Saturday, April 30, 2016

City of Hope Receives Grants for Medical Research


City of Hope, a prestigious diversity company-member of DiversityWorking.com., has received grants and funding for its continuous research for breakthroughs in the treatment of life-threatening diseases, notably cancer and diabetes.

Earlier in the month, it was reported that City of Hope, the country's leading research and treatment center for the aforementioned diseases, received a $2.5 million grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, which the research hospital will put into a a five-year effort to promote and research the role of healthy habits and nutrition in reducing cancer risk. - Read more at:

More recently, The NCI awarded a $2.3 million grant to a research team at City of Hope led by Steven T. Rosen, MD, the institution’s provost and chief scientific officer. The grant will fund studies associated with a phase 1/phase 2 clinical trial of 8-chloro-adenosine in relapsed/refractory adult acute myeloid leukemia. - Read more at:

In a related news, City of Hope honored two leading furniture companies for raising money to fund their medical research.
The recent Spirit of Life Award Dinner honoring two preeminent leaders of the furniture industry – Farooq Kathwari, chairman and CEO of Ethan Allen and Richard Feng, founder, chairman and CEO of Markor Group – raised more than $1.8 million for cancer and diabetes research at City of Hope on Sunday, April 17 at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro, NC. The prestigious Spirit of Life Award is City of Hope’s highest accolade, presented annually to industry leaders in recognition of their outstanding personal, professional and philanthropic achievements. - Read more here:

Meanwhile, a researcher/physician of City of Hope received recognition for his contribution.
A City of Hope cancer researcher/physician is the recipient of the 2016 Ho-Am Prize in Medicine, which recognizes people of Korean heritage for contributions in clinical and research areas that contributed to the fight against disease. Dr. Larry W. Kwak, director of City of Hope’s Toni Stephenson Lymphoma Center, will be honored at a June 1 ceremony in Seoul. - Read more:

City of Hope, long committed to diversity and inclusion, has a mission to turn hope to reality through its offer of exquisite care, conducting innovative research, and championing vital education concerning topics of cancer and diabetes.


How Skin Tone Bias Affects Diversity Growth


Love begets love; hate begets hate. Yet in the case of Black people, if they ever harbor hatred towards white people, it is because they were/ still are on the receiving end of racist attitudes. Hence, in their case, it is often a lingering resentment for the injustices heaped on their race, due to a large extent to the color of their skin.

A person's skin color can either make or break him/her, as it is, and is found to be among the factors for the persistent hatred or distrust of blacks. As such, discrimination based on skin color, or skin tone bias, affects the growth of diversity in society.

Slavery and Racism
Historically, for the most part of its existence, slavery involved blacks being used as slaves by whites. What made them think in the first place that blacks could be used as slaves, or to be treated as inferiors to other races?

Slavery existed before any written records of it, and was even legal in many societies for centuries, and whether it led to racism, or the other way around, is still debatable. It would be worth mentioning some opinions on this though.

With the expansion of the Atlantic slave trade toward the end of the seventeenth century, theories of black inferiority abounded. It was, after all, in the interest of slave traders and slave owners to propagate the myth that Africans were not human beings, or at least not fully human, a species different from the rest of humanity. Defined as brutish and bestial, heathen and savage, Africans seemed to Europeans as fit only for slavery.
It is not clear why Europeans fixated on the skin color of Africans. Perhaps they did so simply because the physical appearance of blacks was so markedly different from their own and, regarding themselves as superior beings, most Europeans associated a series of negative characteristics with blacks. This view of blacks preceded slavery and helped to justify it. At the same time, slavery deepened racism. The two seem to have existed in tandem. -
Did slavery cause racism?

Another opinion says racism was borne out of the need to perpetuate slavery, which was widely accepted for cheap labor.
In 1661 Virginia first recognized slavery and a year later a law was passed stating that children inherit the status of the mother. Laws had to be passed in order to keep slaves as slaves. In 1663 Maryland passed a law stating that every black person, even the free ones, were to become slaves. It is with these laws that racial prejudice developed. Eric William stated “slavery was not born of racism: rather racism was the consequence of slavery.” Attitudes of Americans changed when laws toward African slaves were passed. Racism emerged as a justification to why African American slaves were treated differently from former American slaves. Slavery existed well before race, but race only encouraged slavery.

