On Monday the nation will pause to observe the annual holiday honoring the life and legacy of iconic civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Yet too many Millennials and members of their younger cohort, Generation Z, consider civil rights history as ancient history at the dawn of a new millennium.
However, there are profound and poignant lessons which today’s young people need to learn. The most important lesson is how to make major changes in society through the type of peaceful means championed by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his fellow civil rights leaders of the time.
Following the death of George Floyd and the subsequent protests, the number of diversity-related jobs increased significantly as organizations worked to address issues that could no longer be ignored. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) became more important as organizations launched initiatives focusing on making meaningful change. While some organizations simply increased their diversity efforts, others created new positions focused on diversity. These positions ranged from entry-level jobs to executive-level positions and spanned all types of organizations including academia. Indeed.com reported that diversity, inclusion, and belonging (DI&B) job postings increased by 123% between May and September of 2020.
How will India respond in 2022 to this regressive stance towards women?
In December, 2021, millions of secondary school students in India appeared for their Class X (Grade 10) exams conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).
Since its inception in the 1920s, the Board has gone through several changes and emerged as one of the largest such organisations in the world, with more than 25,000 school — based in India and other countries — affiliated to it. Each year, about 2 million students take the secondary board exams.
Carlos: Steve, now that you’ve retired as Associate Director of Residence Life at the University of Maryland, College Park, I would love to get your thoughts about the changing nature of student speech.In the twenty-five years that I worked with your department, I saw many changes.
Steve: You’re right.The two of us certainly had fun designing our Common Ground program back in the 1990s.That program would bring together diverse groups of students – sometimes more than a dozen – to discuss current equity dilemmas.A series of four, 90-minute dialogue sessions, all framed around a single provocative question.Should laws governing abortion be changed?Should universities use intentional methods to diversify their student populations?Rousing and illuminating conversations.
My name is Ken Granderson. I was born in New York City in 1963, and grew up in a blue-collar household. Like most Black Americans, I grew up in a religious background surrounded by both very religious and very sincere adults.
I have no negative experiences to speak of from my days growing up in the church. The church I attended tended was very moderate and the biggest thing that we kids had to worry about was strict older church ladies.
And it is safe to say that I’ve been a Humanist my entire life – long before I ever learned the word.
Many diversity trainers tell me that they steer clear of religion.Not me.Faith discussions are always welcome in my workshops.I love talking about religion. Maybe that’s because of how I grew up.
Some people are reared in a strong religious tradition. Others with none.I grew up in a home with two faith traditions. To this day that experience affects the way I view the world around me.
Consider the opening lines of my memoir, Rose Hill: An Intermarriage before Its Time.“Dad was a Mexican Catholic. Mom was a Kansas City-born Jew with Eastern European immigrant parents. They fell in love in Berkeley, California, and married in Kansas City, Missouri.That alone would not have been a big deal. But it happened in 1933, when such marriages were rare. And my parents spent most of their lives in Kansas City, a place both racially segregated and religiously divided. Mom and Dad chose to be way ahead of their time; I didn’t.But because of them, I had to be. My mixed background meant that, however unwillingly, I had to learn to live as an outsider.”
Though she died six weeks ago, Marilyn Golden is with me in her wheelchair at the start of the ADA Accessible Trail in the Nags Head Woods Preserve. An eye-catching sign points the way into the forest. This is her doing. The New York Times described her, in its obituary, as a “lynchpin” in the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Marilyn and I grew up together in San Antonio. Our birthdays were a month apart. We went to the same synagogue and sometimes sat in our beloved Mrs. Durham’s high school English classes together. We skipped out of other classes to meet friends and expound on the meaning of life, social justice and Grateful Dead lyrics. Marilyn was brilliant. Funny. Tenacious. She dug deeply into any argument and every detail, and never gave up.
Consider the tremendous economic opportunity inherent in a single percentage point. Think about the enormous economic impact of moving the needle of progress along a pathway toward racial equity by just a single percentage point.
First, let’s define the term, “racial equity” to establish a common frame of reference and understanding. For many, racial equity refers to equitable access to resources and opportunity. That definition is accurate but incomplete. In the realm of homeowners, business owners and investors, “equity” refers to “ownership.” Equitable ownership of lands, homes, businesses and intellectual property are valued assets that can be passed onto future generations as “generational wealth.” This is a more complete definition of racial equity in measurable terms.
It certainly would be easier if everybody used words the same way.Clearer communication.Fewer misunderstandings.But no such luck.Words mean what people make them mean.And people make meaning differently.
Sociolinguists refer to the idea of floating signifiers: words that mean more than one thing. For example, when one person says X meaning A, but another person hears X but understands it to mean B. This constantly happens in diversity discussions.
Take the word justice.Ask ten people what it means and you may get ten very different answers.When people in one of my workshops or classrooms start talking about social justice and I ask them individually what they mean, I am likely to get as many different answers as there are people in the room.Lots of virtue signaling; little clear communication.
Edward A. Dickson Lecture University of California, Riverside
In February, 2018, I began a new scholarly odyssey.I became an inaugural fellow of the University of California National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement.
In my fellowship application I proposed the following question: “over the past fifty years, why have so many diversity advocates become opposed to our nation’s hallowed tradition of free speech?”However, I soon discovered that I had asked the wrong question.Instead my question became “over the past fifty years, what has happened when two worthy values collide: inclusive diversity and robust speech?”
Today I invite you to accompany me on part of my personal odyssey.This involves two acts followed by a brief epilogue.Please join the conversation by posting questions and comments in the chat box.I’ll also pause for a few minutes of discussion following each of the three segments.And if the digital gods should step in and freeze me for a minute or so, please hang around.Like the Terminator, I’ll be back.
Act One will focus on speech, primarily through the lens of diversity.Act Two will address diversity, primarily through the lens of speech.In the epilogue, I will suggest what I think lies ahead for the intersection of diversity and speech.