The debate over Black History Month is not new, but it intensified when the Oscar nominees were all Caucasian and earned the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite. Provoked an outcry, it raised questions about the existence of Black Entertainment Television awards (BET) and whether it hurt rather than helped African Americans in Hollywood.
“Either we want to have segregation or integration. And if we don’t want segregation, then we need to get rid of channels like BET and the BET Awards and the Image Awards, where you’re only awarded if you’re black. If it were the other way around, we would be up in arms. It’s a double standard, ” said actress Stacey Dash in Variety. .
The controversy also involves Black History Month. My conversations with friends showed considerable ambivalence. Some felt that limiting the recognition of African Americans to one month was not helpful. Recognition and respect should be awarded throughout the year. Further, they felt that Black History should be seen as American History. Luronda Jennings, a member of Chattanooga’s Lean In – Women GroundBreakers, expressed her views. “Although Black History awareness is extremely valuable, I feel that once the entire human race respects and embraces American history and the uniqueness of all individuals, we will begin to move forward with positive change.” Another member of the group, Tina Player, shared similar thoughts, “Black should be recognized every day and not focused on one month of the year. We as a people are important and each of us has a story to tell.”
Hopes for a time when Black History Month will be obsolete were joined by a down-to-earth perspective. Voicing concern that young people learn little about Black History in school, they were reluctant to reject events marking Black History Month. Too few youngsters know about prominent African Americans beyond The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
If there was no Black History Month, would there would be any recognition at all? Current censorship of race-related history suggest that instead of becoming more comfortable together as some claim, we’ll enter a culture war. Casting us adrift from our culturally diverse roots to achieve a more perfect union has never worked.. I have always said that attempts to “Homogenize NOT Harmonize” only alienates and creates more discomfort and conflict, not less. Perhaps the best solution is to use the tools of Black History Month to advocate for more visibility and equity.
Editor-in-Chief Deborah Levine of the American Diversity Report has now been named Silver Ambassador as a humanitarian supporter for promoting culture of the Books for Peace International Award.
Dear Noblewoman Ms. Levine,
I feel embarrassed to write to you because our small prize can never be as great as your culture, as your immense soul, as your immense heart, as your wonderful and immense literary capacity.
You enclose the essence of the Woman, the Friend, the Artist, the Poetess, the Woman of today with the ethical and moral values of other times. You are a unique woman.
THANK YOU FOR EXISTING, thank you for accepting our recognition.
Editor’s Note: This was the introductory presentation at the 2021 Diversity Town Hall in partnership with the Gary W. Rollins College of Business /U. of TN at Chattanooga (Moderator Dr. Gail Dawson) and the American Diversity Report.
I appreciate both the eagerness and anxiety about the future of the diverse workplace and I’m often asked to predict what that future will look like. Predicting the future requires looking at the past – at the history of the diversity field and how it developed. I’ll get personal here and go back to New York City 40 years ago. I had just graduated college with a degree in anthropology based on cultural structuralism along with the science of storytelling. I was excited about getting a job, but was considered esoteric and irrelevant. And female. No one would hire me. Still hopeful, I went to an employment agency in Manhattan. As soon as I walked in the door, the office manager insisted that I sit at the all-women’s table and take a typing test. I said no and moved to sit at the all-men’s table where they were interviewed for executive positions. The manager said no. I insisted, he physically blocked me. I insisted again, he threatened to call the police.
Every year, we struggle to resist the temptation minute to minute to sugar ourselves. It begins with Halloween candy and proceeds to Thanksgiving dinner, exploding with holiday eating extravaganzas with the year’s tastiest foods. By the New Year, the scale shows our over-indulgence. It’s no coincidence that 12% of gym members join in January.
Given COVID, I suspect that the number of Americans suffering from the obesity-related disease of diabetes will surpass the 30 million when I first wrote this 3 years ago. Did you know that the ten states with the highest rates of type 2 diabetes were here in the South? The same region where COVID vaccinations are so often rejected.
Both my mother and brother had breast cancer that spread and was joined by other cancers. During Breast Cancer Month, I am compelled to write about the loss of these loved ones. I often stress the breast cancer that my brother Joe experienced, because too many of us think that breast cancer is a women-only disease. So, this is an ode to Joe. Not only do I write for men with breast cancer, but for all those experiencing the loss of loved ones to cancer, especially the siblings with whom we expect to experience old age together.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) of the future
October 2021: American Diversity Report presented its 2nd annual Diversity Town Hall in partnership with the Gary W. Rollins College of Business at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC). Speaking virtually, the panel of business leaders explored the relationship of business and community in creating the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) of the future.
