It’s a very hard thing to figure out what to do about reducing police violence in the US, especially reducing and eliminating racist violence. These issues keep coming to our attention largely because of undue and inappropriate police violence against unarmed African-American men. Recording of videos on cellphones and subsequent distribution on social media have made these tragedies much more public and apparent. These tragedies have been occurring for a very long time. Progress has been spotty and inadequate.
In classic strategic planning, we talk about what to stop doing, what to do more of, and what to do less of. There appear to be issues of organizational culture, where a substantial number of police departments are disconnected from morals, ethics, humanity, cultural competence, and the surrounding communities. Clearly, if an organization is being overtly discriminatory, they should stop doing that. But most of us aren’t overtly discriminatory, so our connection to the larger society must be producing discriminatory effects. The issues are complicated by the fact of about 19,000 largely independent police departments in the US.Continue reading Reducing Police Violence – by Marc Brenman→
Foremost, my heart goes out to the family, friends, and supporters of Mr. George Floyd.As a professional communication coach, it can be challenging to remain poised when you are emotional over seeing such an egregious act of what we were victimized to witness.
How is it that the world saw Mr. Floyd have his life extracted and we as viewers are also victims?
The answer is accountability.We all saw the video.Former Police Officer Dereck Chauvin, age 44, mercilessly kept his knee in Mr. Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes.Although Mr. Floyd desperately pleaded for his life and although civilians videotaped and did their best to inform Former Office Chauvin of Mr. Floyd’s depleting condition, those pleas were unrequited by Chauvin.
What is accountability?According to Dictionary.com, “the fact or condition of being responsible”.
I woke up this morning with recent events and names like George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Christian Cooper swimming through my mind and decided to take a walk to clear my head. As I stepped outside, I took a quick pause to consider my safety. Since the tornado on Easter, I have been staying with friends in a different neighborhood and I wasn’t sure of how I would be received.
As I started my walk, another friend’s Facebook post also crossed my mind. She posted her comments and a tweet from Quinta Brunson which says, “Being black is having a good day and then seeing another black person was killed for no reason. Then you have to think about/talk about that all day or don’t and numb yourself. It’s a constant emotional war. . . Meanwhile you still need to work and worry about everything else.”
We are still dealing with the Atlanta area shooting of African American jogger, and now the death of George Floyd by law enforcement. In the midst of this violence, Chattanooga announced progress in creating a physical space to remember the lynching of an African American more than a century ago. The memorial will be a contemplative space near the Walnut Street Bridge and despite the pandemic, the expectation is that people will come to learn, reflect, mourn and learn from history. And hopefully, to apply those lessons going forward
“You’re the prettiest, smartest girl in the world and nothing can change that,” my grandmother said as she hugged me. There was no other song I longed to hear or no melody that sounded so sweet.
In 1961, I turned six years old and my family moved from North Carolina to Okinawa, Japan. The Civil Rights movement was in full swing as we moved to a foreign country. I was oblivious to all the noises of race that surrounded me. What I did not know was that ethnicity touches you wherever you go and you cannot hide from it.
My son’s an avid jogger. For him, circling the track in a nearby park enough times to reach his 4-5-mile daily goal is no big deal. Shucks, his jogging regimen was enough motivation for me to join him on that track; not as a jogger but, okay, as a 2 mile “fast walker.” Thus, I’d not given more than a passing thought on the inherent dangers of “jogging while Black” until the Ahmaud Arbery story went viral.
“That could have been my son,” was the disconcerting thought – and rage – that unsettled my mind as I watched that sickening video and heard those gunshots that snuffed out that young man’s life.
Do you recall the first time you stepped into an international business reception at a major hotel and found yourself amidst a sea of Asian faces? If so, you may also have noticed a diversity of Asian cultures and conversations in some incomprehensible languages: Cantonese Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Malay, Mandarin Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, and perhaps others. If you have been put off when people in your presence have spoken a language other than English, you are not alone.
Meet the Class of 2020:
Kevin Womack Works to Increase Diversity in Data Science
As an undergraduate student at Morehouse College, Kevin Womack double majored in mathematics and computer science. To study two such demanding fields was doubly difficult, he says. But, crediting his mother (an engineer) and his father (a computer scientist), Womack says that quantitative reasoning came naturally to him and he was undaunted by the workload. Now a student in the master’s degree program at the Data Science Institute at Columbia University, Womack excels in his coursework and is an advocate for increased diversity in data science. Here, he discusses his background, his career goals, and his commitment to diversity.
Tell us about your time as a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta.
Years ago, I penned a piece, “The N-Word Still Stings,” a day after having the word – rather, the dagger – hurled at me from beer guzzling cowards on the back of a pickup truck while I was out walking in the neighborhood. Which brings us back into the N-word conundrum in February 2020. It continues to raise its ugly head – during African American History Month 2020, mindyou. During “post racial America,” mindyou. During America “made great again,” mindyou.
You see, in a small city in the South, one still reeling from an acrimonious removal of the name of a Confederate general from the local school, a white kid called an African American classmate the “N-Word.” And the black kid’s mom went ballistic. When the local newspaper picked up on this controversy, it published it. Soon the small city deteriorated into a city-wide freak out along racial line.
James Baldwin, the 20th century black intellectual, renaissance author and cultural critic, once observed: “History is the present. We carry our history with us. To think otherwise is criminal.”
In addition to recognizing African American trailblazers of centuries past during Black History Month, it’s also instructive to consider more recent history. That’s why a compelling new book by historian Elwood David Watson, Ph.D. is recommended reading: Keepin’ It Real: Essays on Race in Contemporary America (University of Chicago Press).