Category Archives: Social Issues

Social causes, activism, and projects

Diversity & Identity — by Susan Popoola

It was my birthday recently and I was presented with the following question – “Do you celebrate your birthday with a cake in your culture & country? Would love to know if this a recent cultural phenomenon or long established? Is this a personal sign of globilisation?”

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Unconsciously Biasing Children — by Susan Popoola

I recently found myself watching the “Doll test” An experiment where children, black and white are shown two different dolls at the same time and asked questions such as which one is pretty, nice, bad and ugly.  Most of the children, black and white alike point to white doll when it comes to the positive attributes and the black doll when it comes to the negative attributes.

The Doll Test

I’ve watched experiments several times before – they’re probably just as old as me!  This time though, having recently been interviewed a few times on the subjects of “Skin Tone Memory Bias” and “Unconscious Bias” I found myself reflecting deeper. Is the experiment perhaps flawed in it’s design and by virtue of the questions asked? Do the questions actually lead the child to make unnecessary and indeed unhealthy choices?

As a starting point, I found myself wondering, what was in the hearts and minds of those children when they walked into the room that morning and how would they have responded if they were presented with a different set of questions.

What would the children have said if they had been asked what was nice about each doll instead of being asked which doll was nice and which was bad?  Having been asked what was nice about each doll, they could have then been asked the follow up question as to whether there was anything bad about the dolls.

On the other hand asking them which was nice and which was bad sends a message to the child that one was better than the other and they had to choose which one – regardless of their mind-set when they walked into the room.

Alternatively, what if the children were just simply shown a black doll or a white doll and asked what they thought of it.  They could then have been shown a doll of the other colour.  I suspect that there responses may not have been so stark and they would have probably focused on other features rather than just colour.

I believe that a key problem with the research is that its approach stems from and feeds into our adult prejudices and conditioning.  I’m not saying that children are unaware, but I don’t believe it is the starting point with their thinking until we condition them.  I wonder what was in the hearts and minds of the children when they entered the room; I wonder what was in their hearts and minds as they left.

If they were not making distinction on the basis of colour when they entered the room, the seed was planted by the time they left. The problem is that in our day to day interactions, we often teach children to think in terms of colour and in line with our other biases, conscious or subconscious.
Selah

Where are you from? — by Susan Popoola

I’ve been networking for years so by now I should be prepared for the fact that if I go to a networking event or any other type of business gathering sooner or later someone is bound to turn to me and ask the question “were are you from?”  On the face of it, it’s a very simple question – in fact I’m told it’s supposed to be a nice icebreaker, which “naturally” follows on from the question – “what’s your name?” or as some tend to say, “who are you?”

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Shadows Of Disabled Heroes- by Pat Garcia

THE DISABLED

Regardless of whether it is a sudden sickness, fever, or an accident, a disability forces a person to face a new reality.  No longer the same, he or she has to tackle the impediments that bind and overcome the barriers that appear on his or her horizon. A person in such a situation is labeled disabled.

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A Shout-Out Against Domestic Violence – by Terry Howard

There’s been so much in the news lately about gender, women in particular, specifically about the plight of women globally, how they’re faring in the sciences and on corporate boards, the abduction of the girls in Nigeria, the national fixation on Hillary …and it goes on and on and on. However, when it comes to gender, for me there’s no greater gift than my 4-year-old granddaughter, Nadia Lucille Howard.  You see, Nadia owns me, plain and simple. And she knows it.

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Does Religious Diversity Have a Future? – by Deborah Levine & Terry Howard

Despite an increase in lawsuits related to religious expression and workplace discrimination, religious diversity is an area of Diversity & Inclusion often missing from leadership development.  The silence is due to lack of exposure and to fear, perhaps well-founded, that religious diversity training may actually increase animosity in the workplace, rather than build bridges. Given the recent Supreme Court ruling sanctioning public prayer as an American tradition, a tradition that has often been Christian, the role of diverse religions in the US is increasingly murky and contentious.

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Storm Volunteers Highlight Cultural Differences — by Beate Ziehres

I started to write this article while I was waiting to board a plane to Germany, my native country. My topic is helpfulness. I want to define the cultural differences around giving assistance between members of different nations. I want to share a few experiences here in the United States. They show a level of caring that’s really new to me.

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DUI and Roadside Shrines – by Micki Peluso

No More Roadside Shrines: So No Parent ever has To Hear The last Words, “Bye Mom” From Their Child.

Makeshift memorials are reminders that we must put an end to drunken driving once and for all. How tired are we, and weary of riding, driving or walking past flowers and wreaths, hung on poles and laid by roadsides. They might be considered pretty, if not serving as reminders of young lives lost to DUI (driving under the influence) accidents and vehicular homicides? These memorials stand as a warning to further deter these senseless deaths and injuries.

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Failing and Abusing Children – by Micki Peluso

The problem lies mostly with the boys, but girls, too, are aggressive, prone to bad language and general destructive behavior. Bullying smaller children, fighting among themselves and surliness toward adults is common to both sexes.Yet to all appearances, these children seem normal. Some are deceptively lovable, polite and well-mannered. They smile easily and give the appearance of friendly, gregarious young children of ages from eight to twelve-years-old. Whatever their outward aspect, they are also emotionally distraught, street savvy, proficient liars, thieves and con artists.

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