Category Archives: Authors

Advice from the Harassed – by Terry Howard

The “ho hum,” been there/done that remedies for stopping sexual harassment have been sitting in seldom-read policy manuals and preached about in awareness workshops for decades. And yet harassment still raises its ugly head in organizations large and small, public and private. There’s no better validation than the recent “me too” movement and outed perpetrators who have seen their personal lives and careers go up in smoke.

So, what effective personal strategies should potential targets of harassment consider? How do they ward it off in the first place, or respond to it in the moment?

Continue reading Advice from the Harassed – by Terry Howard

Memo to Men: Help Stop Sexual Harassment – By David B. Grinberg

Let’s face it men: more of us need to “man-up” by proactively helping to end the scourge of sexual harassment. We must collectively stop being the main cause of the problem and start being part of the solution.

This means standing up and speaking out to support women. This also means swiftly shaming and punishing male perpetrators for their despicable deeds.

Continue reading Memo to Men: Help Stop Sexual Harassment – By David B. Grinberg

Welcome to the Apocalypse – by Marc Brenman

I have doubted the Zombie Apocalypse meme for some time, lumping it in the same category as vampires, werewolves, and romance novels. But lately, I’ve started to doubt myself. I developed the idea of the Rule of Stupids and the Epidemic of Stupidity long before Trump was elected President. I could not, however, explain why the American people were becoming so stupid. For several years I have suffered being called all sorts of vile names on social media because I obsessively believe in logic, reason, evidence, and facts. Most recently those names include “sealioning,” I kid you not. Look it up.

Continue reading Welcome to the Apocalypse – by Marc Brenman

Needed: Some New Diversity Language – by Carlos E. Cortés

We in the diversity world need a new pair of words. Or maybe they already exist and I just don’t know about them. Here’s my concern.

In November I had a discussion with my cyberpal Neal Goodman, president of Global Dynamics. Neal had just read “Toward a 21st-Century Interculturalism: Reflections of a Cranky Old Historian,” my keynote address at the October, 2017, national conference of the Society for Intercultural Education, Training, and Research. In that talk I had contrasted the words ethnonym and ethnophaulism.

Continue reading Needed: Some New Diversity Language – by Carlos E. Cortés

Sexual Harassment on the Road – by Terry Howard

“Oh, oh…traveling alone on business…with her!”

Another day, another sexual harassment complaint against a high profile man. Will all this result in a chilling effect on the organization in which some men in power will be reluctant to hire or promote women? Will women and men – men in particular – find themselves now reluctant to travel on business with women? With these questions in mind, I decided to repost an article I wrote a while back about questions from  one of my  listening tours:

“Terry, tell me what concerns many men the most when traveling alone with a single woman on company business. How do men of Muslim or Pakistani or Saudi backgrounds deal with this issue from a cultural or religious perspective? What advice would you offer women and men who may have concerns about this?”

I puzzled over her questions then decided to seek answers from a cross section of people in my global network, male and female.

Here’s what they shared:

“Terry, my only concern is that when I travel alone with a woman, which I do often, do I sometimes come across as patronizing or over-protective of her, particularly in some parts of the world where women may be viewed as less equal, or in some cases where safety may be an issue?”

“I recall a situation where I traveled overseas with a male colleague. We were both married. I heard from others that he would avoid having lunch with just a female colleague on a work day, so I knew he would be sensitive about the issue. We both took extra care to avoid any situation that may be misconstrued or misinterpreted by ourselves or by others. I can be a touchy feely person sometimes with friends, but I made sure to keep an extra distance between us to avoid making us both uncomfortable. I believe he did as well. It was a successful trip despite his initial discomfort with traveling with a woman. I think awareness of the issue comes first and taking steps to put the other person at ease is next.”

“With my Pakistani background, I totally understand the dilemma Muslim men might face and do agree that there are measures you can take that will ensure that the integrity of your relationship is maintained. Many Muslim men and women do not shake hands with the opposite sex. I do not hold this too strongly. I respect women who choose not to shake hands with me.”

