Ways to Fight Hate and Promote Equity, Cultural Competency, Diversity and Social Justice

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holman-sandy by Sandy Holman

 We are living in perilous times.   Even as an eternal optimist, who will never lose hope for humanity, tries to see love in everyone, and has dedicated my life’s work to encouraging people to love themselves, others, and to share power and resources, I know something is snapping.  Hate, evil, and inequity, in all our major institutions, in the U.S and the world, have been around since the beginning of time, disproportionately affecting people of color and the financially oppressed, but something is changing at the core of all our humanity in an insidious and dangerous way.  It is not a time to be quiet or still.

There are many causes for our current state of affairs, a few of which are:

  • Lack of governmental action against inequities which are systemically, structurally, and historically favorable of certain groups over others.
  • Irrational propaganda surrounding President Obama, who is considered to be the first African-American president in our country, and his administration.  Regardless of one’s political preferences, it is important to note that no other president has had to tolerate being bombarded with racially-motivated attacks.
  • An overall suppressed economy, which leaves many of the world’s citizens in poverty.  Such conditions cater to fear, hatred, and manipulation of the general populous by those with nefarious intentions.
  • The greed-driven desires of certain entities to maintain power, which allow a very small percentage of people to control the majority of the world’s resources.

The aforementioned are just a few of the reasons we are faced with intensifying challenges, which often make me wonder what year this is.  I thought I was back in the ‘60s as I watched television and witnessed countless confederate flags flying as people fought for their right to honor what they saw as “Southern Heritage.”  The fact that there has been a tremendous increase in the sales of the confederate flag, following the church shooting in Charleston where lives were lost due to ignorance, is a telling indication of the continued sin of a country which has not faced up to its checkered past when it comes to racism and other “-isms.” Of course there are countless tragedies in our country, and around the world, which should have woken us up already, and I am not sure what it is going to take for us to truly get committed to humane and just changes in every facet of life.  For those of you who are already working hard to make a difference, I commend you.

This humble call to action is for those who feel that what is happening in our country, and our world, has nothing to do with them, and therefore have chosen to remain uninvolved.  I truly want to encourage you to reconsider because, with the way things are going, you will be affected, sooner are later, by the latest tragedy steeped in hate.  Below are a few ways to fight hate and promote equity, cultural competency, diversity and social justice.   There are many more, but I hope you see these as a beginning.  In the end, I hope you do something, no matter what it is, and add to the love that is so needed in a hurting world.  I hope you share some power, too.

1)    Know Yourself. Examine your own shortcomings, blind spots, bias, “-isms” and deficits, and work to change them.  Discover what talents, gifts, and capacities you have to make a difference and commit to doing so in an area that is passionate for you. (Perhaps your passion is inequities facing women, or advocacy for youth.)

2)    Make the effort to interact with people of various cultures.  Go to workshops, presentations, forums, celebratory events, and meet people from around your world with different faces from different places.  Read books that portray diverse world perspectives and come from varying ethnic authors so that you can develop a more holistic outlook.  In general, increase your level of cultural competency within and between cultural groups, which is based on building awareness, knowledge, skills and becoming a proactive individual. Remember stereotypes thrive in isolation, misinformation, and through limiting your exposure to different cultures (i.e. getting your perceptions about other groups of people solely from the media).  Meet some people who are different than you, and interact with them regularly. 

3)    Acknowledge and familiarize yourself with the underlying factors that contribute to inequity.  If you do not take any other workshop, you need to attend one that explores and explains the historic, structural and systemic factors, constructs, and policies that have created every gap in all of our major systems and institutions.  It will make the solutions you devise to address challenges become more likely to succeed, because they will be targeted at the roots of the problems we often see today.  By not doing this, it is easy to blame people and various groups for all that is happening to them.  You will also understand why current approaches often do not work. This suggestion is absolutely critical if we are truly going to change systems and their impact. (The Culture C.O.-. O.P. offers a workshop like this nationally)

4)    Research Systems Theory.  Gain an intimate understanding of how oppressive systems work and impact peoples’ lives so that, like a puzzle where you put all the pieces together, you begin to see what truly needs to be addressed.  What is happening goes way beyond just individual accountability (although that plays a role too).  This will make you a more effective advocate in making change in your community and beyond.

