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Statement on Belonging

College of Humanities

Brigham Young University

Statement on Belonging

We strive to cultivate mutual respect and empathy for all people, no matter their ethnicity, race, cultural background, or sexual orientation. Elder Ballard said at a BYU devotional in February 2020:
“Through discrimination, racism, sexism, and other social ills, we will often impose false identities on others that keep them and us from progressing. This can stop when we see all people as children
of God. We consider every person divine in origin, nature, and potential. Each possesses seeds of divinity. And ‘each is a beloved spirit [child] of heavenly parents.’”

We invite all to participate in open and honest inquiry in our classrooms where we deal with complicated social and moral issues. In these conversations we seek to. . .

  • Respect and value the contributions of people from backgrounds, religions, and cultures other than our own
  • Be aware of hurtful words and phrases
  • Learn about and understand different cultural traditions
  • Acknowledge discomfort when participating in class discussions about difficult topics
  • Speak up on behalf of those who may be hurt by harmful speech
  • Show willingness to work in groups with people of diverse backgrounds
  • Respond with humility and teachability when our words offend
  • Approach these issues with sincerity, respect, and compassion
  • Express tolerance, love, and understanding

We fall short of our ideals when we. . .

  • Behave as if one is morally superior for treating someone of another race with kindness or not recognizing that benevolent stereotypes can be condescending or paternalistic
  • Use words without understanding social context or the full range of a term’s meaning(s)
  • Expect that everyone in the Church shares similar cultural or political values
  • Tacitly accept derogatory, racist, or sexist language without calling it into question
  • Excuse or minimize the damage done by others—including leaders—who discriminate or are biased
  • Make assumptions about someone’s abilities or attributes based on the color of their skin or national origin
  • Assume on the basis of a person’s appearance or accent that they come from another country or have a certain immigration status
  • Presume that those who suffer from famine, poverty, crime, environmental disasters, or war brought those conditions upon themselves

The College of Humanities is attuned to the reality of an increasingly diverse Church membership. We aspire to better understand our own language and history, to use language to connect and
heal rather than to divide and harm. We invite students, staff, and faculty to use their time in our College to strive toward conduct worthy of Christian discipleship, where we are “no more strangers
and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19).