An article published by the International Socialist Review says racism had not always existed; it is not part of human nature. Instead, Racism is a particular form of oppression. It stems from discrimination against a group of people based on the idea that some inherited characteristic, such as skin color, makes them inferior to their oppressors. Yet the concepts of “race” and “racism” are modern inventions. They arose and became part of the dominant ideology of society in the context of the African slave trade at the dawn of capitalism in the 1500s and 1600s.

The same article stresses, moreover, that racism was a consequence of of modern slavery at the dawn of capitalism. While slavery existed as an economic system for thousands of years before the conquest of America, racism as we understand it today did not exist.

Yet it also mentions some authorities' prejudice or bias against people with darker skins: Representative John L. Dawson, a member of Congress after the Civil War, insisted that racial prejudice was “implanted by Providence for wise purposes.” Senator James Doolittle of Wisconsin, a contemporary of Dawson’s, claimed that an “instinct of our nature” impelled us to sort people into racial categories and to recognize the natural supremacy of whites when compared to people with darker skins.

Thus, where does this prejudice or bias against darker skins come from? Is there a psychological factor involved that leads to the irrational hatred of people with black skin? Not only western whites, but Asians with fairer skin also have this negative attitude towards people with black or darker skin.

One white, unbiased opinion says centuries of propaganda, biblical dominionism, racial science, imperialism, literature, culture that degraded black people really got imbedded into the culture and psyche of most white people.

Racial discrimination is still in existence in America today, and African Americans are mostly the target of this negative attitude.

According to 24/7 Wall St., "White nationalist or white supremacist groups, including the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, racist skinheads, and neo-Confederates are by far the most common hate groups in the United States. And African Americans are by far the most victimized group of people by hate-group activity and other, less extreme forms of discrimination." - Read more here:

Racial attitudes towards blacks persist because such biases and prejudices are handed down from generation to generation without question. It has become a matter of course.

Sean McElwee, a research associate, wrote in an article:
Spencer Piston, a professor at the Campbell Institute at Syracuse University, examined how young whites ranked the intelligence and work ethic of whites to blacks. He finds that 51 percent of whites between the ages of 17 and 34 rate blacks as lazier than whites, and 43 percent say blacks are less intelligent. These numbers aren’t statistically different from older whites. On issues related to structural racism, it is incredibly clear that young whites aren’t very different from their parents.

What makes it more challenging is that racism today, in America, is not as obvious as it used to be in the past, says this article. This adversely affects the diversity in the job market, specifically as African Americans job seekers are more likely to be bypassed.
It is now quiet -- or rationalized on some nonracial grounds and thereby hidden in plain view -- and seemingly, as a consequence, perhaps not such a bad thing after all. But it is a bad thing. Let's be clear: There is plenty of research showing that actual discrimination remains remarkably common. For example, one major study of low-skilled workers in New York found high rates of bias against black job applicants. Princeton sociologist Devah Pager and her colleagues showed that otherwise identical black job seekers were 50 percent less likely to achieve success in a job search (pdf) than their white counterparts. -

One striking idea in the above-mentioned article suggests one factor for the negative feelings towards people with black skin: Indeed, one of the most depressing lines of research suggests a core underlining psychological association of blackness with apes, an ugly, old racist trope from the age of the Great Chain of Being, in which the African was seen as closer to primitive animals in the hierarchy of species (pdf).

Discrimination due to skin color
One academic paper published in the International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy, 2005, Vol. 5, No 2, pp. 125-134, suggests the need to bring into focus the issue of skin color in the study of social conditions, such as racism. The author, Ronald E. Hall of the Michigan State University, writes in his abstract:
Although social scientists use race as a key factor in elucidating and understanding human social conditions, skin color and its impact on the social and psychological disposition of people of African descent have been understudied. Oblivious to the implications of skin color, their attempts to comprehend stereotypes, discrimination, and various behavioral and psychological phenomena are an exercise in futility. Given the declining significance of race and the increase in interracial unions, a new approach is warranted. Thus, if, in fact, Western psychologists are to understand and treat individuals of African descent, a perspective must be employed, which addresses the importance and significance of skin color in the lives of said people.” 

