Category Archives: Diversity2017

Transgender people are sterilized in Japan……

http://www.carbonated.tv/news/japanese-government-transgender-sterilization

One of the most shocking reports I’ve read recently was with regard to transgender people living in Japan who must undergo sterilization in order to have their identified gender legally recognized.  They must also register and list themselves as someone living with a mental disorder.  In March 2017, Tomoya Hosoda, a 25-year-old Japanese transgender man, won election to his city council and made history as he was the first transgender to win an election in Japan.

Hopefully, by being in a position of visibility he will assist with improving the image and acceptance of transgender people in Japan.  Sometimes even just by meeting someone who represents a minority assists in changing values and ways of thinking.  I simply can’t imagine the trauma and pain an individual must go through to be sterilized.  To imagine this is a requirement in a first world country  is mind boggling.

Thanks!

Cheers, Lehi

3 Comments

Filed under Diversity2017

How poverty impacts success in higher education…….a look at priviledge….

https://www.nysut.org/news/nysut-united/issues/2013/november-2013/how-poverty-impacts-student-success-in-higher-education

The article begins with a metaphor comparing admission to a university to a baseball game:  the wealthy start the game at third base, the middle class start the game at first/second base, and the poor start the game at the home plate.  Who do you think has the advantage?  Not only do students from low socio economic status (SES) often have to work harder than others to get into college in the first place, but, they have to work even harder just to stay.  Often times, they have to work two jobs and don’t leave enough time for school work so their grades suffer, or, they take out large federal loans which cripple their economic status even more upon graduation.

As tuition costs increase state sponsored funding has decreased.  The hard choices aren’t necessarily only for low SES but also for regular students who have seen their funding decrease.  Myself for example had to choose in September to either (a) get dental insurance for the year or (b) make a car payment.  I chose the dental insurance which was a blessing because I now have to have a root canal done which costs $1,800 plus a crown which costs $1,000!  The dental insurance covers $1,000 so I will still be financially strapped by having to pay $1,800 on my own.  I read a report one time that the majority of Americans don’t have $500 set aside in case of an emergency.  We are all living pay check to pay check and I can only imagine how much worse this is for those living at or below the poverty line.

Thanks!

Cheers, Lehi

2 Comments

Filed under Diversity2017

Refugees in crisis….education at a glance in Australia…..

http://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/1512-Education.pdf

During a recent week we talked about the challenges and areas of opportunities faced by refugees in the education system.  I came across the excellent report which is linked above regarding people seeking asylum and refugees on temporary visas in Australia put out by the Refugee Council in 2015.  The report offers eight very strong recommendations to the government on how to improve the system and make education more accessible to those who need it the most.  At that time there were 30,000 people who identified as asylum seekers or as a refugee.

Primarily the biggest issue faced by those wishing to attend school was that they were getting charged international student rates, which they couldn’t afford as they were not eligible for student loans.   Another challenge was that even if they could afford the tuition they severely lacked English skills to comprehend the material.  The report evaluated fifteen universities around the country and only four of them offered full tuition coverage.

Overall, I really enjoyed learning about this issue and how to make it better for students, some of the lessons could easily be applied in the USA.

Thanks!

Cheers, Lehi

4 Comments

Filed under Diversity2017

Equity fair opportunities…….trans to the challenge of tenure……

http://www.metroweekly.com/2017/11/jury-awards-1-1-million-transgender-professor-discrimination-lawsuit/?utm_source=Metro+Weekly&utm_campaign=4d9fce2bc0-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_11_22&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e1ac56f0d0-4d9fce2bc0-275905309&mc_cid=4d9fce2bc0&mc_eid=daf6968036

This recent article caught my attention because the trans professor has been suing Southeastern Oklahoma State University for many years now.  It appears the judge has finally reached a verdict.  She was awarded $1.1M for her claim that the university created a hostile work environment and retaliated by denying her application for tenure.

