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Deborah Levine is an award-winning, best-selling author. As Editor of the American Diversity Report, received the 2013 Champion of Diversity Award from diversitybusiness.com and the Excellence Award from the Tennessee Economic Council on Women. Her writing about cultural diversity spans decades with articles published in The American Journal of Community Psychology, Journal of Public Management & Social Policy, The Bermudian Magazine, and The Harvard Divinity School Bulletin. She earned a National Press Association Award, is a Blogger with The Huffington Post, and is featured on C-Span/ BookTV.

And in walked Morgan – by Terry Howard

I didn’t know Morgan Spurlock. Never heard of him.

Until one recent Wednesday night. You see, several friends knew that I was toying with the idea of publishing something new in response to the recent explosion of sexual harassment/assault charges emerging almost daily against high profile men. And before the ink is dry on this piece more allegations are probably forthcoming.

But before I get to Spurlock’s “confession,” here’s a feedback request I sent out recently to a number of people, male and female, whose views I greatly value:

Given that women are coming forth sharing how they’d been harassed or assaulted years ago (the “me too” movement), my hunch is that many men are worriedly reflecting on their past relationships with women, hoping and praying that skeletons they recall (or don’t recall) don’t emerge and throw their current professional and personal lives into turmoil. So, what could these men do?

I propose that men in general (and some men in particular) should consider “truth and reconciliation acts” similar to what happened years ago in South Africa post-apartheid. Another example would be something similar to amnesty programs where illegal gun owners could turn in their weapons without fear of arrest. My point is that men would come clean with their past behavior – even if they did not do but witnessed the behavior and did nothing – ask for forgiveness and commit to becoming fighters in their advocacy for the respectful treatment of woman.

As I anticipated the responses were fast and furious. Here are a few:
“I like your idea – practical and humane, especially framing the ask for forgiveness with active advocating. I am concerned that in reality, fewer women will be hired or included in leadership to avoid messy situations. There needs to be active hiring, mentoring, & promotion involved – with metrics! “- Female company president
“I think this is a fantastic start to a much needed movement! It touches on more than one facet where thinly disguised misogyny and patriarchal notions are concerned. I look forward to a place of healing and forgiveness for (us) survivors.   – Female, public school educator

“Not all actions are equal. The difference between rape and an unwanted touch on the shoulder is enormous. To me, throwing them into the same category — call it sexual harassment or whatever — blurs the focus on truly egregious behavior. Your suggestion, though interesting, is not without its flaws.“      –Male college administrator

“We’ve seen the dumbing-down of such important concepts as privilege and micro-aggressions through their inordinate expansion into covering almost every word or action. I would hate to see the same thing happen with sexual harassment. As for a formal process of confessing, at this point I would neither support nor encourage anyone to participate in it.  We went through this in the 1970’s when some white people publicly confessed to being “recovering racists” to the mechanical applause of those hearing their confessions. My guess is that this process probably did more harm than good. I would hate to see something similar occur with regard to male-female relations”.    – Male consultant

“I wouldn’t dare do that and most men wouldn’t either. That would expose us legally and may even encourage those we may have had a past consensual relationship with to “suddenly” become victims. Nice try Terry but a bad, idea.” – Male college director
Hum, “bad idea?” That sent my suggestion back to the back burner.
But then came Morgan Spurlock who preemptively “outed” himself and, perhaps, added a bit of credence to my suggestion.
Recently Spurlock admitted his own long history of sexual misconduct. The “Super Size Me” creator, who wrote that he “built a career on finding the truth,” shared a detailed account of his misconduct stretching back to his college days in a confessional blog post that he tweeted with the note, “I am Part of the Problem.”

“As I sit around watching hero after hero, man after man, fall at the realization of their past indiscretions, I don’t sit by and wonder ‘who will be next?’ he began. “I wonder, ‘when will they come for me?’ ”
Is a confessional a bad idea?

Maybe.
Then again, maybe not!

