Stereotyped 101 ™
By Carrie George, Brittney Prather
Humorist, motivational speaker, TV & radio personality, actress, author, blogger and entrepreneur – A women of humor, smarts and ambition. Who is this amazing person?
Her name is Karith Foster.
On Sept. 13, Kent State’s Public Relations Student Society of America, the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and student media hosted a successful diversity event featuring Foster.
Inversity > Diversity
In Foster’s Stereotyped 101: An Exploration in Unconscious Bias speech, she emphasized that she didn’t want to have your typical conversation about diversity.
“I think the word ‘diversity’ has been hijacked,” Foster explained.
Instead, she used her own word: Inversity. At this point some of you might be confused and say “Wait..what? That’s not even a word, I’m confused!” But don't worry, just take a breath because an explanation is to come!
Inversity is Foster’s approach to take division out of diversity. She explained that it’s about introspection, understanding your worth, your reality, and where you come from.
This was such an interesting concept because it was something new and fresh. Inversity makes you question what you say and do on a daily basis. It makes you ask yourself, “Am I being inclusive? Am I doing all that I can to alleviate the tensions that exist among our society?”
So how were the students of Kent so lucky to have such an incredible speaker come to the university? Well a round of applause should be awarded to Kent’s very own PRSSA chapter president, Latisha Ellison. Ellison heard Foster speak previously at a national PRSSA conference, and knew that her inspiring message needed to be brought back to Kent as soon as possible.
Ellison said Foster’s speech at the conference both touched her and made her laugh, and she wanted others to have that same experience.
“We are always trying to work on our diversity and inclusion, and it’s not always easy,” Ellison said. “[Foster] is the perfect person to keep us moving forward."
Francesca Barrett, sophomore public relations major and treasurer of PRSSA Kent, researched Foster before attending the event.
“She’s funny as heck,” Barrett said. “She really puts life in perspective.”
“I rely on humor as not only a mode of communication, but as a coping mechanism,” - Karith Foster
“I think that is a big thing in life: finding humor from pain,” Foster said.
Foster also uses comedy to spread positivity, and added that she would never use her comedy to spread negativity about people.
All you need to do is C.A.R.E! What does this mean? Foster explained that the goal of the program was to have students C.A.R.E., an acronym that stands for conscious empathy, active listening, responsible reactions and environmental awareness.
Foster asked the audience: “Are you reaching out to students who are different to you, or are you staying in your own little bubble because it’s safe?”