Interestingly enough, the case was originally brought on by the Justice Department under the Obama administration who sued the school..  Then, under the Trump administration the Justice Department dropped the lawsuit and stated that Title VII doesn’t protect unless “someone is being discriminated against their biological sex assigned at birth”.  She filed her own case and won the lawsuit.  This has big implications on the academic arena as it sets precedence for what not to do when denying someone tenure.

Thanks!

Cheers, Lehi

 

4 Comments

Filed under Diversity2017

Hate crimes on the rise…..conflict resolution needed….

https://www.dailydot.com/irl/hate-crimes-rose-nearly-5-percent-fbi/

As a diversity class we are more prone to latch onto public commentary regarding hate-crimes.  According to the article the FBI has reported an increase of 5% in total hate-crimes reported from 2015 to 2016.  On a personal note I’m positive this percent will double once the numbers are in for the year 2017.

Hate-crime motivations:  anti-Black (50%), anti-Hispanic (10.4%);   anti-Jewish (54.2%), anti-Muslim (24.8%); and, anti-gay (62.8%), anti-Lesbian (21.5%).  In total, approximately 7,300 hate crimes were reported and give us cause to be concerned.  The current administration is running on a campaign of separatism and misogyny; encouraging a fear based approach to local politics and  international relations.  Let’s hope the reins get drawn in before the hate crimes triple or double.

Thanks!

Cheers, Lehi

2 Comments

Filed under Diversity2017

The Lost Art of Disagreement……freedom of speech….

I had the privilege of attending an excellent speaking engagement put on by VT on Wednesday in Squires.  It was supported by the Veritas Forum and was primarily concerned with addressing the task of handling difficult conversations (social, political, religious) with grace and understanding.  Is it possible to encourage an environment of mutual respect and shared understanding even in the academic arena?

The two main speakers were Dr. Christian Lundberg (UNC) and Dr. Christian Matheis (VT).  Both gentlemen were fantastic and cautiously approached the subject matter in the beginning, but, as time went on you could sense an ease of interconnectivity happen and an almost symbiotic relationship take place.  Dr. Matheis graced the stage with his presence and mastery of his knowledge in the theory base.  The audience members all seemed to really enjoy the conversations and even the questions at the end were fairly vague and non threatening.

Overall, I would encourage this type of speaking engagement again because it put issues at the forefront which might not be addressed or spoken about if otherwise not done in such an organized and structured fashion.

Thanks!

Cheers, Lehi

4 Comments

Filed under Diversity2017

Trump gets racial……again……

Once again Trump has single handedly fueled racial tensions and encouraged an environment of elitism for white Americans with a few key strokes on his Twitter account.  In the days following the destructive path of Hurricane Maria, which knocked out power to the entire island of Puerto Rico, the administration has received widespread criticism of how slowly they have reacted to and handled the disaster’s aftermath.

The mayor of Puerto Rico went on television and discussed why the US needs to do more to help.  After hearing a press secretary call the disaster a “great media story” the mayor lost her composure and said some frank statements about how the administration must do better in helping her island nation.  Some of the statements got back to President Trump and he immediately took to Twitter.  As normal, he retaliated with inflammatory ideology, some of which equated all Puerto Ricans as “lazy, unhelpful, and not community focused”.   The tripe stereotype of Latinos being “lazy” has been over played and well documented.  Shame on him for even going there.

This is a moment in time when citizens and communities need to unite, help each other out, and overcome the devastation to rebuild a great country.

Thanks!

Cheers, Lehi

3 Comments

Filed under Diversity2017

Women can’t do it all…..admit it….

LINK TO ARTICLE:  http://nypost.com/2017/09/08/viking-skeletons-dna-test-proves-historians-wrong/

Anything to do with Game of Thrones or Vikings automatically gets on my reading list!!  LOL!  I came across a New York Post article titled:  “Viking Skeleton’s DNA test proves historians wrong“.  I thought, hum, not surprising but what is this in reference to?  Turns out that what was long thought to have been a Viking male skeleton was in fact a female skeleton!!!  Her grave was discovered in the late 1800’s containing two horses, powerful weaponry, and valuables.  What’s important about this is that the discovery is the first absolute proof that women were Viking warriors….up until this point it was only hypothesized.  The ONLY reason the skeleton had the DNA tested is because a female researcher thought that the facial features and bone structure were feminine in nature.

