On another note, I just returned from Dr. Samuel Betances lecture on The Benefits and Values of Diversity to The University of Akron. He was a great speaker, entertaining and motivational. He touched on many topics and clearly has significant background and experience lecturing and mentoring on such topics as diversity. His bio mentions he is biracial, bicultural and bilingual. In his lecture he talked about his father being black and his mother being white. He touched on the roots of racism and summarized well how to avoid prejudice and instead seek collaboration. Excellent lecture full of humor and content.
Dr. Betances had a motto, I guess you could call it, which was to reject rejection and instead embrace yourself. It is a very interesting thought, and one I have been going over in my head. I've been watching Sports Center on ESPN lately with the Superbowl this past week. I have to make the connection between what Dr. Betances was talking about, and Mike Tomlin, the coach of the Steelers. Tomlin commented that "he will continue to age but will always be black." That quote was in reference to the attention drawn to him being the youngest coach to win the Superbowl, but the lack of coverage regarding his race. Has there been a shift in the media? Is it possible that we are beginning to see things with a multicultural perspective. Mike Tomlin knows he is black and has rejected rejection. He has embraced who he is and what makes him vital to the Steelers success. As a country do we see him as a "Coach" or a "Black Coach?"
Last point to mention here, Dr. B. had everyone in the audience do a small exercise. It was to think back to a time when we saw an act of discrimination and we did nothing about it. Or worse yet, think back to a situation where we were part of the discrimination. Then he had us think of an event in our lives where we helped someone being discriminated or stood up for them. When looking back can we find each situation, the problem and the solution? I know in my own life I can. I can think of times when I discriminated, ignored someone else being discriminated, told or laughed at jokes that discriminated. However, I can also think of times when I helped others that were being discriminated against, of times when I didn't laugh at the joke or ignored the person saying it. I can think back to times when I confronted the person discriminating.
My goal for myself is to increase the times being the solution and reduce the times being the problem.
Dr. B.'s website: www.betances.com