A few months ago, I saw The Doctor by Robert Icke in London. Despite starting earlier and elsewhere both physically and psychically, it’s a most appropriate tale for 2023. At its core, it’s about identity – Jewish identity, gender identity, racial identity, and so on. It asks the question – who can speak for whom? And it offers zero easy answers. Continue reading Identity Debate in the Arts – by Jan Levine Thal
A Business Perspective
Promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) becomes a business necessity rather than a choice. Organizations – including businesses, non-profit organizations, colleges and universities have to reconsider that U.S. is projected to become a majority-minority nation for the first time in 2043 and by 2060, 57 percent of the U.S. population will consist of racially ethnic minorities.1 This change towards a more diverse population will have substantial impact on the workforce and how organizations rethink its processes to manage opportunities and challenges related to DE&I.
In fact, there is no shortage of suggestions to create inclusive environments. However, it is crucial to think about the role and positioning of DE&I within an organization’s structure. The question here is whether organizations consider DE&I a HR policy, a management-led initiative, an objective, a trend—or a mixture of all four? Some organizations still struggle to properly define DE&I, which impact the development of appropriate DE&I initiatives to empower and engage underrepresented groups. Making progress on that front requires a deep understanding of the concerns, experiences, and perspectives of people with different ethnicities, nationalities, educational backgrounds, sexual orientation, religion, and gender.
To cultivate a more diverse and inclusive workplace, organizations should focus on DE&I as a strategic business goal rather than a separate initiative or a HR policy. For example, it is not enough that organizations hire employees from different genders, generations, geographies and ethnicities and wait for the magic of DE&I to happen. Considering DE&I as strategic business goals requires specific and measurable actions to engage underrepresented employees within specific timelines. This should be followed by soliciting diverse employees’ inputs in planning and implementing DE&I programs, measuring and reporting outcomes, discussing failures and challenges, and providing solutions to sustain improvements in DE&I programs. Thus, DE&I as a business goal should be embedded in every department, operation, and orchestrated at the organizational levels. In so doing, organizations can achieve meaningful success in promoting, broadening, and maintaining culture of belonging and equitable structures that fully leverage the potential benefits of a diverse workforce and inclusive workplace.
Furthermore, organizations’ decision-making processes to enhance DE&I as a strategic business goal should be driven by many questions including what DE&I means to internal and external stakeholders, what is the target audience of DE&I programs, what programs can best serve the target groups, and how to measure the impact of DE&I programs on the short and long terms. To answer these questions, organizations should focus on strategic tactics and less anecdotal evidence. Specifically, participatory approach and communication are two strategic tactics—over and above the impact of workplace environment as a whole—shape the degree of impact that DE&I programs exert on marginalized employees. Let’s discuss why these tactics can help organizational efforts transit from diversity towards equity and inclusion, with the ultimate goal to build better work environments instilled by human differences.
The first tactic is participatory approach that focuses on reaching out and involving marginalized groups in decisions that affect their lives and communities. Crucially, participatory approaches are needed to help employees feel they belong to an inclusive environment where differences are welcomed and valued. Empowerment is a central concept in, and foundation principle of participatory approaches. It underscores the importance of providing a voice to those who have been overlooked for too long and enabling marginalized, diverse people to advance their concerns about DE&I without fear, and provide them opportunities to develop diverse, inclusive, and equitable initiatives. At the core of the concept of empowerment are concerted efforts to (a) improve the competencies of historically marginalized groups by providing them education and mentorship programs to advance their careers, accordingly, increase diversity in leadership positions, and (b) provide marginalized groups with the resources, support, and environment needed to be fully included in the decision-making processes that shape DE&I initiatives.
The second tactic is effective communication driven by transparency and accountability to bridge the gap between leaders’ and employees’ perspectives about DE&I initiatives. The catch is a two-way communication to ensure that marginalized employees’ concerns and managerial priorities are in alignment. On one hand, managers should clearly communicate DE&I as an integral part of organizational planning linked to organizations’ successes in the marketplace. This requires managers to make a public commitment to enhance DE&I, and be held accountable for desired results. One important aspect of management led-communication is to report about DE&I initiatives by discussing with employees challenges in implementing DE&I programs. Reporting should be based transparency to ensure a thorough communication with underrepresented employees about ways to improve existing and future DE&I initiatives. At the organizational level, a diverse communication team can help increase marginalized employees’ engagement with DE&I through overcoming language and cultural barriers and representing different voices and experiences. On the other hand, employees should commit time and efforts to enhance DE&I by volunteering in diversity committee, participating in surveys to express their concerns, and providing suggestions to improve DE&I initiatives.
Needless to say, there are numerous DE&I initiatives to cultivate a diverse and inclusive workplaces. What requires special attention, however, is to set specific metrics to measure the outcomes of DE&I programs to identify what needs improvement and celebrate best practices. Most importantly, organizations should provide training and education for both managers and employees to become more diversity competent and be cognizant of cultural sensitivity. For example, cultural sensitivity trainings can help managers and employees to be more self-aware of their own conscious and unconscious biases. Thus, organizations can require employees at all levels to take regular and mandatory sensitivity trainings to better understand how to coexist in a diverse environment.
