28
Feb 20

Facilitated Progression

I am a huge fan of Tuckman’s stages of group development, as they were the foundation of how programs were designed when I worked for Outward Bound Intercept in Florida. “Intercept courses are structured wilderness expeditions that help address behaviors such as unhealthy risk-taking, low self-image and motivation, defiance, poor decision-making and school performance” (Outwardbound.org). These programs consisted of taking a group of 10 students on 30-day canoeing expeditions with two facilitators who guide the group in addressing particular behavioral or emotional issues, with an emphasis on group performance. The goal was to alleviate the focus on “self” through group roles and the establishment of group norms, as this was found to address many of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – food, shelter, safety, respect, self-actualization, love, and belonging.

Using Tuckman’s stages of development, we overlaid 3 phases called training, main, and final. We thoroughly discussed Tuckman’s stages of forming, storming, norming, and performing, and informed the group that they would be in the training phase while forming and storming, which required constant supervision and instruction before moving to the main phase. In the main phase, the group knew and understood their roles and expectations, and supervision and instruction were limited, however, if the group went back to the storming stage, they would also return to the training phase (which was very uncomfortable after having the freedoms of the main phase). Once the group went into the performing stage, they achieved the final phase, which meant complete freedom and no instruction, then allowing them to choose their own schedules, play games, etc., as long as they remained in the performing stage. Each group member was assigned a daily role: leader, navigator, cook, hygiene, water patrol, etc. and each received group feedback on their roles at the end of the day.

We established group norms by creating a group name, a chant/song, and a list of group expectations (no swearing, 3 positives for every 1 negative statement, no slacking, etc.) and then they would sign a group contract. One of the things I really liked about this type of program is that everything was frontloaded, so the group knew that there would be a period of storming, which allowed us to discuss it in a group as soon as it started to manifest. Another thing I really enjoyed was that the consequences were immediate, e.g., if the cook didn’t cook, then no one could eat. Likewise, the rewards were equally immediate, e.g., if the group reached the final stage, then they earned lots of free time. This helped the students to know and understand how and why their behavior matters and provided a safe environment for them to really explore what they value in themselves and others.

Upon arriving home, we would establish a similar structure with their parents and school teachers, so they could continue to grow and develop. While I would like to believe that they were all success stories, I fear that due to particular environments, e.g., gangs, drugs, violence, etc., they didn’t all stay on a positive track. However, I fully believe that they learned a lot about how groups work and function together, along with healthy ways to cope with stress. I wish all students could experience programs like this as “tweens”, as I believe it would help that specific age group in a multitude of ways in their transition into adulthood. The four values of Outward Bound are compassion, integrity, excellence, and inclusion / diversity, which provide a firm and healthy foundation for all young people.

 

References

Mcleod, S. (2018, May 21). Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html

Gruman, J. A., Schneider, F. W., and Coutts, L. M. (Eds.) (2017). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Outward Bound. (2020). Intercept Florida Canoeing. Retrieved from https://www.outwardbound.org/course/intercept-florida-canoeing/385/

 


27
Feb 20

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work!

Group Effort

Each of us has most likely had experience in being part of a group, whether it be a sports team, an organization, club, group project, etc. Within these groups/teams, everyone has their own role. The textbook defines a role as “a set of behaviors expected of a person in a particular social position or setting” (Gruman, Schneider, Coutts, 2016). For example, if it’s an organization, there might be positions like the president, vice president, secretary, auditor, etc. Work teams may include positions such as manager, assistant manager, supervisor, employee, etc. The individual who is chosen for each position has criteria and requirements that they are asked to follow in order to perform efficiently within their role for the team. Through this, there is role clarity in which the chosen individual has been given a clear definition of exactly what their role on the team is and what they’ll be required and expected to do (Gruman, Schneider, Coutts, 2016). Following that stage is role acceptance in which the individual who is chosen for the position is aware of what they’re required to do and is in agreement to their tasks (Gruman, Schneider, Coutts, 2016). Then comes role performance in which the chosen person takes on the tasks of the position clearly and efficiently (Gruman, Schneider, Coutts, 2016).