Dr. GAIL DAWSON Associate Professor of Management
Director of Diversity and Inclusion
Gary W. Rollins College of Business/UTC
President and Chief Executive Officer – U.S. Xpress
DEBORAH LEVINE Founder/Editor/Consultant – American Diversity Report
DAVID ORTIZ Corporate Diversity Officer, former board member – La Paz
LORNE STEEDLEY Vice President for Diversity and Inclusive Growth – Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce
NOTE: The Town Hall is also the October Black-Jewish Dialogue in partnership with: American Diversity Report, Chattanooga News Chronicle, Mizpah Congregation, Jewish Federation of Greater Chattanooga, Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda (C.U.R.B. )
This is a the time to educate about the US community:
On average, this community is 6 years younger than the median and 6 out of 10 Are millennials or younger. They are currently 40% of the labor force growth and 8 out of 10 new businesses are Latino-owned. They are 54% of projected population growth (2017-2027) and 74% of new US workers are Hispanic. They are a vital part of the US making up 18% of active enlisted military and 19 million are essential workers. See the Hispanic Heritage Month Tool Kit for more information.
Hispanic Nurse Heroes and Scholarships
Hispanic Heritage Month represents an opportunity to address the accelerating shortage of nurses while ensuring that the Hispanic community is seen, heard and valued.
The partnership between the Carlyle Impact Foundation and Hispanic Star recently raised scholarship funds that will enable Hispanics to pursue careers as nurses. The launch of the program included the video premiere of Jennifer Lopez introducing the Nurse Heroes Hispanic Star Choir, singing the official Spanish version of America’s National Anthem, “El Pendón Estrellado.”
“Last year we saw the contributions and sacrifices of 19 million Hispanics, who served as essential workers everywhere. While 1 in 5 worked in healthcare, the percentage of Latino nurses is disproportionately small compared to the critical need of new nurses. These scholarships will create new opportunities for Hispanics who are eager to fill the nursing gap but do not have the means to do so,” said Claudia Romo Edelman, Founder and CEO of the We Are All Human Foundation. “This is a perfect realization of the Hispanic Star’s mission to unify Latinos and mobilize support from the private sector to accelerate the advancement of the community.
“In less than 3 years there will be a shortage of 1 million nurses in the United States. We are proud to join with Hispanic Star to tap into the Hispanic community to help build the next generation of nurses. We are proud to have a program that not only addresses a looming crisis, but also advances the cause of diversity and inclusion,” stated Alex Charlton, Chairman & CEO, Carlyle Global Partner.
While leadership training will often include issues related to Diversity & Inclusion, few programs include instruction in religious diversity. Yet, cultural awareness, cultural competence, global leadership, and cross-cultural communication are embraced as the tools of the market place of the future. What accounts for this black hole of information on diverse religions? One has only to turn on the TV, open a newspaper, or check the internet headlines to see that religion is a major factor in interactions across the planet. It is both puzzling and disturbing that a virtual vacuum of expertise exists in the relationship-oriented sectors of our society: business, education, government, and human services. Trying to avoid culture clash of belief systems can result in a paralyzing sense of being overwhelmed and under-prepared. Too many leaders are left scrambling for strategies and resources designed to turn the religious diversity novice into an expert.
This paper explains creative approaches to religious diversity and tolerance based on the cultural anthropology theories of Claude Lévi-Strauss. My research was conducted through case studies beginning with a 1990 pilot project in a globalization context, Chicago’s suburban technical corridor. This first case study, the DuPage Interfaith Resource Network (DIRN), pioneered strategies for managing religious conflicts due to changing demographics.
DIRN developed religious literacy strategies and administrative policies within the public schools, a major conflict arena, and were adopted by community service organizations including law enforcement, healthcare, and nonprofit NGOs. The strategies were coupled with programs based on storytelling for greater impact.
The second case study took place in Tulsa, Oklahoma, following the domestic terrorism of the Oklahoma City bombing. In this phase, Oklahoma’s Say No to Hate Coalition adapted the ground work of DIRN to an environment that included active hate groups.
The third case study was generated by the Women’s Council on Diversity in Chattanooga, Tennessee. A combined story-based communication, emotional intelligence, and problem solving system evolved and was field tested in leadership workshops. The resulting Matrix Model Management System emerged through my cross-cultural communication textbook and workbook.
Chattanooga’s final research phase was prompted by a domestic terrorism incident. The System became a cognitive technology built on the platform of combined coalition strategies and religious literacy. The emphasis underscored problem solving and the unconscious bias involved in decision making. The cognitive technology is codified in my Un-Bias Guide Series which has a broad applicability for corporations, NGOs, education institutions, and government agencies.