“Traveling with a woman depends on whether you are a single man and not in a committed relationship. It also depends on the other person and how secure they are. I know we are talking about business, but I have yet to see someone totally separate the business and social when traveling together. We are relational and emotional beings by nature, but experience and maturity helps us manage both. In case some didn’t know, men are just as emotional as women. We were trained from an early age to manage and manifest our emotions differently. Nothing wrong with that.

At some point during the trip the conversation won’t be all just about business. However, most men are not equipped to handle conversations that venture beyond “How about them Cowboys”. Let’s be real. We men like sometimes sharing a cab, breakfast, lunch and dinner with someone. I can say the same for some women as well. Men are stimulated by what we see, touch, feel, taste, etc. That is why most of us like sports and other interactive activities.

I will also share that most men and women in a secure relationship are not as bothered by traveling with a single person of the opposite sex. The relationship you have with the person before the trip can make a difference in comfort level as well. The more you know about each other helps create a more plutonic relationship.

Lastly, from a religious perspective, as in a Christian perspective, men and women are advised to avoid the appearance of mis-conduct. Unfortunately, we live in a time when chaste behavior in not the norm, thus, for most people of faith, your putting yourself in a position that appears to be compromising is a big deal. Many on-lookers assume the worst before the best. “

“A lot of this depends on corporate culture and effectively navigating situations given your own boundaries as well as the expected norms of the corporate culture. For example, at my company we tend to be a very touchy feely culture and hug a lot. If the culture is more congenial, it helps to be absolutely clear on what your boundaries are because women and men are programmed differently.

“One thing not addressed is the “fear of” factors. Today I do believe women are more willing to stand up to an inappropriate comment, gesture or innuendo; however, there may be times in a person’s career (man or women) where they feel pressured from a career standpoint to “go along.” If you don’t feel strong enough to say something we head down the pathway with warning signs. I believe it’s possible that men and women can, with the best of intentions, end up here out of one of two emotions – fear for their career progression or desire to achieve in their career.

As a long time HR practitioner, I’ve seen both. The other issue, especially for men, is the litigious fear factor – fear of something they say or do being misinterpreted or misrepresented in a complaint about their behavior, or of being sued and having their name and reputation destroyed. Most of this comes down to not knowing how to have open and real conversations at work. I am a subscriber to “when in doubt, don’t” as it relates to subjects like these.”

Some tips for consideration:

  • Get to know the person you will travel with prior to the trip.
  • If you are married or have a relationship with another, make sure you tell them who you are traveling with and keep them in the loop during the trip.
  • If you are uncomfortable or have some religious tenants that forbid traveling with someone of the opposite sex, make separate arrangements and let the other person know when you can meet to discuss the business of the trip.
  • Avoid private meals together in your room or in dimly lit restaurants.
  • If you get uncomfortable with the conversation, talk about how much your wife or girlfriend would love to be there with you sharing the sights, or tell them a pleasant story about your relationship.
  • If you really feel uncomfortable, check out alternatives for traveling with another person.

To Kneel or Not to Kneel? – by Terry Howard

“The Robert E. Lee High School Fighting Leeman!”

There’s a cultural tug of war raging across the nation and it has seeped down into “small town USA,” my little hometown in Virginia notwithstanding. And seemingly there’s no end in sight.

On one side the argument is to remove the name of Robert E. Lee, a Confederate general, from the name of the local high school. No new news there. For those on the other the side, this is about heritage, not slavery, so leave things the hell alone. No new news there either. So the finger pointing rages on.

Continue reading To Kneel or Not to Kneel? – by Terry Howard

Appalachia Burning: White Supremacists in Tennessee – by Rev. Jeannie Alexander

I’ve been wrestling with how to write about  white supremacists and modern day self-proclaimed Nazis descending upon my beloved home in Middle Tennessee where I stood with a small band of inter-faith women clergy, determined to push back hard – literally – against hate.  It was exhausting, heartbreaking, took weeks in planning, and ultimately was successful. But what the hell does success mean when you’re talking about shutting down white supremacists and Nazis?