The biggest takeaway is that organizations should not consider DE&I as initiatives to comply with government regulations. Organizations should ensure ongoing, open dialogues between managers and marginalized employees to establish a strong foundation for DE&I efforts. Participatory approaches and effective communication should shape the conversation about DE&I. For leaders, the key message is that DE&I is an evolving journey rather than a static plan. It requires holistic strategies and continual commitment to ensure sustained progress to create inclusive workplaces.
Technology is a dynamic and an ever-changing arena. There are always changes taking place in the field of technology due to new inventions and discoveries and to keep up with the expanding demands of the consumers.
In the earlier days we just had the landlines. The first cellular was discovered in April, 1973 by Martin Cooper, a Motorola Engineer, while walking and thinking about contacting someone on the streets of New York.
Every year we reflect on the horrors that were brought to America on September 11, 2001. But after 21 years, have the effects of travesty lifted?
Year after year when the news reflects on September 11, 2001, I think of how this country’s safety and security were threatened. I think of all the lives lost, heroes, anger, the survivors’ guilt of ones who got away and the void in families across the nation. As all America grieved the biggest mass casualty it has ever seen on its citizens, we entered into times of survival and disbelief. As night fell and the dust settled, September 12, 2001 fell upon the morning sky. The media outlets of America never slept, but worked diligently through the early morning hours, reciprocating the tragic history of the day before and setting the tone for years to come.
I sit in my bed at night, aimlessly scrolling through social media on my phone. I settle for Instagram and begin working my way through the feed. Dozens of pictures of girls with slim figures and delicate features flood my phone, promoting flat tummy teas and diet plans, “how-to’s” to lose weight as fast as possible and get a smaller waist. Slim down after the Holidays! At home remedies to lose those extra 10 pounds! It all begins to look the same, but not just on Instagram nowadays. Body positive influencers are few and far between. The societal standard has been set for years, girls of all ages struggling with body dysmorphia and eating disorders starting at such young ages. TikTok has become overtaken by diet culture and bodychecking. This push for everyone to change and alter their bodies and to never be content with the body you have. This idea that you can only be happy if you are thin and the only way to be healthy is to be in perfect shape. This issue has become such a rampant issue with such an astounding effect on teen girls. They look to social media and all they see is negativity surrounding their body types.
Mental Illness is something that has been a problem for a long time but in today’s time, it has started to receive the attention and awareness that it deserves. Mental illness is discussed in many different ways. It receives national media attention when a celebrity is struggling with depression or when a professional athlete struggles with anxiety. A diversity problem that arises within the discussion and awareness of mental health however is the lack of importance the world puts on mental illness within men. In society today, when men come out and say that they’re struggling with their mental health, it is received with ridicule and hate.
Imagine this, you fly across the country to study Communications and Digital Media in Dublin, Ireland. You travel as a white female, twenty one years old, from the southern state of Tennessee. You are so excited to start this new journey at a University that is known to be welcoming, considering it has more exchange students enrolled than Irish Nationals. The problem occurs after your first day of class, when you were told many times by many different Europeans that Americans are dumb, ignorant, selfish, and know nothing about any place outside of United States. You now reconsider your entire decision on coming to this country.
There has been a surge in federal civil rights lawsuits regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) over the past decade. Lawsuits involving website accessibility under the ADA are also on the rise, growing 14% year-over-year in 2021. The major complication in all of this is that the ADA, passed by Congress in 1990, predates the earliest websites. Because the law does not explicitly discuss web accessibility, over the past three decades a legal landscape has developed that is both unpredictable and divisive.
For one, rules and regulations for web accessibility are beginning to vary from state to state. Members of Congress are penning letters to the Department of Justice (DOJ) urging them to establish clear accessibility rules for state and local websites. And there are a growing number of inconsistent rulings among that nation’s federal court districts on the subject. This article will explore the urgency of revamping the ADA to account for existing and emerging technology, and how uncertainty continues to grow on how and where the ADA applies.
You were at a house-warming party hosted by your immigrant friends from Mexico who just bought their first home. Your excitement was genuine. As you hugged your friend and his wife, you said, “I am so happy for you and your new home, especially in this neighborhood. Unlike other Latino immigrants, you are so accomplished.”
Your comment might have meant to be complimentary. Unfortunately, your Latino friend might have felt you just insulted his entire ethnic group. According to Dr. Derald Wing Sue from Columbia University, such remark falls under microaggressions–verbal, behavioral, or environmental slights that reflect the speaker’s conscious or unconscious stereotyping certain minoritized groups. Other examples include complimenting the English spoken by an Asian, or congratulating a college graduate while saying “You made me proud. I don’t think I have one black friend that has a college degree”. Though meant to compliment the recipient; such comments sadly also insult the ability or intelligence of the social group which the receiver belongs to.
Continue reading Microaggression and Stereotype – by Julia Wai-Yin So
When I was seven years old, I had my first MRI, or Magnetic Resonance Imaging – a medical imaging machine that generates internal images of the body. The tubular machine was quite large in comparison to my petite body. I can still remember how scared I was as they placed headphones twice the size of my head over my ears and pushed me back into the small cylinder. Or how the nurse called the IV that shot cold, contrast dye throughout my bloodstream a “butterfly clip” to ease the nerves. The MRI was ordered to examine my neck and upper spine because I was experiencing a lot of unusual pain there for a child that young. What my family and I didn’t expect was to be in that room for two more hours as they caught a glimpse of something concerning in my lower back.