5)    Connect with your cause.  Collaborate with others or an organization to take action when something happens in your community. In fact, create a plan to be proactive, and not just reactive, when hate or injustice rears its ugly head. Vigils, marches, and protests are great, but creating a plan and implementing it to create a safe, equitable and just environment, one that is inhospitable to bigotry and intolerance, will provide you and your community with an invaluable tool in responding to hateful situations.

6)    Don’t reinvent the wheel.  Familiarize yourself with national and local organizations which have information, templates, and approaches that have been successful in fighting hate so that you do not reinvent the wheel. You can email me at info@cultureco-op.com to get obtain a sample list which will link you to others. They also have valuable research and information that will be extremely helpful to you.

7)    Do your research so you know what is the best response for whatever issue you are trying to address.  Some actions are more appropriate than others and will yield a better result.

8)    Remember that the youth are the future.  Instill love and respect in our youth whenever possible using your wonderful talents, parenting skills and acquired tools so we can begin to impact future generations in a positive way. This may mean you decide to mentor someone and that is a powerful thing you can do!

9)    Do something when hate or injustice occurs in your community or beyond. Support people who have been victimized. Staying silent sends the wrong message and allows hate to grow.

10) Petition our leaders. One letter is considered like 100 so let them know how you feel about their actions, policies they are voting on that will hurt people, and in the end by your vote when it is election time.  Send a strong message that injustice will not be tolerated.

11) Once a month, challenge yourself to meet someone new, go some place different or learn something that can make the world a better place.  This has changed my life, and my friends reflect the world we live in.  It has enriched my life tremendously and I have many allies as a result.  Truly commit to interacting with real people and learn about their culture, history and life story.  It will transform you.  These are just a few things you can do to get started or continue your journey!

Edited by Hannah Vahldick. Sandy Holman is a Davis resident and Executive Director of The Culture Co-OP. The Culture C.O.-O.P. promotes understanding and respect for diversity/equity, cultural competency, literacy and a quality education for all. We accomplish our mission through a comprehensive approach which engages key partners who interface regularly with youth.

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10 thoughts on “Ways to Fight Hate and Promote Equity, Cultural Competency, Diversity and Social Justice”

  1. Alan Miller

    What brings about things like increased sales of the confederate flag is the death cries of a fading culture in denial, not a resurgence of hate.  Yes, youth are our future.  The young, as a whole, simply do hang around more with ‘others’, or maybe they just don’t see it that way.

  2. Tia Will

    Thanks for the article. Many good points were made. I would like to add an alternative way of seeing two of the points made.

    6)    Don’t reinvent the wheel.  Familiarize yourself with national and local organizations which have information, templates, and approaches that have been successful in fighting hate so that you do not reinvent the wheel. You can email me at info@cultureco-op.com to get obtain a sample list which will link you to others. They also have valuable research and information that will be extremely helpful to you.

    7)    Do your research so you know what is the best response for whatever issue you are trying to address.  Some actions are more appropriate than others and will yield a better result.”

    I agree wholeheartedly with the idea of researching what has been done to date and which approaches have yielded the best results until now. However, I would be careful about allowing what has already been tried to stifle one’s own creativity. Strong progress forward in social movements has often been achieved by those who saw the issue, or the world differently, and built upon the foundation of what others had done previously to create a new paradigm more effective than previous efforts. I see creativity and the reframing of issues as vital to progress in the social sphere as they are in the economic or scientific sphere’s. We must not lose sight of our ability to imagine and to dream as integral to our ability to improve.

     

  3. Frankly

    What brings about things like increased sales of the confederate flag is the death cries of a fading culture in denial, not a resurgence of hate.

    Thank you Alan Miller.   I suggest that one of the first steps to bridging the gaps is to stop using terms like “hate” and “racist” unless there is indisputable evidence of behavior.  Otherwise is it is worthy of being labeled the same that it claims in others.