It began as a plan, an absurd “dangerous” plan. A small collective of women clergy, and women of faith, came together and decided that we simply were not going to allow a torch march in Middle Tennessee. Some of our collective had been part of the counter demonstration in Charlottesville and bore witness to what was a very calculated, pointed message in an action seen far too many times in the history of this country. A mob of angry white men, with torches, marching through the countryside, with the end result of death, accentuated these days by the echoing chant of “blood and soil!”

And so the decision was made that we would track their movements through the weekend, and should the Nazis and white supremacists assemble for their terror march, this band of women was going to block them with our bodies, in clergy garb. The angry mob was going to be forced to show the world that they were willing to assault female clergy in their frenzy of hate.

In the early planning stage there were men involved with our little collective. When a decision was reached that the direct action was going to be to stop the torch march, they pulled out, called us crazy, and insisted that people were going to get killed.

But you see, that’s just it; people have already been killed. A torch march historically has a specific purpose, and that is to strike fear and terror into the hearts of the targeted population/individuals, with the end result being death; typically the torture and deaths of black bodies by lynching, or Jewish bodies, queer bodies, Communist, Anarchist, or the bodies of race traitors and sympathizers. Really, anyone who the “master race” identifies as “inferior.”

As anyone else knows who was tracking the racist chatter, a torch march was off and on again throughout the planning of the White Lives Matter event, and certainly throughout last Friday.
We spent Friday in small collective worship and preparation to basically have the shit kicked out of us. Some folks will say this is pointless, and what good does it serve? But our thinking was this – someone has got to say “No!” and for too many centuries it’s been black and brown bodies paying the price of fear and hate.

It was cold and windy as we walked through the historic neighborhood of Murfreesboro’s downtown toward the square. It was almost Halloween, and all I could think was that the scariest thing was actually happening, that we were walking through the night in this beautiful quiet neighborhood, toward an interfaith service, because we had credible information that there was a plan to disrupt the service with a torch march. It is 2017, and we had literally spent our day planning and preparing to disrupt self-identified Nazis. What world are we living in? The 1850’s, 1930’s? Have we become so numb, deaf, and blind to history?

Businesses on the square appeared ready for a disaster with boarded up windows and doors. A local pastor who had joined us explained that the windows were boarded up out of fear of counter demonstrators, not the white supremacists and Nazis.
Let that sink in and tell me please, why in the hell aren’t we all Antifa? Given the hard bloody lessons of history, why are we not all anti-fascist? What the hell have we sold our souls for when politicians can flippantly assert that people stridently opposed to Nazis and fascists are the same as Nazis and fascists?

And so, we spent Friday night on the move, and there was no torch march.

We proceeded Saturday to Shelbyville with not enough sleep. As everyone knows, the overwhelming counter demonstration drown out the hate rally pretty effectively.  Amidst all of the chanting, screaming, and playing of La Bamba from our side, I listened carefully to the speeches from the other side of the bridge.

I listened to the horrific sick screams of “Black Lives don’t matter!” and “I am a fascist! I am a Nazi!” and taunts of “Hey guys, where’s Heather Heyer, I don’t see Heather Heyer over there, do you?” And I also heard fear: a fear of the other, an anger expressed in asserting that other people flee from their countries to “avoid their problems,” and a corollary fear asserted in the statement “We don’t have anywhere to run!”

They don’t even know that they don’t have to run. Run from what? From hope? From our oldest richest tradition of offering sanctuary to the tired, sick, hungry and oppressed? In additional speeches some white supremacists claimed not to be Nazis, others proudly claimed to be Nazis; and still, others spoke of low wages, an inability to make ends meet, an abhorrence of private prisons, and a lack of healthcare. This was followed by an extolling of Trump and his promise to drain the swamp.

What we were faced with in low numbers on the other side of the bridge was this: poor whites being led and whipped into a frenzy by out of town urbane racists, a narrative that was utterly contradictory and disjointed resulting in an allegiance to fear and hate, supported by a false cultural and historic narrative that Jewish Communists run the world and integration is impossible, that the rich narcissistic pig in the White House actually identifies with them, and some pissed off little god is on their side.

When white supremacists were bemoaning the abuse of workers and low wages, and a lack of healthcare, while in the same breath castigating communists and spewing capitalists rhetoric, I was quite frankly left speechless, a rarity. Why the hell aren’t they communist, I wondered; and have they ever read Grapes of Wrath, because there sure were a lot of upside down twisted Tom Joads across the bridge from us.

I looked across the lines of militarized police, and deputized militia, into the faces of my enemy, and I saw Appalachia burning in their eyes. Standing behind the metal fence barricade with my feet rooted in the earth, I felt Appalachia running through my own veins. Some of those people across the line were my blood people too; and I cannot deny that the same God who created them created me, and what is holy and divine in me has still got to be able to see what is holy and divine in them if there is any hope for resurrection and restoration for any of us. I could feel their fear along with their misplaced anger and rage, but I could feel no sympathy. I can feel no sympathy when the final solution is genocide. I can feel no sympathy when the final solution is black bodies swinging from trees. I can feel no sympathy when the final solution is brown bodies trapped behind a wall – caged in CCA camps – or dying of heat exhaustion trying to cross a desert to find a better home for their children. I have seen the enemy, and if I do nothing then the enemy is me. There is no neutrality in this oldest of wars.

After the showing in Shelbyville, the Murfreesboro Saturday afternoon White Lives event never even occurred; although later in the night a roving band of angry cowardly white supremacists beat a woman in Brentwood.

This weekend we could not have functioned and operated without enormous support behind the scenes from legal observers, medics, and movement chaplains. They were with us Friday night before any crowds appeared, and they gave us the courage to do what we all felt deeply convicted was the right action, but nonetheless was a frightening action.

And after this weekend, what? I am sad. angry, and determined. I am grateful for this beautiful small collective of humans, who have just begun our journey together. I am full of hope, and moreover, I hope that you will join us in future resistance. And because I am an unruly ill-behaved woman, I really love our battle cry of “Shabbat Shalom motherf***ers!”

Missing my little buddy David – by Terry Howard

“The biggest problem with having a disability is that far too often
people see it before they see you!”

I met little David at a local Starbucks a few years ago.

You see, I was hunched over my laptop searching the internet for a new twist for a piece on people with disabilities given that October is National Disability Employment Month. Over a third cup of coffee, I was focused, oblivious to the comings and goings of folks entering and leaving. But in truth, I was in my zone and preferred to keep it that way.

But little David – his Downs Syndrome and all – had other plans for me. And others.

At the top of his lungs, David called out “Hey brother” as he approached a surprised me at my table in the corner. A high five and a hug later, David was off greeting and hugging others in the place. And like me, all were startled and clearly smitten by little David. It was written all over their faces, our faces. Their silence spoke volumes.

“David, David, get back over here. Leave these people alone!” demanded his mom; words she’d no doubt uttered many times before – words obviously to no avail. But that was before she realized how deeply David touched all of us that day.

Three minutes later, and with little David in tow, mom headed to the door and, David being David, waved and bellowed to us, “good bye my friends.” And we all, in unison, in different words, with moisten eyes – patrons and Starbucks employees alike – stood up and returned, “See ya David!”

And for a few seconds we all stood there, in complete silence, absolute strangers no longer, knowing somehow and full well that we’d just been touched – and connected in our humanity – by an angel.

Now I’ve returned to that Starbucks a number of times since then, feeling cheated by the brevity of that meeting with David, wishing and hoping my little buddy would be there.

But no such luck so far. But I’ll keep going back.

Yes, I’ll keep going back…. wishing and hoping!

Commemorating 60 Years of Civil Rights Law Enforcement at DOJ – by David B. Grinberg

In case you missed it, the month of September marks the 60th anniversary of the Civil Rights Division (CRD) of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The CRD, which opened for business in 1957, has a noble mission and rich history which has helped to effectuate equal opportunity for all Americans, especially African Americans and other minority groups.

“On September 9, 1957, President Eisenhower signed the Civil Rights Act of 1957, creating the Civil Rights Division,” according to DOJ. “The 1957 Act was the first civil rights law passed since Reconstruction, and was a first step leading to the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act the following year, and numerous other civil rights laws enacted in the years since that are enforced by the Civil Rights Division.”

Continue reading Commemorating 60 Years of Civil Rights Law Enforcement at DOJ – by David B. Grinberg