Category Archives: Authors I-Q

ADR Authors by last name I-Q

Talking to Children about Race – By Jonathan Miller

I raised my hand during kindergarten class in 1979 when I was 5-years old and announced that I’m black. I actually got up on my feet to say it. I am black. And then afterward I sat back down again. I don’t remember what we were supposed to be doing at the time.

In and of itself, this announcement wasn’t all that unusual. The teacher was black, and we were sitting on the carpet of a classroom in the Washington DC area, which meant that plenty of the children around me were also black. What I said wasn’t glaringly out of place, if you can forgive the timing of it. The real problem with what I said—and the reason why the children laughed and I was sent to the principal’s office—was that I am not black.

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Diversity: Education’s Greatest Challenge? – by Altha Manning

In my last article for American Diversity Report, “Embrace Diversity, Embrace the Future”, I used the example of Zanzibar and how the people there appeared to deal with diversity by accepting differences of other cultures including religion without co-mingling or requiring others to bend to the will of any one group.  However, since my visit there and writing that article, I have discovered that more recently, Muslim youth riding on motorcycles threw acid on the faces and bodies of three American young females who were walking through the streets of Zanzibar on their last evening in the city.  The girls were at the end of their mission to help out in the area and were going to celebrate their stay there.  They will forever be scarred both emotionally and physically by this experience.  This example simply shows how fragile our cultural stability is as mobility of the world’s people increases at a rapid pace and the introduction of new ideas, ways and cultures are seen as a threat to the old established ways.

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They Pushed Segregation Out — by Altha Manning

They came in colorful garb, full of energy and engaged in lively and loud conversations in their native language. During recess they played their rhythmic music with the salsa beat occasionally swirling their hips and did the cha cha cha. They clung to their own, sensing the disdain that the “owners” of this great institution had for them. They were the unwelcomed intruders; they reeked of happiness and gleefully shared their joy with each other. They were the Cubans who came to America by the  boatloads and were perceived as different from the earlier arrivals who had “fit in” better and were more like the owners of their new homeland meaning they were more “white”, wealthy, at least educated and of the professional and middle class. These earlier forbearers were more likely to fit into the existing order.

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Embrace Diversity, Embrace the Future — by Altha Manning

When the issue of diversity is raised, most think of race and ethnicity.  Although these topics are very important, they are just the tip of the iceberg. The lens through which we see the world is significantly influenced by the whole of our life experiences. Factors such as socioeconomic status, gender, religion, occupation, language, where we live, cultural background and a host of other factors are all critical components of the concept of diversity.

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Racism and Prejudice Among Healthcare Workers — by Gay Moore

Providing patient care without regard to race, ethnicity, gender, or religion is a core value of all medical professionals. However, do they extend the same level of tolerance, stand against prejudice, with other members of their profession?

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Myths, Reality, and Solutions of Native American Alcoholism — by Gay Moore

Beginning in colonial America, the myth of the drunken Indian persisted throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. The current, more “enlightened,” explanation for the high incidence of alcoholism among Native Americans, concludes that since they were exposed to alcohol for only the past few hundred years, they were genetically unprepared and, therefore, have little genetic “immunity.” American Native people, therefore, have little tolerance for alcohol, become intoxicated on small amounts, and, consequently, experience high rates of alcoholism. This belief, like many others concerning Native American culture, adds to the stereotype of genetic inferiority that continues to influence white American thinking.

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The Values & Value in Diversity — by Susan Popoola

If the truth be told, I wasn’t considered to be a diversity expert until I wrote a book, Consequences: Diverse to Mosaic Britain, which touches on the subject.  I am, however, a Black British female of Nigerian origin who happened to live with a white working class family during my foundational years. Not only have I lived in both Britain and Nigeria, I’ve travelled extensively to different parts of the world. I have friends from varying backgrounds as well and I’ve also had the opportunity to work with people from varying backgrounds and countries and I’ve learnt a lot from them, too.

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Unconsciously Biasing Children — by Susan Popoola

I recently found myself watching the “Doll test” An experiment where children, black and white are shown two different dolls at the same time and asked questions such as which one is pretty, nice, bad and ugly.  Most of the children, black and white alike point to white doll when it comes to the positive attributes and the black doll when it comes to the negative attributes.

The Doll Test

I’ve watched experiments several times before – they’re probably just as old as me!  This time though, having recently been interviewed a few times on the subjects of “Skin Tone Memory Bias” and “Unconscious Bias” I found myself reflecting deeper. Is the experiment perhaps flawed in it’s design and by virtue of the questions asked? Do the questions actually lead the child to make unnecessary and indeed unhealthy choices?

As a starting point, I found myself wondering, what was in the hearts and minds of those children when they walked into the room that morning and how would they have responded if they were presented with a different set of questions.

What would the children have said if they had been asked what was nice about each doll instead of being asked which doll was nice and which was bad?  Having been asked what was nice about each doll, they could have then been asked the follow up question as to whether there was anything bad about the dolls.

On the other hand asking them which was nice and which was bad sends a message to the child that one was better than the other and they had to choose which one – regardless of their mind-set when they walked into the room.

Alternatively, what if the children were just simply shown a black doll or a white doll and asked what they thought of it.  They could then have been shown a doll of the other colour.  I suspect that there responses may not have been so stark and they would have probably focused on other features rather than just colour.

I believe that a key problem with the research is that its approach stems from and feeds into our adult prejudices and conditioning.  I’m not saying that children are unaware, but I don’t believe it is the starting point with their thinking until we condition them.  I wonder what was in the hearts and minds of the children when they entered the room; I wonder what was in their hearts and minds as they left.

If they were not making distinction on the basis of colour when they entered the room, the seed was planted by the time they left. The problem is that in our day to day interactions, we often teach children to think in terms of colour and in line with our other biases, conscious or subconscious.
Selah