Skin tone bias affects African Americans' self esteem, a study says. In his academic paper, 'Consequences of Skin Tone Bias for African Americans: Resource Attainment and Psychological/Social Functioning,' Kendrick T. Brown , of the University of Michigan, writes about how skin tone bias is manifested or expressed, and the outcomes of this.
He writes that two possible mechanisms are involved through which skin tone bias is manifested or expressed: preference/dislike and stereotyping.

Although several aspects of skin tone bias is found to be in need of further empirical research, the author was able to find some evidence of impact of skin tone bias on both men and women:

a. Based on his review of literature regarding resource attainment and psychological functioning, skin tone bias affects both men and women, but has more detrimental effects on women than men.
b. A person's skin tone is seen as a status which places or stratifies African Americans and impacts how the individual can access scarce resources.
c. According to literature on skin tone, light-skinned Blacks benefit and dark-skinned African Americans suffer on several societal and psychological measures.

Such color prejudice indeed hurt people, especially young children. Children who experience bullying, or even innocent jokes targetting their skin color, grow up with the mistaken notion that skin color defines who they are, Likewise, children of fairer color grow up believing this falsehood.

How to overcome skin tone bias (colorism)
Being aware of and understanding the role of skin color in the irrational hatred towards blacks can help lessen persistent prejudice against black people.

As stated in a previous article here, How to Build Up Society with Diversity Working, it is better to start them young. That is, children should be taught about the evils of being biased and discriminatory. The family is a child's first school, the first place he/she encounters love, acceptance, friendship.

Despite shifting family structures, still the home is the best place to teach good values. According to an article by the Anti-Defamation League, it is expected that the US population will grow more diverse, with people of color growing from 30.9 percent of the population in 2000 to 36.2 percent of the population in 2020.

Schools now, the article continues, are getting more diverse, with children coming from a wide range of backgrounds, abilities, and experiences. And the workforce of the near future will be composed of a majority of women and people of color.

Thus, it is essential for their future success to prepare all children to live and work harmoniously and productively alongside others who represent various and many racial and cultural groups, backgrounds and abilities in our society

Skin tone bias targeting people with black or darker skin, in addition to racism, hamper the growth of diversity working in society. Time for Americans to be more aware of this, so as to reset their minds, their attitudes and learn to be more open, accepting of all people regardless of their skin color and race.

Friday, April 22, 2016

How to Build Up Society with Diversity Working


Diversity remains a challenge despite society becoming more and more diverse. We often say “the world is getting smaller each day,” “it's a global village we live in today,” and true indeed. Yet the irony is the easier we can now build communication with one another from anywhere around the world, with the use of technology and social media, so the easier we are supposed to learn more about other races and cultures, the harder it still is to be appreciative and accepting of other people.

The American society is a microcosm of the global village; it is a mosaic of different cultures and ethnicities from all over, yet there are factors that hinder many from establishing good relationships with others just because of cultural and racial differences.

Aside from lingering traces of systemic discrimination, other challenges occur that account for lack of cohesion or segregation in communities.

A Harvard University study has found some of these serious challenges of building social capital in a large, ethnically diverse community. The more diverse a community in our study, the less likely its residents are:
to trust other people;
to connect with other people, even informally;
to participate in politics;
to connect across class lines.

An online resource on workplace diversity, The Challenge of Diversity.” Boundless Management. Boundless, says that the challenges to diversity naturally occur as a result of communication (languages and values), majority hegemony, and groupthink. 

Diversity working in society is indeed a challenge and a threat to many, but at the same time, it presents a good opportunity to increase the level of connectedness in communities.

CULTURAL COMPETENCE

One good approach to increase or build connectedness in society would be to inculcate the essential skill of cultural competence – and to start from the basic unit of society – the family.

The challenge though is not every parent or caregiver is culturally competent as well – and they themselves need to be educated on this. Thus, schools can do this work, as well as reinforce the values of openness to and appreciation of others' differences learned in more culturally-sensitive families.

