Monday, March 9, 2015

Diversity Management- Diversity Not Equal Political Correctness (1)

As I wrote last time, I am taking Diversity Management Certificate Program.

The first calss was INTERESTING!! Here is the report. It is going to be a bit long.

Diversity Not Equal Political Correctness (1)


There are about 25 students in the class.

Three Questions

First, the teacher gave us three questions.

1. What is meant by the term "cultural intelligence"? Give an example.

2. Define the term "Diversity". What is the difference between primary and secondary characteristics of diversity?

3. Name and explain at least 2 workforce diversity benefits.

The professor said we do not need to be able to answer at the moment. We should be able to answer by the time we obtain the certificate.


Class Expectation 

Next, the professor gave his self-instruction. And each student did the same including the following three items:

1. Name

2. Reason for taking class
    - Career Advantage
    - General Knowledge
    - Certificate/ Other

3. What one thing/ result


This was more than self-instruction. Each student shared their background and diversity-related experience, and that was a big learning.

It was truly interesting to listen to each student. Professor threw good questions or comments in a perfect timing. That made students talkative. They talked and talked...!


I am the only Japanese in the class. Other Asians were a Phillipino woman and Hongkongese woman. There was a young couple from Ecuador.

The majority of the class was Mexican, but each has different background with different stories.

"I am the first one in my family who went to university and now manager."
"My daughter is the first one in my family who went to university. Besides she got scholarship."

Some students said they came to the class to know how to deal with discrimination in life.

Some said they were from Mexico, but their kids were born in the US. They want to understand on diversity better for them and their kids.

Some said they took the course for certificate or for career advantage.

One Mexican woman said she had a black husband, and they underwent severe discrimination during their marriage. She decided to take the course to get the answer to what she faced.



Crabs in the Barrel/   Crab Mentality

One new learning for me was the story by a black female woman from South Carolina.

I do have a few black friends, but I never had a chance to talk sensitive topic like this.

She grew up in a community where people hate white people, and she did the same.
But her thought changed after she moved to San Diego.

Here the professor ask the class "have you heard of crabs in the barrel?"
Crabs in the barrel is also called crab mentality.



Crabs in the Barrel happens in a community of the same social economic level when a person tries to leave the community (barrel) for a better life, then their fellow people try to pull your legs not to let you go.

In fact, the black classmate mentioned that she met opposition from her family and friends. Also other Mexican classmate said she has had the similar experience. 

According to the professor, crabs in the barrel is talked in Mexican or Black community, but he also said it is seen in any communities. 

Then the professor asked the class why crab mentality happens, and below are some of the answers from classmates:

"Miserable likes company"
"Resemble of what you are not doing well"
"Insecurity"

First I thought this mentality is not as common in Japan, but on my second thought this mentality actually exists and it prevents us from any better change in society.

I would like to observe closely if Japan society got this mentality. 

Looking back, I might be one of those crabs who got out of the barrel as I moved out from Japan to th e US, but I do not remember I had somebody pulled my legs or opposed to my move.  It is possible that I might not have been in a barrel luckily...


Japan is cool

And my turn. I told my name and I said I am from Japan. One of the classmate nearby said "Cool".

This was one of the "Proud to be Japanese" moment.

I continued. Live in San Diego since 2009, work for a Japanese maquiladora company, move San Diego and Tijuana back and forth. I work with Japanese, Americana and Mexican. Interested in diversity and this sort of topic as I majored in intercultural communication in Japan.

Japan has less diversity, but recently they are talking about it more often. I explained I want to share with the people in Japan on what I learned in the class.  

The professor asked me if I lived in US before 2009 (The answer is yes).

Then he shared the following story: The Cambodians in City Heights, San Diego are Christians refugees. There is a Korean organization supporting the community and the people. There is an organization came from Japan to benchmark their activities.

The professor lastly told me he looks forward to my input in the class.


Homework

The last part of the class was about homework. According to the proefssor, diversity needs to be understood emotionally, and we all need to be emotional by doing this homework.

Before explaining homework, the professor shared a couple of his own experiences. (by the way, he is black in his 60's, which he does not look like)

1) In the 60's when the professor was still a kid. His veteran father, he and his little brother and sister were on the interstate highway in Missouri. They decided to have a break and stopped by DQ. The professor as a kid was excited about the milk shake he is getting soon.

Father parked the car and he carried the baby sister and hold the baby brother's hand. The professor as a kid was walking near him towards the store.

There was a white lady working at the cashier in the store. She looked disgusted looking towards them. Then they approached the store closer, the lady said "We do not serve to colored."

Father said "OK, Thank you." , turned and walked back to the car. The professor as a kid was disappointed he did not get his milk shake, and at the same time he wondered why the lady made such an ugly face.

Back in the car, father asked the kid "Son, do you know the word 'discrimination'? You just experienced that". "Because of this skin color?" "Yes."

This is how the professor knew that he was discriminated.


2) When the professor was in elementary school, he and some of his other friends in the city were commuting to the suburb school by bus. That was government's policy at that time. They were not welcomed by the suburb and stones were thrown to the bus and insulted using the word Nigger.

In the PE class, the teacher's name was Mr. Woof. One day, the professor as a kid said "woof woof" but his voice was louder than what he expected. The PE teacher grabbed him and smashed him to the wall. 

Looking back, the professor does not wish to think that this happened because of his skin color, but he suffered from back pain long after that incident.

Back then, his parents took no action to it, but he says if this happens in 2015, then he will have homes here and there, and not standing in front of us in the class. 


3) The first day in college, he moved in the dorm. He found that his roommate was a white guy and he looked pretty surprised at having a black roommate. Everything was awkward. The white roommate seems checking his back when he was looking the other side. Two weeks later he asked his roommate, "What's going on here? What's the deal?" The white roommate said he was checking if he has got a tail.


So, the homework. 

Trauma from Diversity!

Share your own experience where you were either the recipient of a negative experience, or witness to one, as a result of your race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious preference, age, physical or mental disability.

White a three-paragraph summary that answers the following questions;

1. Describe the situation (who was involved.. when did it happen... where did it happen)

2. How did you respond.. what action did you take?

3. How would you handle a similar situation if it were to happen today?


After the class

1) The Philippino lady near me talked to me. She asked me where in Japan I am from. She said her husband used to be flight attendant and he used to fly to Japan.

2) The wife of the young Ecuadorian couple talked to me. She asked if I live closed by. She said she is interested in Japanese culture and she would like to learn Japanese. It turned out we live on the same street. I never had Ecuadorian friends and hoping to make friends with them.

Her husband has been to Japan and is visiting Japan next year again. They seems to be from a rich family as they live in a high-end apartment and they travel to Japan for pleasure. 


Anyway, it was a good starter. Look forward to the next class!




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