Having worked in the US for the last 40 some years, I was once a target of character assassination (CA). That experience prompted me to write this article to raise awareness that being a member of a minoritized group can put us at an additional risk of being targeted. This article explores the association between stereotype and character assassination.
Gordon Allport’s The Nature of Prejudice defines stereotype as an exaggerated belief associated with a category (i.e. a social group). Whether positive or negative, it is when one applies the group characteristics to a member of the group while ignoring the uniqueness of the specific member. This article focuses on the use of negative stereotype of a social group to attack the character of a member of the same group. Many times, this baseless accusation can have serious negative consequences on the victim, especially when it is turned into an act of CA.
Continue reading Stereotype and Character Assassination – by Julia Wai-Yin So
Woke people don’t stereotype, right? And, of course, white men can’t jump. Hm. Consider the following.
For relaxation, my wife Laurel and I attend a bi-weekly creative writing workshop. For a recent assignment, our instructor Jo Scott-Coe asked us to write about chocolate. Each of the other participants wrote about food. Not me. For whatever reason, Jo’s assignment triggered thoughts of former National Basketball Association guard Jason Williams.
Continue reading Diversity and Speech Part 30: The Strange Odyssey of Racial Sports Metaphors – by Carlos Cortés
This “letter” requires some imagination. It is purposefully direct, graphic, hard hitting and may cause some discomfort. The reader is urged to read it carefully, several times perhaps, then pass it along and maybe even make it the focal point of a small group discussion (family, classroom, fraternity, etc.)
Continue reading An open letter to the college student – by Terry Howard
I went 12 rounds with Donna, a “bout” that started eleven months ago when I settled into Douglasville, Georgia. You see, Donna, a full-size middle age white woman, and me, a full-bellied middle age black man, first came into contact with each other in the convenient store a mile from my house, a tiny place reminiscent of the bucolic town of Mayberry in the old Andy Griffith Show. This is the place I stop by early mornings for coffee and a newspaper. Donna works there.
Continue reading Tap Dancing with Donna – by Terry Howard
My daughter came home from Middle School where they were studying the Holocaust and asked me “Mommy, was grandpa a Nazi?” How do you answer such a question? Easy! I said “No”, because all of my life I had heard my parents rail against the Hitler regime. They sent my father to the Russian front and my mother to the basement for shelter from the Allied bombers attacking Berlin. But thirty years later, a fifth-grader in my French class, who was also learning about the Holocaust, asked me, “Why are the German people so awful?” Now the answer was not so easy, because the student unwittingly used a stereotype painting all present-day German people as Nazi criminals. Without going into the history of WWII, I briefly explained that not all Germans are awful, just like not all Americans are awful. Still, seeing an opportunity for a lesson, I taught the French words for “war and peace” (la guerre et la paix) and went on with class.
Continue reading Creating Cultural Tolerance, One Meal at a Time – by Elisabeth Falcone