Cultural competence, according to the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF, p.16), as
... much more than awareness of cultural differences. It is the ability to understand, communicate with and effectively interact with people across cultures. Cultural competence encompasses:
* being aware of one’s own world view
* developing positive attitudes towards cultural differences
* gaining knowledge of different cultural practices and world views
* developing skills for communication and interaction across cultures.

It is indeed best to start young; it's a move forward to healthier social relationships, stronger communities and a peaceful, diversity working society. In this way, the spread of stereotyped thinking, biased attitudes and discriminatory behavior will be lessened.

Children can grow up to be more open-minded, more understanding, more tolerant, and more secure, too, of themselves.

Studies attest to this, as this article says.
After age 9, racial attitudes tend to stay the same unless the child has a life-changing experience (Aboud, 1988). Before that, however, we have a good chance to help children develop positive feelings about their racial and cultural identity. We can also challenge the immature thinking that is typical of very young children. That's important because this type of thinking can lead to prejudice (York, 1991).
Children develop their identity and attitudes through experiences with their bodies, social environments, and their cognitive developmental stages (Derman-Sparks, 1989). As these three factors interact, young children progress through certain stages of racial and cultural awareness.

Schools can make a great difference in educating children on the value of diversity, and help instill in young minds an appreciation of a world without hate. Creating a learning environment that respects diversity sets the scene for fostering children’s positive self-concept and attitudes. Such an environment assists children in developing positive ideas about themselves and others, creates the conditions under which children initiate conversations about differences, and provides the setting for introducing activities about differences and creating fair and inclusive communities. See more here:


EYLF, mentioned above, in its Educators’ Guide to the EYLF (p. 21)
(DEEWR, 2010) explained why respecting, understanding and including a child’s culture is so very important: Culture is the fundamental building block of identity and the development of a strong cultural identity is essential to children’s healthy sense of who they are and where they belong.

Providing Cultural Competent Care and Support in a Pluralistic, Multicultural Society
As the American society is becoming more pluralistic and muticultural, providing care and support is essential for people coming from different cultures to help them integrate well into the American culture.

Immigrants who come from their countries of origin bring with them a large part of their own personal backgrounds – their unique cultural, language, religious, and political backgrounds. Histories of internal displacement within their own countries, torture, political oppression, and extreme poverty abound among immigrant communities. Melding these backgrounds with the history, experiences, and expectations of U.S. born ethnic and diverse populations creates both challenges and opportunities for social workers.[...] Culturally competent services are needed beyond race and ethnicity. Culturally competent social workers are also better able to address issues of gender and help persons with disabilities, older adults, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people. A working knowledge of these groups’ cultures and values helps social workers tailor care so it is effective and appropriate for their clients’ needs. - Read more here:

Providing such care and support to the different segments of American population is a way to ensure diversity working in a pluralistic, multicultural society.

The federal government, under the Obama leadership is in support of integrating immigrants as a way to promote diversity.
Throughout our history, immigrants have come to our shores in wave after wave, from every corner of the globe. And that’s what makes America special. That’s what makes us strong. The basic idea of welcoming immigrants to our shores is central to our way of life, it is in our DNA. We believe our diversity, our differences, when joined together by a common set of ideals, makes us stronger, makes us more creative, makes us different. From all these different strands, we make something new here in America.” President Barack Obama, July 4, 2014

Broken families
Not only immigrants need such care and support, but broken families as well. Broken families are becoming more and more prevalent in the US., and many of these homes belong to minorities.

In 2011, it was reported that "one in four children in the United States is being raised by a single parent.[...] In the African American community, 72 percent of Black children are raised in a single parent household." 

In 2014, the Family Research Council (FRC) revealed a dismaying statistic about the state of American families: 55 percent of 15-to-17-year-olds in America do not live in intact families. Further, more than 40 percent of all children are born out of wedlock, and one in three children live in single-parent homes.

The continuing breakdown of the basic unit of society – the family – is one reason for the weakening of society's moral fabric, giving rise to countless social ills, as shown by various researches and statistics.

Yet – for the sake of diversity – families and children affected by broken homes, – should not be isolated nor denied access to equal opportuinities for education, employment – so that despite their personal circumstances – they can still be able to better their lives, and contribute to the upliftment of the community in which they live.