Within my own life, I’ve been a part of several groups, like a sports team and a dance team. I’ve taken part in clubs as well as group projects. In regards to organizations, at my workplace I take on the role of “employee” and I work under people who are considered my supervisors, bosses, and other administration. Those titles are the roles of those individuals who took on the tasks of those positions in order to create an efficient job environment that runs smoothly. When it comes to the football team I was on, I took on the role of “wide receiver” for some time. At that time, I was just starting to play and this position seemed to be what I was good at, so therefore, that was my role. I was required to run far out on the field and catch the ball when passed to me by the quarterback. However, I realized that running quickly that far wasn’t the best of my skillful abilities. To do so and then catch the ball wasn’t bad but it also didn’t seem to work for me to perform efficiently. There was another individual on the team who was playing the quarterback and they were having a similar situation. They had the ability to run well so our coach tested it out and had us switch roles. This happens during stage four of Tuckman’s notion of development stages (Gruman, Schneider, Coutts, 2016). We found that I had more skill in throwing the football, especially when it came to throwing far. My other teammate was able to run a lot better than I could, so therefore, revisions were made to the roster so that we could both play in positions that fit us better than the ones we already had.

We all worked as a team to be able to perform efficiently and win games. If we didn’t win (actually even if we did win), we came together, communicated with each other, and figured out how to be better when the next game would come around. The textbook talks about team confidence and how it’s so important for team members, especially in sports to have confidence in each other (Gruman, Schneider, Coutts, 2016). Every player has to believe in themselves and believe in each other. One person can’t do it all on their own. One person alone can’t “carry” the team. Every person plays a key factor in the game, in the role they’ve been placed in. An article by Journal of Sports Sciences indicates that even though a player’s performance is based a lot off of the player’s skills physically as well as the player’s traits/characteristics, sport confidence “is viewed as critical to human functioning and sport performance” (Hays, Thomas, Maynard, Bawden, 2009).

In the case of one of the dance teams I was a part of, we all had our own roles on that team as well. There was a person who was more like the leader of the group and we referred to them as the president, with another person as the vice president alongside them. There was a treasurer to handle all of the funds we obtained to be able to participate in competitions/shows as well as funds to There was a person who held the role of being responsible for creating the choreography, with the help of another individual. There was someone who was responsible for creating the tracks and music instrumental combinations for us all to dance to. With everyone placing importance on their responsibilities within the group, we were able to be in sync and successful in the dance world. Every single role in any group is very important to the entirety of the team/group. Even though one position might be considered “higher” to the outward eye, that doesn’t make any role less vital to the efficiency of the team’s survival and function as a whole. Everyone must work together, take on their own responsibilities and do their own part, as well as communicate, for things to go smoothly and be successful and done well.

 

Works Cited:

Gruman, J. A., Schneider, F. W., & Coutts, L. M. (Eds.). (2016). Applied social psychology : Understanding and addressing social and practical problems. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com

Hays, K. (n.d.). The role of confidence in world-class sport performance. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02640410903089798


26
Feb 20

Group Projects, Yay…

Just hearing the word “group” is enough to make me cringe a bit. I think it is safe to say that we have all been involved in some sort of a group before. Fairly often we find ourselves in group situations, think about your job or a friends group. Be sure to think about those school projects where you were divided up into groups and were assigned a task. Sure, some of them worked out well and you were able to collaborate to accomplish the task. However, I would think that we all have some memories of group projects that were a disaster, nothing was sweeter than finally being done with that group. But, why is this sometimes the case? How can they be so toxic and draining?

There are many things that could lead to a bad experience when in group settings. Role conflict can play a part, where not everyone is on the same page with regard to the task at hand and the roles that each member play. Sometimes there are personality conflicts. But, the one that stands out for me the most, is the bad leader… I think that it is fair to assume that most people have dealt with a leader that was a jerk; they are bullies, they are selfish, they know everything, and they undermine the group members and their ideas. Bottom line, they are the worst and they need to be stopped.

