aspect of education. Meeting new people across the globe who by education have settled in different European countries was a fantastic experience for me. The organisers and facilitators were very open minded and were very ready for a feedback and this teaches me how to tolerate people from different backgrounds. The most interesting part for me was the team discussions and presentations. Participants were given topics to discuss and build a curriculum. This was an amazing moment for me because, I learnt different styles of putting your argument on board during discussions. Every person must experience this workshop.If you want to know about different cultures and learn new things, then ILO co-creation workshop is the best platform to take advantage of. Great workshop of all standard, thanks to the partner universities and the funders of this workshop.