Even President Obama gives support to broken families by affirming young black men coming from broken homes, while inspiring them to rise up where your own fathers fell short and to do better with your own children. See here:
 
In sum, developing cultural competence in young children, providing cultural competent care and support for different segments of the diverse American society, including those from broken families, are ways to enable diversity working in the society.
  
Diversity brings benefits to society: in terms of social relationships, it can lead to a more just, equitable, cohesive society; in terms of personal growth, it makes people smarter and more creative, as one article by the Scientific American said: Decades of research by organizational scientists, psychologists, sociologists, economists and demographers show that socially diverse groups (that is, those with a diversity of race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation) are more innovative than homogeneous groups. [...] Simply interacting with individuals who are different forces group members to prepare better, to anticipate alternative viewpoints and to expect that reaching consensus will take effort.



Sunday, April 17, 2016

US Ecology: Trusted Leader in Environment Protection and Diversity


It started with a noble vision: “To be the premier North American provider of environmental and field services; to be the best in the business at delivering sustainable solutions for customers and communities.”

Thus began US Ecology's mission, since 1952, “to protect and improve the environment by providing safe, reliable environmental and field service solutions to commercial, industrial and government customers.”

All through its history, until today, US Ecology has provided unequaled service, making them a trusted leader in the environment protection industry. Fueling the company's drive to stay committed to its mission are its core values which its people live every day.

Eight key principles serve as the foundation of US Ecology, among which are Safety; Environmental stewardship; and Integrity.

US Ecology does not believe in resting on its laurels, for it exists to serve others and the environment. Hence, it continues to innovate, lead and provides peace of mind to customers and the communities it serves.

Not only that, it strives to be the best place to work. US Ecology is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer, and a trusted leader in diversity and inclusion as well. An excerpt from its Diversity Policy reads:
US Ecology, Inc. is committed to fostering, cultivating and preserving a culture of diversity and inclusion. Our human capital is the most valuable asset we have. The collective sum of the individual differences, life experiences, knowledge, inventiveness, innovation, self-expression, unique capabilities and talent that our employees invest in their work represents a significant part of not only our culture, but out reputation and company's achievement as well.

One proof that the company not only pays lip service to its commitment to diversity and inclusion is providing and requiring its employees to attend their annual discrimination and harassment training to enhance their knowledge to fulfill this responsibility.

Because US Ecology strongly values its employees and their families, it provides regular fulltime employees with a full benefits package, aside from their salaries. Some of these benefits include:
Medical/Prescription Drug Program
Vitality Wellness Program
Dental/Vision F
Flexible Spending Accounts
Health Savings Accounts
Critical Illness
Employee Assistance Program
401(k) Savings & Retirement Plan, and many more.

If you want to grow a great career in the field of environment protection, go to the best. Find out more about US Ecology and its job opportunities by following this link.

Opening for Administrative Assistant (EQ REGIONAL ADAST 11), Livonia, MI, at US Ecology


An opening for Administrative Assistant (EQ REGIONAL ADAST 11),Livonia, MI, is available at US Ecology, a leading North American provider of environmental services to commercial and government entities, and DiversityWorking.com's recent addition to its prestigious list of diversity company members.

Job Overview: Will provide administrative/secretarial support to the Finance Department and support building operations.

Job Duties and Responsibilities (among others)
  • Receive, sort and distribute mail to the office
  • Receive and greet vendors and visitors for access into the building
  • Maintain mailroom and other shared areas as needed
  • Work with members of the Finance Department to complete daily, weekend, and monthly reporting, filing, and other organization tasks
  • Coordinate travel, communication and other tasks from key members of the finance organization
Job Qualifications/Requirements (among others)
  • High school diploma or GED equivalent
  • Ability to adapt, learn quickly and work with others
  • Collection experience or experience interacting with customers on a service level
  • Must be organized and be able to work independently
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and oral


    For more details about this job and to apply for it, click on this link.




Job for Field Supervisor (EQ NORTHEAST FS 11), Wrentham, MA, Opens at US Ecology


US Ecology, a leading North American provider of environmental services to commercial and government entities, and DiversityWorking.com's recent addition to its prestigious list of diversity company members.