First, let us look into the formation of groups, as I believe there are ways to prevent these personality types from being put into leadership positions. Bruce Tuckman proposed that there are four stages to group development: forming, storming, norming, and performing (Tuckman, 1965). Let’s look more into the first two as they are where I believe the leader will emerge. Forming is the first stage and it is basically what it sounds like, this is the stage in which the group structure will be tested and the dependence on the group will be assessed (Tuckman, 1965). I believe this to be the most critical when it comes to the adoption of roles. In the earliest of stages in group formation it is critical that all within the group are on the same page and everyone’s ideas and thoughts are being discussed. This stage should not be disregarded as it is where the group members will begin to get a feel for who the other members are, it is here that the toxic members will begin to emerge and show themselves. Something that we have all more than likely noticed is that these toxic/bully types are pushy and will try to put themselves into a role, probably the leader role. The earliest stage is your first glimpse at what the members will be like throughout the course of the group, so pay close attention. Storming, this is the stage where roles will be determined and there will most likely be some intragroup conflict (Tuckman, 1965). Take what was learned from forming, communicate between group members. This is the stage where your toxic member will become the leader if everyone does not express concerns and talk about member’s strengths. Again, there might be some conflict, but better now than in the middle of the task when no one has a say in the direction the team takes because you allowed the toxic member to be the leader. By the end of this stage all of the roles should be assigned, hopefully in ways that work for everyone. But that does not always happen… So, now we look at Tuckman’s third stage. Norming is where new standards will evolve, and new roles are adopted (Tuckman, 1965). Think of this stage as post-beta, the idea has been out there, and it is time to assess and make changes before the performing stage. If the leader role isn’t working out, this is the time to speak up and try to make a change. In all, there are many opportunities to weed out the bullies, but it takes a lot of communication in the early stages of group development.

All of that sounds fine and dandy, but there are instances where the bully will emerge as the leader or they may be assigned as the leader by a higher up and it is important to have policies in place that try to eliminate or minimize the way that these bullies treat others. Management scientist, Robert Sutton has spent some time looking into these toxic, bully leaders and he suggests a zero-tolerance policy for destructive aggression and selfishness (Sutton, 2007). The adoption of a zero-tolerance policy would certainly help deal with terrible leaders and would also send a strong message about how certain attitudes and actions will be dealt with.

Overall, groups are an important part of not only businesses, but schools, friends, families, and many others. They can allow us to accomplish amazing feats and challenges with incredible efficiency, but they can also be very toxic. Bruce Tuckman showed us the stages of group formation, it is our job to make the most of those stages to help prevent roles being improperly assigned. Also, if you are constantly having to deal with horrible leaders, speak to a higher up, express your concerns, and maybe suggest Sutton’s approach to dealing with jerks.

 

References:

Sutton, R. (2007). The No Jerk Rule. Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders, Season 2, Episode 22. Retrieved from: https://ecorner.stanford.edu/podcasts/the-no-jerk-rule

Tuckman, B. W. (1965). American Psychological Association. Psychological Bulletin, Volume 63, Number 6, Pages 384-99


22
Feb 20

Cultural Diversity and Racism

Ethnic Harmony

We live in a society that consists of diverse people that come from different areas and backgrounds of life and are different shapes and sizes. The textbook talks about “diversity” in relation to physical abilities, religion, gender, social class, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and nationality (Gruman, Schneider, Coutts, 2016). Within that, culture and cultural diversity (ethnicity and race) are seen as what creates influence over the lives of people who come from different backgrounds. It brings a sense of uniqueness to different groups of people who have their own sets of rules, beliefs, behaviors, and values that they follow and teach throughout the generations.

As someone who grew up in the Indian community, culture is seen as important. There are traditions/values/behaviors/etc. that have been passed down for generations. I was born in America, my family is more modernized so the traditions, behaviors, etc. differ a bit from what is taught in India. However, in present day, India has come a long way in changing certain things to keep up with the times as opposed to how it used to be back in the day. For example, let’s talk about the clothing. Indian people are known for their beautiful traditional and intricate clothing and the fancy jewelry that compliments it as well. There is traditional clothing that is a little simpler in detail and a majority of the residents there wear it every day. In the past when I would visit, I’d never seen anyone in anything except the traditional clothing but times have changed and nowadays individuals also wear jeans, t-shirts, and clothing that’s modest yet not the typical traditional outfit. Here in the U.S., a majority of the Indians I know wear your typical clothing, like t-shirts, jeans, etc. for their casual wear for a regular day like everyone does. It’s not like India, where it’s normal to wear the traditional clothing every day. Personally, I only wear my traditional clothing if I attend my parents church, at certain Indian weddings, or for special events within the community.