A New Year Journal – by Martin Kimeldorf

Across all ages or stages of life we ask different questions of a similar nature. I think the most enduring questions were penned by the FitzGerald-Khayyám Rubáiyát team when they asked, Why are we here? Where have we come from? Where are we going? At each life-stage the questions take different forms. When younger we ask Who Am I? Then at midlife we ponder: Is This All There Is? and Where Am I Going? And finally in old age as we review our journey, we ask How Have I Lived My Life? and How Do I Want To Be Remembered? Of course all these questions can all be asked repeatedly at any age.

On New Years Eve 2017 we bade adieu to one of the historically worst years of our lives. Certainly we enjoyed some good moments, but overall a darkness descended when that old suicidal devil revealed his ugly Trump face, and made appearances in Europe, the Middle and Far East, and Africa. While summing up the well-lived and terrified parts of that year, Judy asked, “I wonder if I have lived a small life?” Of course she is not asking about size, and rather if her life mattered.

As humans we can only use ourselves as a measuring stick. We stand squarely at the midpoint point between the microscopic and cosmic. On one hand we diddle with our genetic codes that drive much of our physical existence. I would also argue that our gene codes holds our inherited instructions for much of our mortal journey. Then at the other end, we jet out to the edge of our solar system and look back at Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot and see our tremendous insignificance.

An interpretation of Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot image
In 1993 Sagan wrote in his Pale Blue Dot book (and speech) the following words:

     In the photograph, Earth’s apparent size is less than a single pixel; the planet appears as a tiny dot against the vastness of space, among bands of sunlight scattered by the camera’s optics…That’s home. That’s us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives.

     The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there – on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.

     The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

When Judy asks the question about living a small life it is not about the size. She runs up against Carl’s words about our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe. Our physical size is infinitesimally small, the word insignificance does not adequately describe the accomplishment of our species, our communities, our individual stories….all of which disappear within the blink of cosmic or geological time. When my uncle’s opera the Blue Plum Tree hero wales upon the stage, “Who will remember me now?” the answer comes in the form of silence.

For me, a small life means living in a small self-contained world whether a blue dot or our physical body. But it is through our adaptive intelligence that we escape the limits of our small selves. As Martin Luther King once noted, “Everyone can be great because everyone can serve.” Thus, we achieve greatness when we reach out beyond the limits of our individual selves.

Reaching beyond takes many forms. If we pursue a liberal arts education we study our literature, art, history, and politics. We realize we belong to more than a single family or tribe or nation. This was captured best in Edward Steichen’s photo-exhibit and book The Family of Man brought to life in the 1950s, in the middle for the cold war growing into a hot war.

When we return to Sagan’s and King’s reflections (and most progressive religious and scientific thinkers) the measure of a life can be found in Winston Churchill words: We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. Our importance is not found in our size but in how we imagine we transcending our individual size and purpose. And this is best measured in how we contribute to our community. It is the how and why the ape-creature survived and eventually flourished in a jungle dominated by dangerously large obstacles and creatures. As we forget this truth, we forget our way, we forget our homo-sapiens purpose.

MK-Quatrain CXXXII

Our pale blue dot barely seen in sunlight, where chosen peoples justify their fight. Will our insignificance teach the value
of working together in the vast dark night?

Time is the only wealth we truly inherit at birth. As we age we see how our health becomes a foundation for enjoying this wealth. Our well-being often reflects the sum or our physical and emotional states. Learning how to laugh to survive strengthens these states. The right to laugh comes with the freedom to cry before the daily cruelties and disappointments that cross our paths. The size of our life is often enhanced by spending our wealth on others.

A small life is limited to it’s home, it’s accumulation, it’s appetites. A large life studies the starry night, tries to grasp the significance of tiny carbon monoxide molecules, applauds the grand gesture of erecting a bridge, and keeps clapping for those who reach across time and space to help others ravaged by natural and man-made disasters. On the day-to-day level, we still get up to fry an egg in the morning, but we pause long enough to consider how that egg got to our home, how the frying pan was fashioned from the earth, the magical heat that instantly appears on the stove, and the blessing of time enough with which to prepare and consume the meal…no longer limited to being hunters and gatherers.