Job Overview: The field supervisor is responsible for completing the project in the estimated timeframe in a safe, efficient and professional manner while maintaining a high standard of quality and safety.

Job Duties and Responsibilities (among others)
  • Must comply with all Management System policies and procedures.
  • Direct management of labor crew at job site.
  • Establish and maintain productive relationship with customer s onsite representative.
  • Communicate/coordinate all project information with US Ecology project manager.
  • Establish and maintain a safe work environment in accordance with OHSA regulations and Site Specific Health & Safety Plan.
  • Coordinate the performance of work in accordance with specifications, drawings and work plans.
Job Qualifications/Requirements (among others)
  • High School or equivalent required
  • Must be 18 years of age or older
  • Must have experience with supervising civil and environmental construction projects including Remediation and industrial services
  • Must possess excellent communication skills
  • Must have experience with Industrial cleaning equipment (vacuum trucks, water blasters, etc.)

For more details about this job and to apply for it, click on this link.



US Ecology Searching for Project Engineer, (ROB PRJENG 10) Robstown, TX


US Ecology, a leading North American provider of environmental services to commercial and government entities, and DiversityWorking.com's recent addition to its prestigious list of diversity company members, is searching for a Project Engineer, (ROB PRJENG 10) Robstown, TX.

Job Overview: Prepare civil engineering plans for existing and future US Ecology Texas and other facilities as needed.

Job Duties and Responsibilities (among others)
  • Provide echnical support related to landfill development, mass balance considerations and construction phasing considerations.
  • Coordinate and review secondary design components prepared by third parties, as needed.
  • Project management of complex construction projects including engineering review, development of bid packages, contractor selection and contract development/management.
  • Review landfill as-built surveys; including volume surveys and compaction optimization.
  • Provide process engineering support and associated monitoring and evaluation of waste treatment processes.
Job Qualifications/Requirements (among others)
  • A licensed professional engineer with a Bachelor s degree in related engineering field.
  • Master s degree is preferred, not required.
  • 5+ years of experience in design and project management.
  • Good knowledge of AutoCAD, Slope/W, MS Word, Excel, Power Point and mapping software.
  • Professional Engineering License or be able to attain one within 12  months subsequent to commencing employment.
For more details about this job and to apply for it, click on this link.



US Ecology Hiring Driver, (EQ NORTHEAST VI DRIVE 10) Sewaren, NJ


US Ecology, a leading North American provider of environmental services to commercial and government entities, and DiversityWorking.com's recent addition to its prestigious list of diversity company members, is hiring a Driver, (EQ NORTHEAST VI DRIVE 10) Sewaren, NJ.


Job Duties and Responsibilities (among others)
  • Main responsibility is to participate in support activities related to field remediation work performed by the Company.
  • Comply with all Management System policies and procedures
  • Performing duties in a safe and compliant manner
  • Maintain company equipment
  • Ensure customer satisfaction
  • Maintain vehicle log
Job Qualifications/Requirements (among others)
  • Ability to secure a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC)
  • CDL A or B with hazardous and tanker endorsements
  • Clean driving record, no violations for the past 36 months
  • 1-2 years previous experience (preferably with vacuum trucks and tankers)
  • High School Diploma or GED
  • Must be 18 years of age or older
  • Able to read, write, and understand the English language, and able to follow verbal and written instructions
  • Physically able to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when necessary

For more details about this job and to apply for it, click on this link.



Saturday, April 16, 2016

DiversityWorking Announces US Ecology, Inc. As Diversity Company Member


DiversityWorking.com, a career opportunity resource and job search engine for the cultural diversity marketplace, is pleased to announce the inclusion of US Ecology, Inc. to its prestigious roster of diversity company-members.

US Ecology, Inc., is a leading North American provider of environmental services to commercial and government entities. It was established in 1952, and since then, has been protecting the environment by providing the complex waste management needs of its customers, offering treatment, disposal and recycling of hazardous and radioactive waste, as well as a wide range of complementary field and industrial services.

US Ecology, Inc., staying true to its mission and vision, and guided by its corporate core values, continues to grow, expanding its operations from its headquarters in Boise, Iowa to different locations in the US, Canada and Mexico.

