I call this section Heart Work because I believe it will take individual people wanting to make change from the inside out, starting with their hearts (my life motto is "It's ALL about LOVE...") in order to do what needs to be done to create change. It is absolutely doable. The fact that you are here and reading this shows you agree.
I have used this space to provide all sorts of resources, including videos, book suggestions, articles for personal knowledge, growth and action, as well as articles for organizational and corporate knowledge, growth and action. Feel free to browse and use whatever fits your circumstances and needs. I strongly suggest you begin with the videos and for best effect, view them in order and follow the suggestions accompanying them.
"When you know better, you do better."
- Maya Angelou
On Tuesday May 26, 2020, over 40 million people watched the video of Amy Cooper playing the ultimate race card in Central Park by threatening to call the police on the Black birdwatcher who had calmly asked her to obey the posted signs and leash her dog, then actually calling the cops and hysterically screaming that an "African American man" was threatening her life. Within minutes, we then watched as police officer Derek Chauvin casually kneeled on George Floyd's neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds with his hands in his pockets while Mr. Floyd was lying in the street on his stomach with his hands cuffed behind his back, presenting no threat to Chauvin, while three other officers stood by and did nothing as the crowd yelled for Chauvin to remove his knee. Mr. Floyd's death was the last in a long line of many such incidents, but this time, people all over the country rose up and resisted. Unlike previous racial protests, this one was not only African Americans calling for change. It was a cross section of the population. Whites who watched this unfold suddenly understood in a way they never had before, what blacks had been saying for decades. It galvanized them and made them join in the protests and want to learn more and figure out what they could do to change things.
In my decades of teaching students and training employees, managers and business owners in Employment Law, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, I have seen thousands of students and seminar attendees totally transform their views on race and other issues by learning new information that takes them to a new place of understanding. I don't make them change. They do it on their own. They do it because once they find out information they did not know before, and discover important pieces they had been missing that shaped their limited view, they come to a new understanding. That's what knowledge does.
Since so many people were reaching out to me for resources, I have put together in one place some of the many excellent ones available on the Internet to help you begin the journey to that new knowledge.
When you know better, you do better. I have no doubt that these tried and true pieces will help you to know better. Once you do, the rest is up to you.
"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."
- Anne Frank
Have you ever had the experience of having an awful argument with someone, only to later realize that the two of you were dealing with totally different understandings of what it was you were arguing about? Once you are both on the same page, you realize you actually don't disagree with each other at all.
After dealing with thousands of people over the past four decades on race and other Employment Law, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion issues, I have learned that most of us tend to think we are all operating with pretty much the same knowledge and information. We are not. In fact, far from it.
My experience has been that all of us knowing and operating with the same information makes us see things quite differently than we did before and we begin to change our actions for the better immediately.
Here I provide realistic and interesting resources to help with that. Take a look at the pieces provided. When you are finished watching each video, write a reflection paper of your thoughts on what you saw. It doesn't need to be formal or long. It's just for you. Don't hide from yourself. There is no need. There are no good guys and bad guys here. You are simply viewing interesting information you may not have seen or thought much about before and reflecting on it. The writing helps you to really think about what you saw and process it in a deeper way than simply viewing it. There are no right or wrong answers. You are processing this for yourself, based on your life and your experiences.
If you are like thousands of others, you will find yourself thinking about things in a way you may never have before. It's worth the effort to do it if you really want to work to understand where we are, why we are here, how you fit into that, and how we can work together individually and collectively to change it.
Fun fact: I made all the quilts you see and they are all totally handmade! ;-) (I'm a prize-winning bread baker too!) Quilts not only connect me to my Ancestors, but they are such a metaphor for life, for me. Lots of pieces, seemingly random and unconnected, yet making a beautiful, cohesive whole that is not only beautiful, but keeps us warm and makes us feel comfortable and cozy and holds fond memories for us. What's not to love?
Rather than simply plop you down in the middle of a piece of legislation and have you learn it, you need context for the law so you can understand it better, understand why it was created and how it is likely to be interpreted and executed. This is especially true if you have never thought about these issues before either because they do not seem relevant to your life or because things have simply always seemed to be the way they were, in your mind. Videos 4 and 5 are to give you background in how what created the law in 1964, began. It gives you a brief idea of what began after the Civil War in 1865 and led up to the need for Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Video 4 opens after the War ends in 1865. Video 5 picks up in 1957 three years after the US Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education outlawed racial segregation in public schools and Central High School in Little Rock, AR was integrated. It is very much like what happened 4 years later at UGA in 1961 when Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes were admitted to UGA. We now have our administration building named for Hunter and Holmes and in February of 2020, the UGA College of Education was named for Mary Frances Early, the first black graduate of UGA. Two people died when Ol’ Miss integrated in 1962.
Students often think that treating people differently is something that awful, skinhead racist people do. This shows you how differences in treatment show up in everyday life, by ordinary people.
One of the common things that comes up in class discussions is the idea of privilege and the fact that students don’t believe they are privileged because they worked for what they earn and America is a meritocracy. This video exemplifies it.
This last video is an HBO documentary to show you, as close as possible, the legacy of the system that was created by cotton and slavery and how it still exists to some extent and what the effect is. It is as close a link as is possible to show you that the system was not a discrete one that simply ended and life moved on. Much of what it is you see is still there. I happened to have visited, quite unaware of it, and ended up talking to people who knew the family featured here.
Why does it matter?
These issues that undergird the way people treat others and the decisions they make, including in a workplace, things that can lead to liability such as who gets a call back for an interview, who is interviewed, who is hired, who gets fired, who gets training, how much people are paid, what hours they are given, who is disciplined and for what, who gets promoted, and how people are treated. All of these decisions are motivated by what is in our heads and how it is we make decisions and what we use to make those decisions. These videos explore this.
These are just a very, very few of the incredibly rich reading resources available to learn more about where we are with race and how we got there. Not having a book on the list says nothing about my feelings about the value of the book. I simply could not include even a fraction of the books that have found a welcome place in my home.
The titles of the books are linked for your convenience if you care to purchase. The link is to Amazon.com, but that is purely for convenience rather than an endorsement of the company. Feel free to purchase it from anywhere you wish.
Resources for Personal Understanding, Growth and Action
The following is a collection of articles and links for personal growth:
Resources for Organizational Understanding, Growth and Action
The following is a collection of articles for organizational growth & change: