If you want an example of how NOT to do diversity, please see this university's tweets

Our society has come a long way when it comes to acknowledging and celebrating diversity in its many forms. At least we like to think we have.

The problem is that sometimes, instead of elevating historically marginalized people, leveling the playing field, or genuinely seeking different perspectives, "diversity" becomes a paper goal and yet another way to pay lip service to progress while actually inflicting harm.

Case in point: This tweet by the University of Missouri Athletics Department.


@brvand0/Twitter

As explained by The Riverfront Times:

"There seems to be a clear difference in the messages displayed between white and black student athletes. There was gymnast Chelsey Christensen — 'I am a future doctor"'— and swimmer/diver CJ Kovac — "'I am a future corporate financer.' Opposite them were two black student athletes, whose texts did not include the word 'future' or even mention their areas of study. Instead, runner Arielle Mack is shown stating only, 'I am an African American woman.'

Similarly, Chad Jones-Hicks — who appears to not be a student athlete, but rather a 'Ticket Office Assistant' according to Mizzou's website — is shown stating only, 'I value equality.'

I'm sorry, what?

The tweet was quickly called out for its…what do you even call this? Absurdity? Offensiveness? Bizarre lack of awareness of how racist and wrong putting those images and words together was?

Identifying the two white athletes by their future careers, but not the two black athletes, is a choice that can only be steeped in conscious or unconscious perceptions of race. I can't see any other explanation. What's baffling is how no one involved in the making or sharing of the images seemed to notice the problem.

RELATED: A teacher had her 8th graders write 'funny' captions under slavery-era photos. Seriously, WTF.

The school tried to apologize for their "mistake" and smooth things over by sharing a video of the athletes describing themselves. In the video, the words shared with their images are shown to be their own quotes—"I am an African American woman," for example—but those same athletes also shared their future career goals as well.

Why on earth would you pick these quotes to accompany the photos and not the same career-oriented ones shared with the white athletes? Why would you not put "I am a future physical therapist" instead of "I am an African American woman," when we can see her race quite clearly from the photo? Why would "I value equality" be at all a compelling identifier? Isn't that just a given?

Another image shared by Mizzou showed black athlete Caulin Graves with a banner said that, "I am a brother." Really? The vast majority of males on the planet are brothers, not to mention the allusion to the colloquial use of 'brother' in the black community. Graves' full quote in the video was "I am a brother, uncle, and best of all, I am a leader." Why on God's green earth would you choose "I am a brother" over "I am a leader"?

Writer and speaker Ally Henny, who frequently addresses issues of race in society, explained why the images drew immediate ire on her Facebook page.

She wrote:

"This story is what you get when you view black, brown, and indigenous bodies as a deviation from the norm and inherently political. This 'attempt' at equity and inclusion demonstrates how people at this institution in particular and white people in general have a lack of imagination when it comes to black athletes.

Black athletes are seen as people who bring their beloved institutions and teams money, but they have no real value beyond the physical labor they produce that brings their institution prestige.White athletes, in contrast, are perceived to have a future beyond college sports. They are 'future [fill in the blanks].'

Black athletes are there so people will think that their racist school in their racist little town isn't actually racist. Their majors don't matter. Their aspirations don't matter. Their futures don't matter. The only thing that matters is that NCAA money."

We clearly still have a ways to go on the racism front, folks.

RELATED: Using the 'dictionary definition of racism' defense is a sure sign you don't understand racism.

If you're looking for an example of how not to do a diversity announcement, this is it. It's also worth pointing out that diversity and inclusion shouldn't need a self-shout-out on Twitter anyway. An institution that manages to create an environment that truly enables and embraces diversity, and does so in a way that is meaningful and beneficial to those it seeks to include, will speak for itself. No slogans or hashtags needed.

And until such environments becomes the norm, campaigns such as this will keep missing the mark.

True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

4-year-old New Zealand boy and police share toys.

Sometimes the adorableness of small children is almost too much to take.

According to the New Zealand Police, a 4-year-old called the country's emergency number to report that he had some toys for them—and that's only the first cute thing to happen in this story.

After calling 111 (the New Zealand equivalent to 911), the preschooler told the "police lady" who answered the call that he had some toys for her. "Come over and see them!" he said to her.

The dispatcher asked where he was, and then the boy's father picked up. He explained that the kids' mother was sick and the boy had made the call while he was attending to the other child. After confirming that there was no emergency—all in a remarkably calm exchange—the call was ended. The whole exchange was so sweet and innocent.

But then it went to another level of wholesome. The dispatcher put out a call to the police units asking if anyone was available to go look at the 4-year-old's toys. And an officer responded in the affirmative as if this were a totally normal occurrence.

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