    Gain an intimate understanding of how oppressive systems work and impact peoples’ lives so that, like a puzzle where you put all the pieces together, you begin to see what truly needs to be addressed.  What is happening goes way beyond just individual accountability (although that plays a role too).  This will make you a more effective advocate in making change in your community and beyond.

    First point is that this author seemingly does not have a clue about what systems theory or systems thinking really means.

    Second, what she writes is completely backwards.  This is the victim mentality narrative… that it is others or the system oppressing people and not their individual behavior that is responsible for their current status in life.   BS, BS, BS.   Black immigrants come to this country and they do fine.  If current American blacks are so oppressed by others or the system then how can this be?  What about other races in this country?  If racism is the problem and the system is oppressing people of color then why don’t people of other races share in the misery of blacks and make the same claims of oppression and racial bias against them?

    This stuff really pisses me off, because for this author to write this she and others are likely saying the same to their children.  They are surely imprinting this race-based victim mentality that leads developing kids to turn to excuses of external blame for every setback in life.  That is the exact opposite of what successful people learn.  Successful people learn to seek the opportunity and when they fall off the horse, they keep getting back on.  They don’t blame others or the system, they work to minimize the negative and maximize the positive.  They learn to make good decision… to not make critical mistakes.

    The 70% out of wedlock black birthrate problem is not the fault of the cops or the system.  It is a problem that stems from poor individual choice.  From insecure girls and culturally and socially disenfranchised boys… the kids being told by their parents that the system and whites are against them… imprinting in their minds that they are destined to be just like their parents… so why try to be different?

    There is one system issue that I can agree with… the education system.   If black activists really want to help make a difference in their communities, they would demand school choice to break up the Democrat union cabal that focuses on the money flowing to the unions members and politicians and little about the actual welfare of the students.

    1. Davis Progressive

      “There is one system issue that I ca”n agree with… the education system.   If black activists really want to help make a difference in their communities, they would demand school choice to break up the Democrat union cabal that focuses on the money flowing to the unions members and politicians and little about the actual welfare of the students.”

      i just think you’re in denial about something.  i watch the anti-science – anti-evolution – anti-global warming – wing of the republican party and do not believe they are the ones who are going to improve the educational system.  the more interesting changes are actually coming from democrats in california who have joined with blacks and latinos, but even that is questionable.

      1. Frankly

        Bull.  The Democrats are in so deep with the teachers union that they cannot risk pushing the type of innovation we need.

        However, the fear of Republicans taking the education platform and utilizing the anger of parents about the crappy state of the education system might actually cause Democrats to do some reform.  That is good.  But it will be inadequate.

        The US spends more per student that any other country when the government-published costs are adjusted for accuracy.  The entire education system is a mess… from K-12 to higher learning.  The business model is broken.  We are paying WAY too much based on the meager returns.   Generations of blacks have been decimated by this crappy system and by Democrats that value keeping the unions fat and happy, and the environment pristine over the types of education and economic policy that would otherwise truly help the black community advance.

        Your “anti-science”, “anti-evolution”, “anti-global-warming” points don’t even connect with these issue.  They are just your Godless liberal religion in conflict with another religious view.   It is DNC campaign twaddle and you should be ashamed of yourself for being their mouthpiece considering your claim of being independent.

        1. Davis Progressive

          “Your “anti-science”, “anti-evolution”, “anti-global-warming” points don’t even connect with these issue.  They are just your Godless liberal religion in conflict with another religious view.   It is DNC campaign twaddle and you should be ashamed of yourself for being their mouthpiece considering your claim of being independent.”

          thanks for proving my point.  simply don’t believe that republicans are up to the job of improving education with their anti-scientific bent.

        2. Frankly

          More BS.  It is just your religious views versus another.  Your bias versus another.

          Do Republican’s deny science more often than Democrats? Turns out they don’t. But Republicans are more vulnerable because a hostile media is more likely to ask GOP candidates questions that potentially put them at odds with their base.

          Take childhood vaccines. No doubt there are people on the right who are fearful of them. But there are a whole slew of Hollywood liberals who believe that vaccines cause autism and they are very vocal about it.

