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Social Desirability: This phenomenon is most closely aligned with the concept of being “politically correct” versus being simply “appropriate.” It also has to do with what people say in public versus what people say in private spaces – unless their public space is private. But, even then, social desirability holds. It may be shifted and narrowed, but there is still a gap between what is considered okay to say in public and what is said in private. Social desirability flavors our language and our rhetoric – where language is our public voice, and rhetoric is our private voice. When rhetoric becomes one’s public voice, and when one is powerful enough to become the Pied Piper, we have a mob effect. It is good, because it lays naked what was heretofore clothed. It is good to know what the soul says. It is scary, because we do not know if there is any countervailing force…sufficient to beat back the mob. Never ridicule a mob. It simply grows stronger. Ridicule is a swift wind that serves only to fan the flames and reassert the mob’s posture of “us versus them.” Crush it. Interestingly though, many in the mob are not mobsters. They are simply hurt and hurting. However, it serves you nothing to try to speak to their higher angels. You have to crush the mob. It jolts them back into consciousness – and they take their forks and hoes, knives and swords, and go back home. You have to crush the mob. Do not isolate its head. Anger and betrayal, it simply grows another stronger one. Draw it into the open, and crush the mob. When calm is restored, address their hurt and hurting. Because is you don’t, you have left enough embers to reignite that fire. There is a reason they were so easy to pick up arms and join the mob. Find out what that is and deal with it.

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At a news conference at the State Capitol Wednesday evening, Brewer said the bill “could result in unintended and negative consequences. … I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve,” Brewer said. (MSN)

Move over, let me get on my soap-box for two minutes:  For eons, I have been saying that every move is first and foremost a business decision.  Then we deal with morals and integrity and all those fancy scrabble words.   The very first question is: “How is it in my best business interest to make or not make this change?”  Whether it be choosing to go to war, continuing or ending slavery, civil rights, shifting the voting laws, challenging health care, our beloved prison system, current education challenges…  Pick anything.  If you do not think that religion is about money, sit quietly in the pew for a while.  

I do not care how wrong you think any issue is.  You may hold the moral high-ground. I am simply telling you that standing and yelling in a crowded room will do nothing for your movement until you find that spigot!  You must demonstrate…you must convince me that it is either in my best financial interest to make this change, or the cost to not making it will be substantial.  Either this change will make me money, or not making it will cost me huge money.  Then they find morality!   

If you think that Jan Brewer had some moral epiphany, I have some swamp land in Florida to sell you!  This is less about Arizona and their current issue and much much more about every social issue you confront.

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Rude and Unprofessional Worker.

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There is a Window…

Here is the challenge that you, I, we face.

There is a window.  And there are certain people, populations, identities who control access through that window.  Notice I said “through” and not “to.”  Many of us got “to” that window.  Very few are welcomed “through.”

So let us go back to the concept of the window.  There are certain behaviors, some subtle, some clearly articulated, that you (whoever “you” is) have to enact to be allowed through that window.

At this time in our history, one of those persistent behaviors is “color.”

There are others.  But that is one behavior that has, as yet, been resistant to shifts in place and time.

Cultures, both social and ethnic, are not blind to this.

As a young man from the Dominican Republic, I fully understand that there is potential (not certainty) if I demonstrate a high level of competence in baseball.

As a young man from the challenged areas of Brasil, I fully understand that there is potential (not certainty) if I demonstrate a high level of competence in soccer.

As a young man from the challenged areas of North America, I fully understand that there is potential (not certainty) if I demonstrate a high level of competence in basketball, or  football.

There is a window, and certain groups control access to and through that window. The question becomes: What are you willing to do, to give up, to reject of yourself, in order to (hope to) be offered access to, or through that window?

The greatest challenge is – control of that access port!!

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The Story of The Earth People

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoT1dbf9DBI&feature=related  The Story of The Earth People

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As you guys float on into your personal, social, academic, and professional futures, please leave me with this gift.

I want to know what worked, what did not work, what was over-done, done just right, and under-cooked.

This helps us make this experience better and better, knowing that no two groups of students is ever the same.

Thank you for the honor of having worked with each of you.

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This is tough though tough.  If we actually achieve a post-racial world, what’ll we do with all those jokes about Asians, and Blacks, and poor Whites, and the physically and mentally handicapped, and gays, and…  I mean if we can’t caricature people what would Jeff Dunham do?  What would Tosh.O do? What would Martin Lawrence do?  Do you mean that I won’t think that Asians make the worst drivers anymore…and when I see a bad driver and he or she is Asian…then what?   So won’t I pull my purse anymore?  So what happens if I don’t pull my purse and some Black guy rips it off or jacks my car or something?  So I don’t think that every White man with a jacket and tie and a smile is a liar and is in it just for the money or prestige?

Because if you think of it, we need to retain difference.  I need to have a bigger house than you…and feel justified in my earning it.  I need to my kids to go to ballet and gymnastics.  I need to feel elevated and special, and if all of this separation goes away – then whom do I laugh at?  Whom do I look down on?  I need a BMW and a yacht and a big house and a cabin and a cool-ass sports car.  And if it is post-racial, then everybody has an equal chance to get that.  I don’t know if I want that.  Can we just talk about it a bit more while I hook-up my bank account on some poor folks’ backs?   Oh well!!!