The textbook talks about how the norm behavior for when people greet each other in India is to nod (Gruman, Schneider, Coutts, 2016). I do catch myself nodding at other Indian people but I’ve also seen it used as a joke by other people who witness it because they think it’s funny the way that Indian people “bob their heads all the time”. It’s unfortunately not understood by many that it’s just a form of greeting each other. Another thing that people associate with Indians is arranged marriages. For a long time, it was tradition for marriages to be arranged for an individual by their parents. As the textbook states, in places like India and Japan the purpose of marriage wasn’t viewed “as providing happiness to the two individuals involved; rather, it is viewed as developing alliances between families” (Gruman, Schneider, Coutts, 2016). In current day, this tradition is still practiced in different parts of India but things have expanded and there’s a bit more freedom. My parents don’t believe in arranged marriage, and in being more modernized, that tradition isn’t passed on to me. Being from Indian background though, there are people who assume that that is how my life is going to go, which is just an assumption created based off my culture.

Furthering into assumptions that are created, there’s the unfortunate response of racism and discrimination that tends to occur. It’s a sensitive topic that people don’t like to talk about, but it does still exist to this day. Racism is defined as “bias against an individual or a group of individuals based on the individual’s or group members’ race/ethnicity” (Gruman, Schneider, Coutts, 2016). There are a lot of people that don’t want to talk about this topic because it’s just easier to push it under the rug and act like it’s not a real thing that exists. I sadly have been discriminated due to my ethnicity. I’ve had people tell me (for no reason) to go back to the country I was born in, but then would be silent when they realized that I wasn’t born in India. It’s not fun to be bullied in general and it’s hurtful when it’s based off of who you are, where you and your family come from, and what makes you different from other people.

If you’ve seen The Office, there’s an episode called “Diversity Day” in which different cultures are acknowledged and the characters are seen using stereotypes of the cultures, in a comedic way. This doesn’t remove the fact that some of what they showed in the episode tends to happen in real life. In the episode, they’re all role-playing as different cultures and saying stereotypical things to each other in a game to figure out who each person is representing and one woman isn’t in the room at the time and so she doesn’t know that this game is being played. When she returns, a character says a stereotype about the woman’s actual cultural background, as a part of the game, but the woman didn’t know that and thought the character was being serious and got offended, thus opening the eyes of the character who said it to her. The concept of Diversity Day exists in real life as well, except it’s nowhere near like how it is in that show. An article connected to the United Nations talks about how bringing together cultures is good for development, peace, and stability (United Nations, 2020). On the 21st of May, it’s known as World Day for Cultural Diversity in which cultures are embraced and values and traditions are understood with knowledge of it being broadened (United Nations, 2020). My workplace has a Diversity Day where everyone comes together, brings food from their cultural background, and people get to interact with each other and learn more about each other and where they come from.

I hope that one day it’ll get to a place where people aren’t judged for where they come from and people will be kind to all the individuals that they encounter without creating assumptions or discrimination. People from all cultures should be able to come together in unity from a place of love and try to understand each other more. We should all love each other and create that harmony and peace within us as a society. No matter where a person comes from, everyone is beautiful and unique in their own way and should be accepted as such.

 

 

Works Cited:

Gruman, J. A., Schneider, F. W., & Coutts, L. M. (Eds.). (2016). Applied social psychology : Understanding and addressing social and practical problems. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com

cultural, diversity, dialogue, development, Alliance of Civilizations, tolerance, inclusion. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.un.org/en/events/culturaldiversityday/


20
Feb 20

How About Just All Being Humans

I officiate lots of basketball games these days, all around Eastern Switzerland. Switzerland is a beautiful country, famous for its nature, chocolate, and neutrality. It possesses top notch public transportation, healthcare, and educational systems. It’s a country with highest or second-highest, depending on the year the data is collected, GDP per capita in the world. That still doesn’t make it immune to discrimination, something that this country still has long way to go to overcome. While officiating a basketball game in a high-school gym in a town called Frauenfeld, looking for officials’ locker room, one writing on the bathroom door that I ran into caught my eye.