An equal opportunity employer dedicated to diversity and inclusion, US Ecology, Inc. has partnered with DiversityWorking.com, whose mission is to help companies promote their jobs, build their brand and send targeted and qualified diversity candidates directly to the best jobs possible. Products and services include a resume database, job search engine, and targeted corporate diversity branding opportunities.

To find out more about US Ecology, Inc. and its job opportunities, please click here.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Why Group Politics Is Not Good for Diversity Working


In today's America, when its demographics continue to grow more and more diverse in race and ethnicity, when even gender, sexual orientation, lifestyles, and other dimensions are shifting and becoming diverse as well, an awareness of diversity is essential – not only as praxis for institutions and organizations – but basically for individuals themselves.

It is an ideal society when peace, justice and compassion reign, when people of diverse backgrounds, beliefs, ideologies, worldviews, and preferences can co-exist without conflicts, tension/fear, discrimination and isolation.

But such is human nature that people tend to congregate with like-minded individuals, thus, the thriving of groups: social, religious, political, clans, you name it.

Groups thrive because of their strength, and among the signs that a group is thriving, or is healthy and strong – based on their group dynamics – is group cohesion or ego strength (sufficient to permit assimilation of new ideas and new members, to use conflict instead of being destroyed by it, to hold to long-term goals, and to profit from both failure and from success situations). See more here

On one hand, there is something good in this – there is strength in numbers, an expression we often say when we mean one gets support from others in the group. It is defined as the emotional and morale strength from a group of people See also this:

Yet, issues and challenges also exist when there is too much attachment on the values the group professes and live by. As the definition above says, that kind of strength can lead to a “mob mentality.”

Indeed, it is a fact of life that individuals often tend to go with the flow of their group, afraid to go out of their comfort zones to speak up against injustices, unfairness that their group tends to promote.

Hence, the challenge of diversity working in society is so great it seems insurmountable. There will always be – in any society – resistance to anything, anyone different from the mainstream – among the closed-minded, rigid members, or those fearful to break the status quo.

Now we come to what we call Groupthink, a term said to be first used by the social psychologist, Irving L. Janis, to describe the phenomenon wherein people tend to strive to gain consensus within a group

When people engage in groupthink, they set aside their personal beliefs and adopt the group's ideas or opinions. In many cases, to avoid disrupting the peace and uniformity of the crowd, people would rather keep quiet about things they disagree about.

This psychological phenomenon results in an irrational or dysfucntional decision-making outcome.

What often can be observed in societies today that often goes hand in hand with discrimination is stereotyping, one of the symptoms of groupthink. According to the 1st article on groupthink mentioned above, stereotyping leads members of the in-group to ignore or even demonize out-group members who may oppose or challenge the groups ideas.

Other symptoms of groupthink are:
Unquestioned beliefs lead members to ignore possible moral problems and ignore consequences of individual and group actions;
Rationalizing prevents members from reconsidering their beliefs and causes them to ignore warning signs.

This brings to mind, Milton Friedman (1912-2006), an American economist awarded with the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his research on consumption analysis, monetary history and theory and the complexity of stabilization policy.

Milton Friedman spoke on the evils of collectivism, a form of groupthink, in a forum at the University of Chicago, saying in part: “Where do you have the greatest degree of inequality? In the socialist states of the world. Don’t look at what the proponents of one system or another say are their intentions, but look at what the actual results are.[...] The most harm of all is done when power is in the hands of people who are absolutely persuaded of the purity of their instincts and the purity of their intentions. […] I have no reason to doubt that Lenin was a man whose intentions were good, maybe they weren’t, but he was completely persuaded that he was right and he was willing to use any methods at all for the ultimate good.”

