Category Archives: Authors A-H

Authors listed by last name A-H

The Powerful Voices of “Momma Nem!” – by Terry Howard

Here’s part two of my African American History Month story – what it was like growing up in my neighborhood in a small southern town. This episode highlights the largely untold stories of the unbelievable strength and resolve of black mothers who managed, as our preachers would say, to “make a way out of no way” in keeping families, community and traditions intact in the face of incredible challenges.

So please join me as I take an imaginary walk through my old neighborhood and replay the “voices” and recall the unique experiences of “Momma Nem.”

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The Year of the Dog for Globalization – by Kyle Hegarty

The Year of the Dog begins this week which means, among other things, this is the season when western companies fall over themselves by slapping zodiac animals on their products in hopes of appealing to Chinese consumers. Gucci dog purse, anyone? At the same time, digital payments in China continue to accelerate. Last year, the Chinese New Year tradition of ‘hong bao’ – where cash-filled red envelopes are given as gifts – saw 46 billion electronic transfers. Yes, billion.

China’s transformation continues to play out in astounding ways both internally and globally. The country’s growing relevance on the world stage should not be underestimated. Globalization has never been so confusing as it is today thanks to the Middle Kingdom.
The mere mention of China triggers consumer brand executives to salivate over the growing army of shoppers and their wallets. Conversely. the same word causes western technology executives to back away with their tail between their legs.

Continue reading The Year of the Dog for Globalization – by Kyle Hegarty

One Year in the Life of the American Dream: To help us wake up during Black History Month – by Marc Brenman

When I started teaching civil rights in graduate school, I developed a timeline of civil rights events in the United States. I included positive ones as well as tragedies, and tried to include more than African-American connected events, to represent a fuller picture of American history than is usually represented. I also included some world events to provide context and some removal from a “calculus of suffering” so often indulged in by one group comparing its history with anothers. The timeline makes no promises of completeness, and is a work in progress. It is generally referenced, and is fairly reliable. This timeline proved to be popular with students, who mostly had been raised and educated on the myth of progress, American Dream, and City on a Hill themes. They were surprised by the uneven progression of social equity in American history, with its frequent “one step forward, two steps back” meme. I’ve chosen some examples from just one year in this timeline for black History Month.

Continue reading One Year in the Life of the American Dream: To help us wake up during Black History Month – by Marc Brenman

My Neighborhood: African-American History Month – by Terry Howard

Although traditionally the month of February has celebrated famous African-Americans throughout history, maybe it’s time to augment how that history is told with our personal history stories, ones that define and shape who we are today.
Here’s mine…

The neighborhood I grew up in conjures up images of Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town,” Hal Rauch’s “Our Gang” with scenes of Mayberry from the “Andy Griffin Show” added to the mix. The folks in my neighborhood were caring, creative and resourceful because we had to be. Our survival depended on it.

Continue reading My Neighborhood: African-American History Month – by Terry Howard

Attics, Old Photos and a Concentration Camp Song – by Pascal Derrien

I have moved quite a lot in my life, especially in the first part of it, clocking one to three schools per year on average and as many caravans, mobile homes, flats or apartments until the age of 16. The good thing with this nomadic lifestyle is that it has forced me to be quite ruthless over the years in terms of keeping or discarding belongings.

We are now in the process of converting our attic into an adult bedroom in our family home with a view to get me a small desk for my musings and a walking wardrobe for my other half. This not a move but it almost feels like one.  To do that I have to get rid of quite a lot of bits and pieces that have been accumulated since our previous move 10 years ago or so.

A lot of stuff has already found its way to charity shops, more junk have landed on a rubbish skip while the rest has to be triaged for storing. Its been a pretty heavy duty process I must say but it has come with some blessings too. Old photos have resurfaced, toddler toys and kids clothes have re-emerged from hidden boxes reminding us how small our not so little guys once were. To be honest the whole experience has provided a few welcomed rides back to memory lane.

As far as I am concerned there aren’t too many things that I have kept from my early childhood or teenage years even. That said I was glad to see an old and cherished French version of an Aristocrats Disney book being if not pristine still intact and in good reading condition. I was also very happy to go thru a few old schools books and show my beautiful stamps collection to my kids.

