Skills and Strategies for Engaging in Challenging Dialogues
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Diversity, Multiculturalism & Inclusion: Celebrating 50 Years of Title VII MNYSC HERC Diversity Conference 2014
Cheryl L. Franks, PhD, LMSW
How is this Work Represented in Your School’s Vision or Mission Statement?
How is this Work Represented by your School’s Leadership?
This is not “diversity light”!!
It’s more reflected in Chase’s lens on diversity…
“Diversity, generally understood and embraced, is not casual liberal tolerance of anything and everything not yourself. It is not polite accommodation instead, diversity is, in action, the sometimes painful awareness that other people, other races, other voices, other habits of mind, have as much integrity of being, as much claim on the world as you do...We are meant to be here together.” -William M. Chase, The Language of Action
How to we reach this level of diversity in our organizations? How do we create a climate of inclusion , connection and respect for differences? Recruit and retain toward a multicultural organization? Build effective, productive and collaborative cross-cultural teams? We can’t if we’re unable to talk about issues of race, skin-color, sexual orientation…in mixed company And that’s often the case! Folks I work with say they move away from these conversations…when asked why, they say they just don’t know how—some talk about fear and discomfort How do we do engaging in these conversations in our everyday professional interactions?
Nothing has prepared us to have these conversations in mixed company
We shouldn’t expect that we know how
If we do we don’t honor the body of knowledge and skill involved
Would you trust an untrained surgeon?
It does take a body of knowledge and skill
By the end of our time together today you will have increased your capacity to have these conversations even if just a little.
Dimensions of Identity and Difference
Race Skin color Ethnicity Nationhood Disability/ability Age Gender Sex Religion/spirituality Sexual orientation Language Geographic location
Beyond Diversity, Cultural Competence, Multiculturalism
Not Holding Hands and Singing We are the World
Issues of Power and Privilege
A Historical and Structural Analysis
Essential for the Development of Authentic Cross-Cultural Relationships in the Workplace Engaging in Challenging Dialogues in Supervision and Team/Staff Meetings
Across Any of These Dimensions
Without Which There is no Authenticity
Critical Consciousness Promoting critical consciousness means we need to pass through 3 levels of awareness Self, Social and Global-Awareness
Centers on a critical exploration of ourselves as cultural beings and toward achieving an aware and positive cultural identity. Encourages us to explore issues of race, disability, ethnicity, skin color, class, gender, age, religion/spirituality, nationhood, sexual orientation, language, sex assigned at birth and geographic location (not an exhaustive list). Full awareness is facilitated by not merely celebrating these dimensions of identity but through an analysis which includes and embraces issues of power, privilege, oppression and dominance and their impact on us as well as on those we serve.
Key to self-awareness is an understanding of how identity is closely tied to privilege, oppression and dominance through the use and/or misuse of power. Once we see the connection between identity and power relationships, we develop a healthy selfawareness that recognizes how oppression and privilege mark our own struggles and the struggle of others.
Enables us to think critically and reflectively about social issues, needs and capabilities in our communities and the communities of those we serve. It is both a knowledge base and set of cognitive skills that promote an analysis and problem solving on social conditions. Extends the power analysis which begins in self-awareness to an understanding of how groups and institutions sustain or ameliorate inequalities at the community level. It is through social awareness that we fully come to understand the roots of oppression, dominance and inequality both locally and globally.
Then allows us to transfer this knowledge, skill set and consciousness to empathizing with the struggles of oppressed people throughout the world. It embraces the intellectual understanding of the many universal forms of oppression from a historical, structural and systemic framework, while reaching for the actions and behaviors that demonstrate connectedness with others, empathy with suffering, and resistance to oppression. When we have reached a level of global awareness we often view the world as a place of possibilities and change. Most important, in our daily actions we consistently and in micro and macro ways work toward creating a better world.