In the end, the larger life begins in the mind and is nourished across time by the heart’s emotions. Our lives expand beyond our reach, beyond our mortal stature, when we both pursue large thoughts and humbly perform small acts of kindness. In this manner we break the bondage of our smaller selfish selves. Escaping the tiny, insignificant life is built on following our natural curiosity and life-long learning. It grant us a moment of awe when staring at the night sky. Our small creative and compassionate acts enlarge the footprint we leave behind in times temporary sands.

Yes Judy, you and I can gently exhale, knowing we made an effort to look beyond our narcissist reflection. And yes, no one may remember us, or what we did. And, like others, we will return to sleep with the stardust from which we originally sprang. In this fashion we complete a heavenly cycle and rejoin the larger life that belongs to what I call the Greater Continuity.

Robyn LeBron – Interfaith Peace Advocate

Robyn LeBron is a member and contributor to WorldAnglican.com.  She is the Manager-Moderator of Interfaith Professionals on LinkedIn where she advances the interfaith movement by connecting interfaith groups to maximize their efforts.  Robyn is the author of two books, Searching for Spiritual Unity…Can There be Common Ground? and The Search for Peace in Times of Chaos.

CLICK bottom of graphic for podcast…

Calendars & Religious Diversity – by Deborah Levine

Religious Diversity is one of the most challenging, controversial, and complex issues of our time. Few diversity professionals speak on the topic, but it’s my passion and I recently gave a seminar on it at a conference at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Why had these business professionals and administrators chosen this particular session to attend? Some were curious, “I have a general interest in religious diversity, especially learning about other religious traditions.” Others were focused on the application of new information, “I want to understand more about religious diversity so that I can better interact with people from all religious backgrounds.” Our discussion focused not only on the university, but also on business, “I need to increase my understanding and ability to competently work with clients who identify as religious.”

Continue reading Calendars & Religious Diversity – by Deborah Levine

#MeToo, Three, Four, and Five: A Thought Leadership Moment – by Deborah Levine

Why have women waited so long to tell their stories of sexual harassment, discrimination, pedophilia, abuse, and discrimination? How do we as individuals and as a nation process this tidal wave of information as people come forward? I’ve hesitated to tell my stories of sexual harassment because I’ve never been able to comprehend and digest them. The first time I experienced my feminine vulnerability, I was only four years old. I was playing outside in the garden of our home in Bermuda, when a teen-age neighbor squatted down next to me as I was playing with my favorite marbles in the garden. Smiling at me, he reached under my skirt and stroked my privates through my underpants. Before he walked away, he made me promise not to tell my father, silencing me.

Continue reading #MeToo, Three, Four, and Five: A Thought Leadership Moment – by Deborah Levine

Regional Diversity: Going Southern with a Holiday Offer

Regional diversity is a major factor in today’s world but how often do we include it in our training?  The US Southeast is a poster child for the regional-national-global culture clashes that we are all experiencing. Check out my Going Southern video podcast and my interview with CSPAN-BOOK TV.  Scroll down and take advantage of my holiday discount offer of my e-book,  Going Southern: the No-Mess Guide to Success in the South.

VIDEO PODCAST  – CLICK  at bottom of photo…

CLICK BELOW  for CSPAN-BOOKTV INTERVIEW

CLICK for Holiday Discount e-Book:
GOING SOUTHERN: THE NO-MESS GUIDE TO SUCCESS IN THE SOUTH

Carol Potter: From Screen & Stage to Therapist

Carol PotterDiversity includes multi-talented women with surprising career paths.  With an acting career spanning over 40 years,  Carol is best known for her role as Cindy Walsh in Aaron Spelling’s Beverly Hills 90210, among many other TV credits.  She has also been seen on stages in New York, including the original Broadway production of Gemini, Los Angeles, and regional theater.

A Harvard graduate, she became a Licensed Marriage and Family therapist in 2001.

Click below to hear Carol’s podcast…