Leelee Jackson and Geoffrey Stone are hardly household names in diversity circles. But in 2019, my interactions with Jackson, a talented young playwright, and Stone, a passionate defender of free speech, helped illuminate the challenging complexities of diversity and expression.
As a fellow of the University of California National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement, I have been examining the myriad tensions created when two laudable principles collide: the defense of robust speech and the effort to create greater inclusivity. This intersection has generated considerable controversy, including among diversity advocates.
Continue reading Diversity and Speech Part 4: Navigating the N-Word – by Carlos E. Cortés
Father’s and Mother’s Day are great American traditions, but I’m not sure I like them. Unhappily, I have a really big problem with these days because I don’t have the goods. My mother and grandmother who were such loving figures in my life are gone. My father, who I take after in so many ways, is gone, too. I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself. My children live far away but will no doubt call or send a card. I’m grateful for their love but I would really like to call my own parents. Just knowing they were around made life balanced and feel more secure.
Continue reading Father and Mother’s Day When They’re Gone – by Deborah Levine
In April, I joined the Chattanooga Regional Manufacturers Association (CRMA) Alliance in Manufacturing Excellence (AIME) as Editor-in-Chief of the American Diversity Report. I was invited to be the official communications person by Lulu Copeland, the facilitator and committee chair of CRMA AIME. Copeland is also the founding member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) for whom I facilitated an inaugural panel years ago. My assignment at this event marking National Welding Month was to interview women in the welding profession.
Continue reading National Welding Month: Challenge & Opportunity – by Deborah Levine
Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia, continues to marginalize women on its English language pages and among its staff. This conclusion is not theoretical but unequivocal. It’s based on academic studies, public statistics and anecdotal evidence.
Wikipedia’s data is daunting, according to the Wikidata Human Gender Indicator.
• Less than 18% of 1.6 million English Wikipedia bios are about women, up from 15% in 2014.
• Put another way: of about 1,615,000 bio pages, fewer than 300,000 are about women.
• Meanwhile, men account for about 90% of all English Wikipedia’s volunteer editors.
Wikipedia’s brand image is more reflective of 1920s paternalism than 21st century modernism. The San Francisco-based nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation, which oversees Wikipedia, has a noble mission: Democratize the free flow of information and knowledge to diverse populations worldwide.
But is English Wikipedia practicing what it preaches?
(The Bermuda Jews History Series was originally published in The Bermudian Magazine)
In the 1990s, I made my first trip to Bermuda in fifteen years. My family, once the mainstay of Bermuda Jews, were long gone from the island. The first whiff of salty sea air hasn’t changed but the airport is a jumble of construction. A short jog across the tarmac should end in a hushed wait for the appearance of a customs agent, sitting patiently on the dark wood furniture of the terminal’s old-fashioned waiting room. Today, official greeters wave us through a temporary cordoned maze to a terminal with a second story, a food court, and customs agents encased in glass booths. An electronically-enhanced steel band strikes an earnest rendition of “Island in the Sun” where a portrait of a young Queen Elizabeth once hung.
Continue reading Bermuda Jews Part 1: Returning for Passover – by Deborah Levine
Diversity advocates cannot avoid dealing with the intersection of inclusive diversity and robust speech. Tensions between those two imperatives are inevitable. These tensions complicate our efforts to address such speech-related issues as privilege, power, marginalization, hostile work environments, and the expression of intergroup hate.
This is the third in a series of columns based on my research as a current fellow of the University of California National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement. In the first two columns I argued that diversity advocates should not be drawn into the position of opposing free speech. We don’t need to, because totally “free” speech does not exist in the United States.
Continue reading Diversity and Speech Part 3: The Diversity Movement – by Carlos E. Cortés
Why bother writing when technology does much of the work for us? Templates plan for us, spell-check edits for us, and there’s enough information online to produce a ocean of plagiarized work. It’s no surprise that technical and business writing skills are becoming lost arts. Yet, successful communication with colleagues, teams, and clients relies heavily on written memos, emails, reports, proposals, and evaluations. Professional development should include the development of writing skills, but rarely does.
Continue reading Why Bother Writing? – by Deborah Levine
LATE BREAKING NEWS: The college admissions scandal, in which 50 people including celebrities have been indicted for scheming to get the children of rich and privileged parents into top schools. It involves parents who, prosecutors allege, bribed and cheated their kids’ way into prestigious universities.
A mother’s remorse: My daughter received multiple mailings from Stanford, Harvard, Yale and other prestigious schools based on her high SAT scores as a 10th grader. Her dream was to apply to Stanford. She decided to focus on academics and her musical instrument, and practiced hours each day in order to achieve a skill level high enough to be accepted via auditions into the most competitive youth orchestra in the entire southeast United States. She focused on volunteer work with a group providing music enrichment to under-privileged children and started attending a state school as a dual-enrollment student when she was a senior in high school. Her academics were stellar, and her final SAT scores were exceptional (good enough to earn her the same scholarship that valedictorians get in our state). She was contacted for interviews at Stanford, Harvard, and Princeton, as well as several other prestigious schools but she was devastated to receive rejections from those schools that had given her some hope. As a parent, I am angry! We spent so much time and energy on her applications and extra activities. We are just a middle-class family, but it was an amazing idea to dream that our daughter could get accepted to one of these schools. Seeing the news yesterday made me sick to my stomach. All the hard work that my daughter did was never going to be enough to overcome the privilege that those kids are born with. I tried as hard as I could as a parent to try to level the playing field for her but it turns out it is much more unequal than I ever could have imagined. – A white mom, March 13, 2019
Continue reading “Affirmative Action” for the Rich and Privileged! – by Terry Howard & Elwood Watson
Sadie Hawkins Day! I didn’t know anything about it. The vibrations though with which the name permeates our culture and whatever the holiday celebrates have always seemed a wee bit strange and but also lighthearted. It is celebrated on November 13th and since today is November 13th I feel oddly compelled to inform myself of the wisdom or lack of wisdom passed on by this “Holiday.” It would appear to be a very American holiday, but the Scots and my Irish ancestors might argue with that since they celebrate something comparable on February 29th called of course “Leap Year.” But that is another story!
The Sadie Hawkins Story
The American story is that Al Capp, a famous and brilliant cartoon artist of the last century,3 depicted in his daily cartoon, Lil Abner, the trials and tribulations of a hillbilly town called Dogpatch. The most powerful and the richest man in Dogpatch was named Hezekiah Hawkins who had a daughter named Sadie and at the advanced age of 35 she had not married. Sadie was also “the homeliest gal in all them hills” and her father was scared that she would spend her life at home as a spinster, a terrible and humiliating fate for any woman in Dogpatch.
Continue reading Sadie Hawkins Day: An Example of Cultural Delusion – by Eileen Meagher
Originally a professional educator from Ukraine, Fiona Citkin is among the successful women immigrants to the US. She came to America as a Fulbright Scholar studying languages and cultures. She holds 2 doctorates, speaks 3 languages, and has published several books, including the award-winning Transformational Diversity. Fiona is Managing Director of Expert MS Inc. For her latest book, How They Made It in America , she interviewed 100 immigrant women and profiled 18 of them in this book.
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