Barack Obama’s Speech on Race Holding Both Leaping Over Dominance Not the Other Side of the Coin
Nothing Has Prepared Us The Piece of Furniture in the Middle of the Room Moving Closer, Moving Away Authenticity Building Capacity
Micro-aggressions/insults, macro-aggressions, micro-trauma
Racial and sexual orientation identity theory
Power and privilege; white privilege
Within groups issues
Help vs. Support (Capacity Building) Impact/Intent (Conflict Resolution)
Systems of Dominance and Oppression: Are we part of the problem or part of the solution
Goals vs. Methods Not instantaneous Cumulative Non-linear
Tolerance for ambiguity and complexity
If the goals are clear but the methods aren’t, people get confused
and think the goals aren’t clear
Life-long and over time New and different paradigms, worldviews: both/and vs. either/or
Serious, not Solemn, Fun!!
It’s about Structure
“If the structure does not permit dialogue, the structure must be changed”
increased our capacity (even if just a little) to tolerate the ambiguity, complexity and discomfort ESSENTIAL for engaging in challenging dialogues in our workplace enhanced our understanding (even if just a little) of structural issues of dominance, oppression, power, privilege and discrimination, and the important role they play in these conversations increased our capacity to dialogue with each other, support each other on these challenging conversations…nothing has prepared us, it is a body of knowledge and skill
Through cross-cultural dialogue we confront the reality of cultural difference, rather than subsuming it under dubious claims to universality. -Kristin Louise Savell in Crooms
A key element of dialogical praxis (drawing from Freire) is “conscientisation,” which can be described as the raising of consciousness through dialogue linking the personal and the political, in such a way that it opens up possibilities for action as people become more aware of the structures and the discourses that define and perpetuate oppression. -Jim Ife
We have run away from race for far too long. We are so afraid of inflaming the wound that we fail to deal with what remains America’s central social problem. We will never achieve racial healing if we do not confront each other, take risks, make ourselves vulnerable, put pride aside, say all the things we are not supposed to say in mixed company—in short, put on the table all of our fears, trepidations, wishes, and hopes. -Harlon L. Dalton
sustained commitment, concerted effort, and the attention of us all… -Lee Bollinger
Bearing witness to each other’s narratives and experiences...
Words vary with time, location and the individual so it’s important to respectively ask the person how they identify So, this work is about increasing our capacity for understanding and increasing our courage to ask…
I was in the doctor’s office last week and they asked me to fill out a form
The form asked for Gender: Male____Female____
It’s so much more complicated than that…
But we have to increase our capacity to hold that complexity
Transgender Cisgender Gender ambiguous Gender non-conforming Gender variant Gender queer Androgynous Two-Spirited …and it’s not an exhaustive list The related oppression is “genderism”
Male Female Transexual Intersex Two-spirited …and it’s not an exhaustive list
The related oppression is “sexism”
How might the gender or sex of your colleague, co-worker, supervisee , manager impact your ability to develop authentic crosscultural relationships in your professional role?
How might your gender or sex impact your ability to develop authentic cross-cultural relationships in your professional role ?
White or European American People of Color o Asian o Asian American o Latino/a/Hispanic/Chicano/a o Black/African American o East Asian o South Asian o Native American Biracial • Multiracial • …and it’s not an exhaustive list
The related oppression is “racism
How might your race impact your ability to develop authentic cross-cultural relationships in your professional role ?
Tasks of the Privileged
To resist false notions of equality. Not helpful equating suffering Intentions vs. consequences To challenge the ahistorical approach. The privileged cannot understand the subjugated out of context To develop thick skin To not become a FOE—framer of others’ experiences
Tasks of the Subjugated
To overcome learned voicelessness; to advocate for oneself To learn to exhale the negative messages that have become internalized To overcome the addiction to protect, educate or change the privileged To deal with one’s own rage, to channel it appropriately, not to eradicate it
To be the expert in your own experience, not of others
To create space for the telling of one’s story
To make space for both thoughts and feelings
Straight Heterosexual Gay Lesbian Bi-Sexual Pansexual Asexual Homosexual Queer Questioning Two-spirited …and it’s not an exhaustive list The related oppression is “heterosexism”
How might your sexual orientation impact your ability to develop authentic cross-cultural relationships in your professional role ?
Christian Catholic Muslim Buddhist Hindu Jewish Protestant Theist Sikh Wiccan Atheist Pagan Agnostic No religion • …and it’s not an exhaustive list The related oppression is “religionism”
How might your religion impact your ability to develop authentic cross-cultural relationships with your patients in your role as their nurse?
Identification with place of birth
Born outside the US
Born within the US, but not the New York City area Born within the New York City area