Archive for the Diversity Category

The N-Word: An Interactive Project Exploring a Singular Word

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Diversity, Gary A. Johnson, Racism with tags , , , , , on November 10, 2014 by Gary Johnson

nword-promo-4x3

By Gary A. Johnson

The Washington Post has a fascinating interactive project exploring the use of the N-word.  Written by Dave Sheinin and Krissah Thompson with contributions by Lonnae O’Neal Parker, this N-word project is described by the Washington Post as follows:

“Following several incidents involving players using the n-word, the National Football League this year instructed game officials to penalize players who used the word on the field of play. The policy, though, was widely criticized as being heavy-handed and out of touch. As the league wrestled with the issue, a team of Washington Post journalists examined the history of this singular American word, its spread through popular culture and its place in the vernacular today.”

In short, this project features 34 people, 9 questions and 1 word.

According to search data on the social media analytics website Topsy.com, the word is used 500,000 times a day on Twitter — as “nigga.”

The N word project allows you to select several topic areas that lead to a custom video.  You can also watch and listen to 34 conversations or start a conversation by posting a question about the N-word and sharing it with your network.

Here’s a sample of some of the aspects of the word explored in this project:

  • Are we giving the word too much power or is the word just that powerful?
  • Why would anyone willingly use a word that’s only meaning is one designed to make someone feel bad for being born the way they are.
  • Why do white people want to use a word that would only make situations awkward in the context of their skin color?
  • Does avoiding the word actually deconstruct racism, or does it simply hide ongoing prejudice under a veneer of political correctness?
  • Why is it okay for African-Americans to say it, but only okay for whites to say the n-word when an African-American gives them a “pass”?

Click here to get started and join the conversation.

Photos courtesy Nikki Kahn and Michael S. Williamson

GJohnson Gary A. Johnson is the Founder & Publisher of Black Men In America.com a popular online magazine on the Internet and the Black Men In America.com Blog. Gary is also the author of the book “25 Things That Really Matter In Life.To learn more about Gary click here.

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Video “10 Hours of Walking in NYC As A Woman” Raises Question of Racial Bias

Posted in African Americans, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Diversity, Racism, Women's Interests with tags , , , , , , on November 1, 2014 by Gary Johnson

Shoshona

By Gary A. Johnson

There’s been a lot of talk among social media the last few days about the Public Service Announcement (PSA) video featuring 24-year old actor Shoshana B. Roberts, who worked with Rob Bliss, a Washington Times Columnist, Director, and a professional speaker.  Bliss runs his own agency that specializes in viral videos connected to current topics, trends and events.

Bliss partnered with Hollaback!, an organization that wants to call attention to street harassment and intimidation, including “catcalls” directed at women.  In the video, Roberts was secretly recorded walking 10 hours through parts of New York City.

Roberts was not dressed provocatively.  In fact, she wore a T-shirt and jeans.  The video is supposed to remind viewers that many men don’t think about the consequences of invading the space of women and intimidating them by yelling, hollering, complimenting and in some cases, following them.

I don’t doubt for one second that this is the experience of many, if not all woman at some point in their lives.  The video sparks a conversation about when does one cross the line.  When you watch this video the “compliments” appear to be unwanted.

When does giving a woman a compliment cross the line into harassment?  Harassment is against the law.

Often times, “how” things are said, can be just as offensive as what was said.  You can also make an argument that not all women would have found some of the comments in the video to be unwanted or offensive.  However, many of the women that I know talk about the cumulative affect of men just hollering at them and how that behavior ranges from annoying to unwanted to offensive.  Further, many of the women that I know report that some men don’t know when to STOP, even if you acknowledge them with a polite nod, “thank you” or smile.

My concern is not the message of the video–it is the EDITING of the video.

The video notes that 100+ instances of verbal street harassment took place within 10 hours, involving people of all backgrounds.   Most of the men shown following, harassing and yelling at Roberts are Black and Latino.  Did Roberts only walk through areas heavily populated by Blacks and Latinos?  The video, which is less than 2:00 minutes long, clearly makes the point about women being harassed.

The video was viewed more than 15 million times in the first three days.  What was left on the cutting room floor?  Who decided what would be seen by the public?  When viewed through a racial prism the video shows a young white woman walking through New York City being harassed mostly by Black and Latino men.

Where were the white guys?  Did they not holla or say anything?

Several media outlets have questioned the video’s racial portrayal.  Last week, Bliss issued the following statement via a blog post that was later deleted.  “We got a fair amount of white guys, but for whatever reason, a lot of what they said was in passing, or off camera.”

Hollaback! also issued a statement about the video.  Part of the statement read:  “First, we regret the unintended racial bias in the editing of the video that over represents men of color. Although we appreciate Rob’s support, we are committed to showing the complete picture. It is our hope and intention that this video will be the start of a series to demonstrate that the type of harassment we’re concerned about is directed toward women of all races and ethnicities and conducted by an equally diverse population of men.  Hollaback! understands that harassment is a broad problem perpetuated by a diversity of individuals regardless of race. There is no one profile for a harasser and harassment comes in many different forms.”

In a telephone interview with The Washington Post, Shoshana Roberts said:  “We walked in a lot of neighborhoods. We’d hop on the subway, head to another neighborhood.  Midtown, Soho, Harlem, Brooklyn Bridge, South Ferry area. We went just a tad into Queens.  The two-minute video couldn’t show all that we did. There was a lot of ground we covered.”

I don’t think there was any sinister racial motives on the part of anyone making of this video.  The video clearly makes the case about the problem of street harassment.  As a result of the video, a secondary conversation about race is also taking place and that’s a good thing.  One of the unintended consequences of the video is that we all have “blind spots.”  The “blind spot” in this case was the racial imbalance of the men portrayed in the video.  Things like this happen at an unconscious level.  Just because it happened doesn’t mean that the video is less effective or that the people who made the video are bad people–they’re not.