Here is one example of how collectivism - in providing healthcare - is not doing diversity any good. An American doctor, John Hunt, MD, gave up his medical practice in the US,
but went to Liberia to continue working as a doctor, due to what he said in his interview with Foundation for Economic Education, as the system is so profoundly broken and immoral now that I had to pay heed to brilliant modern philosopher Paul Rosenberg, who recently modified the quote attributed to Edmund Burke. Rosenberg says, “The only thing necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to obey.” See more here

Another article explains collectivism as:
The result of refusing to think gives those in power carte blanche to think for us. This is the essence of collectivism […] The refusal to think for ourselves is at the root of most (if not all) of the corruption we face in our current political system. Naturally, when we allow others to think and make our decisions for us, we give up that which makes us free in the first place: our personal responsibility and thus ownership of our own lives. Thereafter we enter into a vicious circle where we expect others to take care of us – to fix what ails us and to keep us happy – but since we are all individuals with different wants, desires and needs no one solution will cure all.


Some thoughts on Collectivism:
The historical experience of socialist countries has sadly demonstrated that collectivism does not do away with alienation but rather increases it, adding to it a lack of basic necessities and economic inefficiency.” - Pope John Paul II 

The tyranny of a multitude is a multiplied tyranny.” - Edmund Burke

"I think a major reason why intellectuals tend to move towards collectivism is that the collectivist answer is a simple one. If there’s something wrong, pass a law and do something about it." - Milton Friedman


Group Politics: How group politics work
The workings of group politics – an example of groupthink - is such that members strongly adhere and limit themselves to their group's political ideal(s), without expanding their horizon to appreciate and understand other groups' political beliefs. 

There is a tendency to be closed-minded about anything or anyone outside their group's political ideals – so hatred and distrust of anyone who disagrees with them often come about; they can also over-estimate their power and influence, as explained above.

Disadvantages of Adhering to Group Politicswhy Group Politics Not Good for Diversity Working
Following Irving Janis' line of thinking when he expounded on groupthink, group politics gives rise to problems, such as giving in to pressure to conform to the group's uniformity, and feelings of self-righteousness, much to the detriment of diversity working in society. See this:

Not only will institutions fail in their work towards the greater, common good, but inner tension and struggle between doing what is good and bad, between what's right and wrong, will assail the individuals themselves – for sure, many will be pricked by their conscience. 
 
Imagine these scenario: Yesterday, I watched a man of my group stamp his boot underside on the USA flag. I then learn that man's group is the same as mine. What am I supposed to do or think?

Questions a person struggling between his/her individual values and that of his/her group may ponder:
1. How I felt when others were protecting their own because of the group.
2. Now I am faced with the decision to defending my group, or defend my values over my group's.

Individual vs Group Values
Each of us, human beings, have our own values instilled deep within us: nurtured, formed from birth, reinforced by our circumstances, environment and experiences. No matter how we suppress or repress them – due to outside pressure, these values will always remain in us. Deep down, these values we hold dear are part of who we are.

If individual members just go by the flow, or give in to what the group values and lives by, usually ingrained by the group's elite leadership, whether the group's values may be right or wrong - the individual loses his/her right to think, judge situations properly, and loses his/her confidence to speak up and break the status quo. We cannot, as individuals, just blindly hand in our precious rights to a handful, selected few, to tell us what to think and do.

The group suffers in the end for having a limited vision of what is good for the group, and the general society at large.

A Milton Friedman quote rightfully points out why groupthink or group politics is not good for diversity working, in a specific way:
In my opinion, there is not a single thing you could do in this world that would do more to improve the condition of the black people who are in the lowest income classes, of the black people who have been most affected by discrimination, there is not anything you could do that would be more affected than the voucher scheme. Why? Because as I said to you before, and I challenge anybody to deny it, that there’s no respect in which the black and the slum is more deprived than in the quality of schooling he can get. He’s much worse off in that respect than he is even in the quality of the housing he can get and in the quality of the automobile he can buy and the quality of the job he can get with given education.


Real diversity working is when there is free, safe exhange of ideas among ALL members, check and balancing of values when the greater good is at risk or compromised, or individual's values are likewise compromised. Diversity working in society is when there is real freedom, equality and justice, and when no one, by choice, will have to live below poverty. Each individual in the society has the capacity, and should be given that opportunity to contribute in whatever way one can to the betterment of his/her life and others, to promote the general welfare of society making sure each one gets his/her fair share of the country's benefits. A society of diversity working is where each can have the equal opportunity to lead, to serve, to critique, to question, to speak up. 

 
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect). –Mark Twain, Notebook