If German language is not your strong suit, what it says on the photo is “restroom for the retarded.”
Although it really caught me off guard, when I thought about it, I realized that it’s nothing out of the ordinary. Not for this country. After getting married and moving to Switzerland, I was repeatedly denied job opportunities on the grounds of being a foreigner, though I possessed valid employment permit. Foreigners in Switzerland are known, deservingly so or not, to be not as hard-working as Swiss people, and of course for their less than perfect German proficiency. Sometimes I wouldn’t even make it through the door of temporärbüro (governmental agencies set up to help people find temp jobs) before I was told that I should turn around, as they don’t have jobs for non-German-speaking ausländer (foreigner). My German level at the time was basic. When I complained about it saying that it was blatant discrimination, the response I got was that I am more than welcome to go back where I came from if I didn’t like the way I was being treated. In addition to this, my two daughters, even though born in Switzerland and German is their native language, cannot legally obtain Swiss citizenship. The reason- their father is not a Swiss citizen. They will have to live in Switzerland for certain amount of time (this amount is different in every kanton), until they can apply for citizenship on their own. Until then, they are guests in the country they were born, and spent almost every day of their life in.
Being discriminated against is never fun. However, some of it may be in human nature. Our perceptual system is designed to use partial information to arrive at the best guess solution to a problem which is correct most of the time. The few errors we may experience are more than compensated for by a feature of our perceptual system that is essential for our survival- its great speed even when faced with incomplete information (Goldstein, 2011). This not only suggests that stereotyping and discrimination are mental shortcuts created to make our lives easier, and therefore significant contributors to our everyday psychological and social lives, but the argument can be made that these behaviors were valuable survival tools throughout human evolution; tools that lead humans past natural selection and helped us evolve into the species we are today. Hence, they must be inscribed deep in our genetic code, along with other instincts successfully used by our ancestors in order to survive (and to do so long enough to reproduce). In hunter-gatherer society ability to discriminate between different groups of people, even if it meant using stereotyping as a tool to get us to quick enough and accurate enough decision on whether or not someone from a particular group presents potential danger to our group, sometimes meant a difference between life and death.
What has helped us in the past is making things much worse in the present though. Some cultures are much more aware of existence of stereotyping and discrimination than others. Although people in America are far from satisfied with their current situation regarding this issue, they are obviously light years ahead of most others, including Switzerland. It is still very much ok and legal to discriminate here; when in fact it’s wrong, ignorant, and disrespectful, and it has negative effects on psyche of people affected by it.
Even though it looks like we are far removed from period when stereotyping and discrimination were useful to us, years that we spent living in civilized society are insignificant when it comes to evolution, whose significance factor is measured by thousands, maybe tens of thousands of years. This is approximately how long it would take for those traits, that were clearly enforced by natural selection, to be altered or completely erased. Until that happens (if ever), the least we can do is treat each other with respect. Whatever our skin color, gender, or intelligence level. How about just all being humans? That’s certainly how I’m raising my children to be.

References:

Goldstein, B.E. (2011). Cognitive Psychology: Connecting mind, research, and everyday experience. (3rd Edition). Wadsworth, Inc.


20
Feb 20

Genocides, why are they still happening?

Did you ever ask yourself how genocides could happen? How can a normal human being, that grew up in the same society you did, suddenly come after you to kill you? It sounds so unlikely, but still it happened, and not just once but over and over again.

My mother keeps telling me the story about the city she was born in, Jedwabne in Poland. It is the unbelievable story where neighbors summoned all the Jews into a barn and burned them alive. Neighbors that were not affiliated with the Nazis, who were not forced to do so. They did it out of their own will (Mikics, 2015). My mother survived because she was deported to Siberia a couple of days before this happened.

How can a neighbor, you lived side by side for many years suddenly turn on you? One explanation could be the social identity theory (SIT). This theory assumes, that people want to feel good about themselves, good about who they are and good about the group they belong to (Gruman, Schneider & Coutts, 2012, p. 341). To summarize it, people want to achieve a positive social identity. You could think there is nothing negative about feeling good about oneself or at least to try to achieve that. We humans constantly want to look good in front of others, may it be with our physical appearance or our intellect.

The danger lies in the motivation a group has to feel good about oneself. If the motivation is high to achieve this, the motivation is also high to evaluate the members of the other group negatively. We compare our group constantly with other groups and if we perceive the differences and statuses as very different from our own, we set the stage for a ‘us’ versus ‘them’ situation (Gruman, Schneider & Coutts, 2012, p. 341) and everybody can guess, where this leads to.

To prevent genocides in the future, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan outlined in 2004 a five-point action plan:

  1. Prevent armed conflict, which usually provides the context for genocide;
  2. Protect civilians in armed conflict, including through UN peacekeepers;
  3. End impunity through judicial action in national and international courts;
  4. Gather information and set up an early-warning system; and
  5. Take swift and decisive action, including military action (Un.org, 2012).