Hey, here is a question for you:  I have a dog who is really really ill.  I lift her to take her downstairs ’cause I don’t want her to hurt herself.  But on the flat, I make sure she walks – that’s ’cause I don’t want to weaken her and make her muscles atrophy and her bones brittle. 

Yet, we have many well-meaning teachers, and socially active agencies that keep lifting my kids up.  They lift them up the stairs.  They lift them down the stairs.  They lift them on the flat.  They don’t give them any challenging work to do.  Or some of my Special Education teachers actually give my kids the answers.   Or some of my Regular education teachers just let them sit there or walk out of class. 

I’ll give you an example.  I have a school that keeps paying for one of my kid’s medicine – because they know he needs it and because they care.   They’ve been doing this since he was in third grade.  The medicine is expensive.  His mother does not have the money or the ability to find that kind of money.  The kid needs the medicine.  

I understand all of that.  I really do.  But tell me this: How come his mother (no dad) does not pay for a certain percentage – even $10:00?  I’ve seen this behavior a lot amongst well-meaning, caring people.  It’s like me lifting my dog up the stairs, down the stairs, and one the flat – – – and wondering why she keeps getting weaker and weaker! !

 So I asked a principal about this pattern I have noticed in really wonderfully, caring teachers and here is what she told me.  “They keep preparing my kids for jail…and they don’t even realize it.  Kids, regardless of life circumstance, must be held responsible for their learning…for their actions. ”  

 This giving and giving behavior, she says, is keeping both the kids and families in a weakened and submissive state.  This leads to an under-skilled, un-readied population. They keep preparing my kids for jail

For this final (maybe we’ll have another final one) – for this final blog, really dig into this for me.  Let’s get some thoughtful discussions going.

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We have spent almost three months examining how issues of race and diversity inform, consciously and unconsciously, and impact a wide range of human concerns:  from justice to education to health to democracy to  … the list has been long!

But – what about the folks who say we live in a post-racial society and race is only a consideration because it is brought up at all?  “Nobody gives a damn about race anymore! We don’t want to hear it!” …that it is even a red herring in many debates – that race, in and of itself, shouldn’t be a consideration?  …that point to the election of a Black president a clear demonstration of a post-racial society?   …that point to a Latino on their Board of Directors as demonstration of a post-racial society?  …that point to a Black Police Chief as evidence of a post-racial society?  …that point to a gay-Latina as Fire Chief as evidence of a post-racial society?

Or what about the other side of the discussion that says that those examples only serve to demonstrate that we are clearly not there yet.  The fact that in 2011 we have to search for one Black grain of rice or one Brown grain of rice, or the first woman, or to feel the need to boast that we’re the first to make our facilities all inclusive, simply strengthens the argument that we are not even close to being a post-racial society.    

To create a post-racial society do we simply start acting like we live in post-racial society?

Does concern for race distract us?  Are we too pc and all tied up in something that does not matter?

Discuss.

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I’ve had Jews compare their histories and experiences with Blacks – yet we see how they’ve moved ahead.  I’ve had Latinos compare their struggles with those of Blacks – yet in many social dimensions, they have moved ahead.  I’ve had a paraplegic soldier tell me that he feels left out and cast aside…just like a Black.

Chris Rock, a famous comedian, in one of his comedy routines tells the crowd that he has millions of dollars, but not one of you would want to switch lives with him.  The crows laughed knowingly, approvingly, uncomfortably.  Somebody spoke their truth.  He joked that his mail carrier chided him one day stating: “Yeah you have lots and lots of money…but ha – at least I’m not Black.”  I was sitting on my couch watching that, and I remember nodding my head. “Damn straight!” I thought to myself.

Many adult Blacks of other cultures will angrily tell you: “I’m not African American.  I am Black.”  What is this recognition and simultaneous rejection of self by self and self by other? 

Can anyone explain that to me?  What is this all about? 

Comment.

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We’ve had some really interesting conversations to date this semester. We’ve talked with folks representing racial and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, LGBTQI youth and young adults, and we’ve read some interesting perspectives. It seems that there are some very fundamental issues of inclusion and exclusion that are faced by all marginalized communities. It also seems that all marginalized communities share a feeling of External Locus of Control…a sense that each can do only so much before somebody locks the door, pulls the chair, pushes them back down, does not allow them to go further, creates socialized environments to exclude them… Yet – – – somehow we don’t see those fundamental issues as universal or stretching across all communities. Why do we empathize with some populations and not with others? Why will we be concerned about inclusion rights for one group, but not another? What are the differences (internal, external, learned, subconscious, social, political…) we see that account for our different reactions to different populations?

This weekend a protester at the capitol was holding a sign, featuring four symbols representing LGBTQI/Women/Latinos/Blacks. The message read, “Different Differences but Same Need for Equality.”  

Comment.

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