Another conversation can be about the onslaught of rape and death threats directed at Shoshana B. Roberts.  According to Hollaback! Roberts has rape and death threats.

In case you haven’t seen the video, click here.  The following 2 videos, crude as they may be show the other point of view and perhaps calling into question, that much of the behavior directed toward Shoshana does not cross the line and constitute harassment.

So what can we learn about sexual harassment and racial bias as a result of this video?  Are there any additional lessons to be learned?

Gary A. Johnson is the Founder & Publisher of Black Men In America.com a popular online magazine on the Internet and the Black Men In America.com Blog. Gary is also the author of the book “25 Things That Really Matter In Life.To learn more about Gary click here.

Humanistic Inclusion

Posted in African Americans, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Diversity, Fatherhood, Women's Interests with tags , , , on February 25, 2014 by Gary Johnson

   chakras

Humanistic Inclusion is a social science technology developed by Dr. Jerry “Doc” Semper that promotes “Man,” always be appropriately kind to all persons as much as circumstances permit.  Humans should welcome with sincere appreciation all others of the human species, unless circumstances require otherwise. Our default towards others should be to Trust, and have appropriate Manners, as our way of being.


Improving Family Interactions

Speak kind loving words, as much as possible. Be about promoting harmony with family members as often as possible. Hugs, and kisses are needed; even the “mob”, does it. Many citizens of other countries and religions conduct their everyday lives, by including hugs, and kisses; as signs of affection and caring.

Everything is not for everyone, including Dr. Spock. Some of the things espoused are not appropriate to several groups of young people. The method used by Spock is more effective with groups that view the world and events as Spock did. As parents values and conditions “line up”, with those as explained by Spock, then the methodology becomes far more achievable.   Not being in line with Spock creates implementation problems, using his approach. There is no one size fits all in child rearing, the best methods stem from caring, and doing the right thing, because it is the right thing.

Prying parents have a better chance of controlling, by asking questions, interest is shown, and an opportunity to influence is created. Properly executed an information-sharing bond will be created.   Having information in common may bring about closeness in family, through communication.

Learning to “out think” your children, by “coaching” them towards the directions you as a parent have chosen for them, is the best method for moving young people, positively. It is better to rule with “sincerity, and “cunning” rather then relying on fear and brute force; the later, requiring proximity, and communication; the former, effective whether near or far.

Mama_on_the_Grind

Teach life skills; those things necessary for a better life. Teach children how to determine “better”, as a gauge towards assessing present position. Teach that in order to get there, it is necessary to know the starting point.   Teach that style is just one aspect of our daily interactions, with both people known, and strangers Teach children to look for “sincerity of purpose”, especially when dealing with “authority figures”.   Teach that disagreeing with the “coach” may be appropriate, providing the understanding that the “coach” is.

A “ranking order” is necessary, and it should be known. Oftentimes, it isn’t discussed, except in anger. Temporary shifting of command is fine, however it must be understood, the structure remains ” intact, ” a seeming promotion that is temporary, based on current conditions.   Allowing a leadership role, for small tasks, creates a teachable moment, use it.   One way to learn, is to watch carefully   A better way is to be able, to watch, participate, and ask questions.

We should spend time teaching children, especially our own. When teaching children it is important to remember, who you were, at that age.  Those thoughts will provide a starting point for decisions; by giving a basis for actions.


Doc2 About Doc Semper

Jerry “Doc” Semper is an internationally known “Leadership Life Skills” training consultant and seminar leader for organizations and individuals seeking to improve in both productivity and harmony. He uses effective, practical principles developed from academic training, combined with hands-on involvement as a team member with police, military, and Fortune 500 corporations. A provider of specific programs for Youth and Families, for several national organizations; a Police Department trainer for well over 100 organizations; a trainer for Educators, and Government employees of several agencies; and a sought-after Corporate trainer for Fortune 200 companies. His programs receive widespread recognition for substance, and immediate results.

“Doc” is President of Semper Associates Coaching Academy.  He is a Vietnam era veteran, a Criminal Justice Professor, a former Acting Assistant U.S. Attorney, Minority Affairs Specialist for AARP, co-author of the National Community Oriented Police Curriculum, and a former decorated New York City Police Officer.

A former Senior Consultant for Skillpath Seminars. “Doc” infuses learning with motivation that causes participants to become pro-active. He is an excellent facilitator and trainer in all areas of human development.

“Doc” holds a Juris Doctorate from Howard University and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Fordham University.

Nick Cannon, Honda and the Best Yourself Campaign Sends A Positive Message

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Diversity, Events and Annoucements with tags , , on August 25, 2013 by Gary Johnson

Nick Cannon

Honda launched a new television and digital advertising campaign this week in support of the 2013 Civic. Targeting millennials, the ‘Best Yourself’ campaign celebrates diversity and the drive to achieve success through non-traditional paths.

“We believe that things can always be better and this sentiment can be seen in the numerous improvements we made to the 2013 Civic. Honda made the best-selling compact car in the U.S. even better,” said Mike Accavitti, senior vice president of auto operations at American Honda Motor Co., Inc., “The emotionally compelling and multi-layered ‘Best Yourself’ campaign is built on this foundation of continuous improvement by celebrating individual’s achievements towards personal greatness. We look forward to seeing how consumers exemplify this through the #BestYourself social community.”

The campaign’s message is incorporated across digital platforms and initiatives that include a ‘Best Yourself’ social campaign that encourages audiences to share their hopes and plans for taking their lives to the next level using the hashtag #BestYourself on Honda Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

For more information about the ‘Best Yourself’ Campaign, please visit:http://access.honda.com.

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