Thursday, August 25, 2016

How To Help A Self-Admitted Prejudiced Person Change

Photo Credit: memotions
One of the biggest challenges we face in our own personal development is dealing with the prejudice we hold in our hearts towards those that are different than us.

Along with that, we also grapple with the knowledge that discussing these issues leads to the possibility of being accused a racist, which is potentially one of the greatest fears that well-meaning white people have.

For those of us that desire to deal with the uneasy places within our hearts, the tension of coming to grips with our prejudice AND the uncertainty of sharing about these dark places inside of us can leave many of us in a place of emotional paralysis, even as we are seeking to change and view others more positively.

On a recent episode of C-SPAN's "Washington Journal", Heather McGee, president of Demos Action, demonstrates a level of grace rarely seen today towards a self-admitted prejudiced person that wants to change. You can watch the interaction here. Please pay particular note to the suggestions that Ms. McGee offers to the caller.

This is a great model of how to enter into the journey of someone that wants to grow in this area but isn't sure how. Beyond the empathy that she demonstrates, the practical suggestions that Ms. McGee offers are quite helpful.

(HT: Black Voices)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Weekly Web Roundup (8/20/16)

Photo Credit: afunkydamsel
Here are some interesting stories from around the web that I've seen during this past week:

4 Types of People Leaders Must Not Listen To by Eric Geiger
"Wise leaders listen to wise people. Because the people we listen to impact our decisions, our attitudes, and our perceptions, it is critical that we listen to the right people. A leader who listens to the wrong people is just as foolish as a leader who doesn’t listen at all."
Helping College-Bound Native Americans Beat The Odds by Claudio Sanchez
"A test score, the GPA, the ranking, are things that an admissions officer doesn't remember. l'm not just looking for a diamond in the rough or the hard-knock life. They're not always in crisis. They're doing beautiful, amazing things. And I want colleges to recognize that."
What the Pro-Choice and Pro-Life Miss About Simone Biles by Aarol Earls
"As Simone Biles was clinching yet another gold medal in Rio, people on both sides of the abortion debate were pointing to her achievements and background as a justification for their position. 
But both miss out on a very important fact: Simone Biles has value not because she is a young woman inspiring the world or because she is a world champion gymnast who was adopted as a child. Simone has value simply because she is Simone."
The Fine Line Between Safe Space and Segregation by Emily Deruy
"Where most universities were designed around the needs and lives of white students, she said, and most white students can—and do—still avoid having uncomfortable conversations about race, black students “are never at a shortage” for uncomfortable racial conversations. In other words, white students can often elect not to engage in such conversations, where black students cannot escape them."
When Glorifying God Means Coming in Last Place by Stacie Fletcher

One of the most compelling stories of the Rio 2016 is when U.S. 5000m runner Abbey D’Agostino stopped to help fellow runner Nikki Hamblin to her feet after they both fell during the race. Cru staff member and friend Stacie Fletcher writes about how Abbey's faith influenced her decision.

Toddler Imitates Rocky

Watch along as a baby in this video mimics the movements of Rocky Balboa during a well-known training sequence from Rocky II.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

What Oprah & Ava DuVernay Get Right About Inclusion Vs. Diversity

Photo Credit: familymwr
In a recent joint interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Oprah Winfrey and film director Ava DuVernay touched on diversity within Hollywood and their success as black women in what has historically been a white man's world.

Interestingly, both DuVernay and Oprah mentioned their preference for the term of 'inclusion' instead of 'diversity.' Here is what they had to say:
DUVERNAY: We aren't sitting around talking about diversity, just like we aren't sitting around talking about being black or being women. We're just being that. 
WINFREY: I will say that I stand corrected. I used to use the word "diversity" all the time. "We want more diverse stories, more diverse characters …" Now I really eliminated it from my vocabulary because I've learned from her that the word that most articulates what we're looking for is what we want to be: included. It's to have a seat at the table where the decisions are being made. 
DUVERNAY: That was your take on it. 
WINFREY: When Sidney Poitier came to my school [in South Africa], he gave a gift of 550 movies to the girls. He thought if you watch these 550 movies, they'll be your education for life. He wrote to the girls that his dream for them was to be able to sit at the table of the future where the world's decisions would be made. I realize now that what he was saying is to be included, to be valued as a person who has something to contribute.
Diversity seems to be one of those buzzwords going around that many people use but few understand its meaning.

In its best sense, diversity is when people with all kinds of differences (e.g. race, ethnicity, class, socioeconomic status, gender, age, etc.) are able to join together in a common community and everyone is able to bring their whole selves without having to assimilate to the culture of another.

However, modern diversity often plays out with marginalized people having to leave their true selves at the door and assimilate into a dominant culture in order to have "a seat at the table." This kind of pseudo-community typically means that those within the dominant group don't have to yield any power nor sacrifice their comfort in any tangible way.

Because there are those that look different in the room, those in charge can feel good about themselves while not having to make any adjustments to how they've always done things.

But what true inclusion means is that not only is there a visible diversity of people in the room, but that diversity is represented in leadership styles, values and people being able to bring their full selves for the benefit of the group. It's beyond simply having a seat at the table. It means empowerment in making decisions, receiving and allocating funds, and having others having to adjust to the preferences of those different from them.

We can fool ourselves into thinking we're part of a diverse community when what it really may be is just a group with a few people present that are different than the dominate group. If those that are underrepresented don't hold significant roles of leadership, do not have a say in setting the priorities for the group and rarely see themselves represented among those platformed, then inclusion is not being realized.

Diversity can be a good thing but don't settle for that. Strive for an inclusive environment where the contributions of people from all ethnic groups and backgrounds are valued and appreciated.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Weekly Web Roundup (8/13/16)

Photo Credit: danzden
Here are some interesting stories from around the web that I've seen during this past week:

Don't Let Anyone Tell You Adoptive Parents Aren't Parents by Carrie Goldman

American gold medal gymnast Simon Biles is one of the breakout stars of the 2016 Rio Olympics. But NBC commentator Al Trautwig's initial refusal to refer to Biles' adoptive parents as her parents caused quite a stir. This article addresses the importance of language choice when referring to adoptive families.

Racial History of American Swimming Pools from The Bryant Park Project

Americans everywhere rejoiced when Simon Manuel became the first African American swimmer to earn an individual swimming gold medal in the Olympics. For African Americans, the feat was of particularly significance due to the complicated history that the black community has had with America's swimming pools. This feature explains why.

A Letter From Young Asian-Americans To Their Families About Black Lives Matter by Shereen Marisol Meraji and Kat Chow

NPR offers some quality commentary on how many younger Asian Americans find themselves at odds with their parents over their views and engagement with social justices issues, particularly the Black Lives Matter Movement.

The “Dreaded Glenn”: A Response to Ms. Gaye Clark by Bryan Loritts

A post on The Gospel Coalition website earlier this week ignited a controversy when writer Gaye Clark wrote a piece entitled, "When God Sends Your White Daughter a Black Husband." The post has since been removed but the response from Pastor Loritts is worth the read as he explains why he, along with so many others, were troubled by the article.

When Love Fills Your Heart by Dayle Rogers

A friend and co-worker, Michelle Beckman, went home to be with the Lord this week after a courageous several year battle with cancer. Michelle committed the best years of her life to serving middle school and high school students so that they could know the Savior that she loved so dearly. Dayle Rogers writes of her friendship with Michelle and offers a touching tribute highlighting the influence that Michelle's life had on so many.