A direct quote from the article sums up the biases and prejudices completely:  “This image of the male warrior in a patriarchal society was reinforced by research traditions and contemporary preconceptions. Hence, the biological sex of the individual was taken for granted,” Hedenstierna-Jonson and other researchers wrote in the report.

Reading this article reminds me of why I am so excited to research and challenge management theories that are egotistical in nature and allow for biases to run rampant in the corporate world:  “Perception Is Reality”.  No, it’s not.

Thanks!

Cheers, Lehi

6 Comments

Filed under Diversity2017

DACA has been rescinded……

LINK TO ARTICLE:  http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump-administration-announces-end-of-immigration-protection-program-for-%E2%80%98dreamers%E2%80%99/ar-AArlgbm?li=BBmkt5R&ocid=spartandhp

Today was a big day in politics as President Trump rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and will affect over 800,000 lives merely with the wave of a pen.  Now he has placed the burden of ethics onto the shoulders of congressmen.  Many of the people affected will be our colleagues, students, and friends.  I’m not sure how many will be affected at VT per se but as it is an educational institution I can guarantee at least some will see an altered state in their future.  DACA was instituted under the Obama administration and provided two year work visas/contracts for undocumented youth who entered the country before they turned 16 and are currently still living here.   It is estimated that close to 11 million undocumented immigrants resided in the country at the time and DACA was Obama’s way to pave a path to legitimize or humanize the children who didn’t come to this country by their own demand.  Obama instituted DACA after the Dream Act failed Congress in 2010.

FROM THE USCIS.GOV WEBSITE:

According to the article the numbers are staggering as “more than 1,000 immigrants stand to lose their work permits each day once the program is formally rescinded”.  The thing to remember and the circumstances are different for each individual case, but, many of these immigrants have lived their whole life here and do not know any other home than the USA.  How is it conceivable that DACA which ensured they paid taxes on employment but didn’t provide any sort of legal immigration status be considered unconstitutional?  Is this really a priority that the administration needs to focus on right now?  How will it affect our educational community of scholars?  Even Obama is calling Trump’s actions “cruel” and  “self-defeating”

Thanks!

Cheers, Lehi

 

2 Comments

Filed under Diversity2017

Yep, we are all a little bit racist………..

LINK TO ARTICLE:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/i-was-a-racist-teacher-and-i-didnt-even-know-it_us_59a580cce4b0b234aecad244

I was scrolling through FB last week and the article “I was a racist teacher and I didn’t even know it” by Laurie Calvert of the Huffington Post demanded my attention.  The author explains how as a public school teacher she thought she was the perfect example of someone who wasn’t racist:  she had voted for Obama, encouraged minority children to express themselves in class, and showed heritage movies like Glory as cultural learning tools.  She then began working for the Obama administration in the Department of US Education which is where she encountered racial bias experts and participated in their workshops.

Laurie was a racist!!  It boils down that maybe she didn’t treat minority children in the same manner she treated white children, maybe she didn’t realize the way that showing Glory caused fear in the minority children who were surrounding by white children in class, and maybe she was supporting structures or systems that kept white people in power.  She had to do a lot of soul searching and came to the conclusion that she internalized racism even if only to a small degree.

My take on this article is that OF COURSE everyone is a little bit racist or has biases that are buried but still influence thoughts and motivations in some small way.  The bigger point is that we acknowledge those feelings and confront them head on.  You can’t simply change brain waves or patterns but you can channel them in a new direction.  Even if we don’t agree with what is being said because it makes us feel uncomfortable;  as an active participant against racism the challenge for white people like myself is to hear the concern, give credence/asses, adjust behaviors if necessary, and move on.

Thanks!

Cheers, Lehi

 

2 Comments

Filed under Diversity2017