Equality: Race and Gender

Posted: September 23, 2017 in Peacemakers
Tags: , ,

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Alan Delery

Since my last post, I’ve been considering racial and gender equality from various perspectives, trying to decide how to frame peace through the lens of equality. I was surprised how simple yet how complicated a subject this could be. Today we will begin wading into the waters of the topic by simply reflecting on the fact that the teenagers, of Positive Impact’s last service learning project,  selected equality as a major category of peace.

This diverse group of students, consisting of a mix of black, white, Hispanic and Asian males and females,  concluded that race and gender equality were both important contributors of peace.

We’re not talking about the views of young people in 1865 when the Civil War ended or the Election day of 1920 when American women exercised their right to vote for the first time. We’re not even talking the opinions of my generation when the Civil Rights Act was signed in 1968. We’re talking about teenagers, in 2017  talking about racial and gender equality.

Just as those born in my generation have had to grapple with  their own experiences around race and gender equality, our children and their children will likely have their own stories of how they are impacted by  policies and practices of their time,  not to mention the impact of the past policies and practices on their life today.

What will their stories be and what is our part in their story?

It is important to listen to and share the stories of our family, friends, and neighbors if we want to positively impact the quality of lives throughout our communities.

One of my goals is to share my voice and help others to do the same in order to increase understanding and build bridges between communities of people. I believe our stories can and should build bridges rather than build walls between us. Much of today’s media including social media sites seem to be building and strengthening walls of division. Positive Impact Inc. hopes to tear those walls down.

You can participate by doing your own research and community building exercise and sharing it with me.

Identify a few people that you can talk to about racial and/or gender equality. Without looking the term up, discuss what equality means to you. Compare each of your definitions and note if they are similar to one another.

I’d like you to discuss the following questions:

  1. Do you believe you have been treated differently (positively or negatively)  than others because of your race or gender? If so, how? Was the treatment that you mentioned by that of your gender and/or race or that of another?
  2. Were these large scale or isolated incidents and are you aware if they have formed your own biases about other groups?
  3. Do you see generational differences in your views? If so, what are they?
  4. What changes, if any, can you agree on that can improve race and gender equality as you defined it?

I would like you to record your responses and at a minimum write back and let me know if you completed this exercise by the end of the month of September. Even better, I am asking you to share your responses with me at alan@positiveimpactnola.org by the end of the month.

I know this takes some effort but it takes intentional effort to move toward and maintain peace. Conversations around equality are worthwhile conversations.

Stay Peaceful

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