I was also taken aback at times, for example I unexpectedly bumped into an old book belonging to my mum and with that what a surprise to discover four small notepads full of (bad) urban poetry that I had written in the 90’s. In the book itself, a manuscript called ”Qu’elle etait verte my vallee” (How Green Was My Valley) by Richard Llewellyn, not that this is really significant, the important bit is that there was a small sheet with a hand written version of the Chant Des Marais inserted in it as a book mark. Almost straight away, as soon as I read the first verse the melody found its way back thru my brain at the speed of a boomerang .

The song was composed in the concentration camp of Börgermoormis in Lower Saxony. Originally set up in 1933 by the Nazis, the camp primary function was to home political opponents of the time. Situated in a very hostile environment the prisoners held in Börgermoormis were used as cheap labour and performed various heavy duties around the concentration camp. The site was initially managed by the S.A but when the latter were dismissed the S.S took over.

The guards were ruthless and the conditions in the camp were barbaric, adding insult to injury the captives were expected to sing when going to work. Jumping at the opportunity to produce a passive resistance manifesto, a prisoner named Johann Esser wrote poignant lyrics that were supplemented by a music written by another political inmate called Rudi Goguel. The original title was  « Moorsoldatenlied » which can be translated as the song of ”The peat bog soldiers”, it is also known as ”the song of the deported”.

Lettre a un Inconnu (Scroll down for English Version)

Mes yeux sont loin de moi
Mon regard est souvent perdu

Parfois je crois meme que je ne m’entends plus
Mon regard est si lourd et sourd de malentendus

Je sais qu’un jour viendra le temps du vecu
Les geoliers si peu necessaire veulent faire de moi un reclus

Moi a leur politique, a leur commissaire j’exprimerais bien plus que mon refus

 

It took two weeks apparently to create the song from start to finish and it was sang for the first time on the 27th of August 1933 as part of the ‘Circus Konzentrazani.’  According to Goguel, ”sixteen singers, mostly members of the Solinger Worker’s Singing Club, marched into an arena with their prison outfits and their spades on their shoulders.”

They started singing and by the second verse it is said almost all of the 1,000 prisoners were singing along to the refrain.  With every verse, the refrain apparently grew stronger and by the final verse even some of the SS sentinels were singing. Unverified records mentioned that the sixteen singers stuck their spades in the sand and marched out of the arena leaving their spades behind.

concentration campThe ‘Börgermoorlied’ (Song of Börgermoor),  is not the only one but one of the most famous songs to have been created within a concentration camp: it is by far the most well known of all of them.In its English version it became known as the ‘Song of the Peat Bog Soldiers’ and in French it has acquired a symbolic notoriety under the title ‘Le Chant des Marais’. The song was also commonly sung as a Republican anthem throughout the Spanish Civil War, personally the first time I heard it was at a military parade by the French Foreign Legion.

Never before a song had produced such a tangible and palpable impact on me. It was almost like a modern blues but something that was far more and utterly visceral. Was it the monotonous rhythm or the lyrics evoking despair that struck me, I don’t know. Boosted by a chorus celebrating a state of nothingness I asked myself how come human hearts had the ability to hibernate for so long.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWlQrGIhSk4&list=RDhWlQrGIhSk4

English Version

Wherever the eye may wander,
All around only moor and heath
No singing of the birds to raise our spirits,
Oak trees stand bleak and crooked.
We are the peat bog soldiers

And travel spade in hand
Into the moor!
Here in this bleak heath
The camp was built,
Far from any joy
We lie hidden away behind barbed wire.
We are the peat bog soldiers…

Work columns leave in the morning
To go into the moor.
We dig while the sun burns down on us
But our thoughts remain with home.
We are the peat bog soldiers…

Homewards, homewards, each of us longs
To our parents, wives, and children.
A sigh opens up many of our chests
Because we are caught here.
We are the peat bog soldiers…

The guards walk back and forth
No one, no one can get through,
Escape will only cost you your life,
The fort is fenced four times around
We are the peat bog soldiers…

But for us there are no complaints
Because it cannot be winter forever.
Someday we will happily say:
Home, you are mine again.
Then the peat bog soldiers

Will no longer travel spade in hand
Into the moor!

Written Material Copyright 2018 – Pascal Derrien

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?

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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.

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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.

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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.