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intercultural effectiveness

Should White People Do Diversity Work?

white people

As a multilingual, culturally and racially ambiguous woman who’s been doing some form of diversity work for almost 25 years, I occasionally find myself having awkward conversations with potential clients about my identity. These conversations involve questions like, “Are you diverse?” or “Wait, you’re White?” or statements like “Thank you, […]

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Facing Fear and Anger: Are You the Bad Guy?

It happened while I was watching “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” on opening night. As Kylo Ren stood before his First Order troops at the Starkiller Base in Nazi black, white and red, I was filled with dread about what these bad guys were up to and what that meant […]

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Insensitivity, Entitlement, and Guilt: What Gaining Privilege Taught Me About Privilege

One of the reasons we love hero stories is because we see ourselves as The Hero. We are The Good Guys, destroying evil and vanquishing our enemies, The Bad Guys.  But who are The Villains if we’re all heroes? We are.  We all are. Or we could be. There’s good […]

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Why Cultural Sensitivity Training Is Ineffective and Insensitive

cultural sensitivity

Lately I’ve been getting inquiries about doing cultural sensitivity training. Such requests usually rub me the wrong way and prompt my curiosity. What’s underneath is usually benign and sometimes inspiring, but requires some education and exploration. “Cultural sensitivity” rubs the wrong way because it’s ineffective, and even insensitive.  There are […]

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Cultural Competence: What’s in a Name?

Some believe that words are mere descriptors of reality, but there is evidence that words also create reality. Scholars such as Benjamin Lee Whorf, and more recently George Lakoff and Lera Boroditsky, (also here) make a compelling case for the power of language to actually shape our experience, thoughts and […]

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