Culturally competent leaders can come from all levels of an organization or community. While leaders have the responsibility to move their organization towards positive change, it’s important they recognize they are also learning along the way. Becoming culturally competent is a journey not an event and no one person has all the answers. The best leaders are those who are intentional about developing their cultural competence through practice with others and by learning from their mistakes.Read More
The Seattle School Board Passed the Ensuring Educational and Racial Equity Policy on August 15th!
Below is the letter I sent to the Seattle School Board regarding the Equity Policy that was recently proposed. A final decision will be made at the August 15th Board meeting. As I mention in the letter, we’re asking them to amend the policy to include “Racial” in the title. Please email your support to firstname.lastname@example.org before that meeting. More info at the School Board website.Read More
What do you notice about this picture?
What does it tell you about desirable skin?
When I first asked these questions in a workshop, I got answers I was expecting, along the lines of:
“The woman on the left, the ‘before’ is the darkest, then the woman in the middle is lighter, and the woman on the ‘after’ side is white.”
“It shows darker skin is bad and lighter skin and straight blond hair are more desirable.”
“They’re all women in towels and they’re using these bodies to sell the soap. Also, there’s a difference in the way they are standing.”
This is a keynote I wrote for Peninsula High School’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Assembly on January 13th, 2012. Thanks to my many friends who contributed thoughts on what they wished they’d heard in high school, to Yarrow for the title idea, and to Caprice for her notes and ideas from similar presentations.
I’ve been an activist for social and environmental justice for most of my life. When I was 7 years old, my mom took me to my first Take Back the Night march to protest violence against women. When I was in high school in 1992, Buck Ghost Horse, a Lakota man I had been learning from, told me about a march, rally and protest commemorating the 500 year anniversary of Columbus Day. This was an event to highlight indigenous perspectives on Columbus, which, as you can imagine are quite different than mainstream European American ideas.Read More
Ah, fall. The leaves shine colorfully in the rain before they’re blown off by gusts of wind. Days turn swiftly to night. And racial stereotypes abound. Between Halloween, Thanksgiving and the usual ill-conceived party or auction theme, fall really tis the season of cultural appropriation and stereotyping.
It is this time of year that blogs such as Native Appropriations and Sociological Images annually post about racist costumes. This year, the student organization STARS at Ohio University came up with a campaign using the slogan, “We’re a Culture, Not a Costume”.Read More
How many of us start trying to find ways to mediate or show the commonalities in our beliefs when witnessing racial conflict between people or disagreeing with someone ourselves? How many are willing to stay engaged and understand the root of the disagreement?
How many of us have ended a conversation, only to go to someone else we knew would agree with us and talk about why the other person was wrong? How many are willing to challenge ourselves and our friends to consider we might be the one’s who need to change?Read More