          Or consider fluoridation of the water supply. This used to be a bugaboo of the right. But more recently it was liberal Portland, Oregon that nixed the idea.

          More generally, people tend to pick and choose what they want to accept from science. Take young people. Jamelle Bouie writes at Slate:

          “Seventy-three percent of Americans age 18 to 29 accept evolution, but only 39 percent say it’s safe to eat genetically modified foods and 61 percent say scientists don’t have a clear understanding of genetically modified crops.”

          The big problem for Republicans is not what they believe. Their problem is that anti-Republican reporters are asking the questions. As Jonah Goldberg complains:
          “Why does the Left get to pick which issues are the benchmarks for “science”? Why can’t the measure of being pro-science be the question of heritability of intelligence? Or the existence of fetal pain? Or the distribution of cognitive abilities among the sexes at the extreme right tail of the bell curve? Or if that’s too upsetting, how about dividing the line between those who are pro- and anti-science along the lines of support for geoengineering? Or — coming soon — the role cosmic rays play in cloud formation? Why not make it about support for nuclear power? Or Yucca Mountain? Why not deride the idiots who oppose genetically modified crops, even when they might prevent blindness in children?’

          http://www.forbes.com/sites/johngoodman/2015/03/05/who-is-more-anti-science-republicans-or-democrats/

  4. TrueBlueDevil

    We have spent trillions of dollars trying to rectify “inequalities”, but those are natural when you add in freedom to make good (or bad) choices, human frailties, competition, various levels of motivation, and many other factors. Hence Japanese-Americans outperforming European-Americans in many social and economic measures. Common sense choices like saving money, getting married, working for an education, creating a strong family unit and possibly starting a business.

    Many crime statistics have been dramatically reduced the past decade. Tens of thousands of young men, many black,  have had their lives saved. In some regard, we should be celebrating this success. But thanks to Barack Obama, George Soros, Media Matters, Eric Holder, Al Sharpton, and others, we have done the exact opposite. While Ferguson erupts again, President Obama plays golf at Martha’s Vineyard.

    I see little evidence for “racially motivated” attacks. In fact, he gained the White House with a thin resume, and Chicago-style political moves. He had a coronation his first 2 years in office. He got the Nobel Prize for nothing, his chair wasn’t even warm! (This is more a slap at the Nobel organization, not Obama.) He passed health care “reform” that no other President was able to achieve, and passed a record $900 Billion “stimulus”. He lied about the ACA, and the stimulus failed. We know this. (GDP growth rate of 2.0% is historically low.) His policies have failed.

    BTW, John Kennedy faced racism due to his religion, George Bush Jr. was constantly mocked with pictures as being a monkey, while at the same time being accused of having an affair with Condi Rice.

    “Greed-drive” entities? Like Bill and Hillary Clinton making $221 Million the past 10-15 years, and flying everywhere on top-of-the-line private jets?

    The Charleston church shooting was a travesty, and that congregation has handled it with amazing grace and strength. My prayers go out to them.

    My guess is that this writer thinks Big Government is great and needed, but if she was indeed widely read, she would see that groups that have succeeded beyond the norm – Jewish-Americans, Chinese-Americans, Ethiopian-Americans, and many others – haven’t done it on the back of the government. The government helped to destroy the black family with liberal policies.

     

  5. Tia Will

    It certainly didn’t take long for an article that points out inequities in our system which I am quite certain that we all know do exist, regardless of what we see as the underlying causes. From a view point on how each individual can make a difference, which as Frankly accurately points out is where we all have to start ( namely with control over our own behavior) into the usual diatribe of finger pointing, examining what others do wrong and the presumed self righteousness underlying the idea that if one is “successful” that must be exclusively of one’s own doing. No luck, no mentorship, no having opportunities that were not available to others because of their background, their location, their inability to take advantage of opportunities that might exist because they themselves do not see them as possibilities.

    How did this get from the concept of starting with ourselves, which is the only place, we can start,to the usual diatribe of “its all their fault”?  Whomever we perceive that “they” to be.

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