This action plan looks great from far, but by inspecting it closer, I come up with some doubts.

  1. At this very moment we have armed conflicts all over the world and as one example, the Syrian war goes on already for years. Preventing an armed conflict is easier said than done. I don’t see any end in the near future in the Syrian conflict.
  2. People of the Central African Republic and South Sudan are butchered because of their ethnicity. UN peacekeepers are present but still cannot protect all the men, women and children, that are killed by mobs with machetes.
  3. During all genocides other nations turned a blind eye on those in need. Just after a horrendous amount of damage was done already, did they start to get involved.
  4. With the help of new technologies like the internet, information about minorities that are threatened is more than ever available. Warning signs are present, like the repeated killings of Muslims in India, but what is done to prevent it?
  5. If action would have been taken ‘swift’ and ‘decisive’, so many killings could have been prevented. We get the feeling, that military action is just used when the country providing it has some sort of advantage, like getting resources from the country they ‘rescue’.

There are many suggestions and guidelines out there to tell us how we can prevent another genocide from happening. The past and the present showed us though, that this is not easy. I hope that applied social psychologists can give us an answer soon, before it will be too late for another minority group.

 

Department of Public Information. (2012). Preventing Genocide. Outreach Programme on the Rwanda Genocide and the United Nations: https://www.un.org/en/preventgenocide/rwanda/pdf/bgpreventgenocide.pdf

Gruman, J. A., Schneider, F. W., and Coutts, L. M. (Eds.) (2012). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems (2rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Mikics, D. (2015). The Day We Burned Our Neighbors Alive. Polish journalist Anna Bikont faces history in Jedwabne in her masterful new ‘The Crime and the Silence’. Tablet Magazine. https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/books/194312/anna-bikont-jedwabne

 


20
Feb 20

Diversity in my Relationships

Personally I can relate to diversity in two different areas of my life. One is in my personal life. I grew up having a best friend who was Spanish. We were best friends since we were in 5th grade. I spent a lot of my childhood at her house and things were very different from what I was used to and I noticed this very early on in our friendship. The food was very different, the language, the way they dressed was different, how they celebrated holidays and special events was even very different. I thought at first it was odd but the more time I spent with her I grew to love the food. Even to this day I think Spanish food is amazing! I also grew to feel like these new ways of life were a part of my life now because I was so close with her. Upon our friendship growing apart due to her transferring to another school in high school and us just making new friends I met my now fiance and he too is Spanish. So I never really stepped away from the Spanish culture.

My fiance’s family is from Puerto Rico. Their first language is Spanish including his. He speaks English well as he was put in classes to learn English when he was in elementary school. However I still have a hard time understanding his mom sometimes. Her English is still very broken and hard to understand. My fiance’s dad speaks no English at all so we don’t communicate much unfortunately. I still love all the Spanish traditional meals and in June of 2021 we are getting married and we plan to have a complete Spanish spread for the meal. I really hope that one day I am to pick up on more Spanish language than I am able to now but right now I just don’t have the free time to try and learn a whole new language. Sometimes my fiance will talk to me in Spanish (trying to be funny) and I will guess 2-3 times what he is trying to say before I am like “okay just tell me already”. But from him doing that I have learned a lot more than I knew 3-4 years ago.

From having a good friend who was Spanish almost my entire childhood to now having a fiance who is Spanish I have learned the culture and the way of life very well. The diversity that I see among couples is something that I love but I know that everyone doesn’t like to see it. I have never had anyone say anything directly to me but I have had people make faces or stare at me and my fiance and unless I had food all over my face I would assume it was because it was clear to see we were a couple. I personally feel that the younger generation is open to it for the most part but it is the older generation I feel that lacks that understanding. I don’t mean those who are 30-40 years old but those who are 70,80,90 years old and they grew up with very different beliefs and in a very different time and era.

In the article I referenced called “The Challenges of Relationship Diversity” there is reference to the idea that we as humans have to understand things about each other all the time and when we bring the diversity of different races and cultures together it is something that needs a good bit of attention from the Psychology prospective. This is something that I agree with. Two people have to learn how to come together for their family, children, relationship, job etc. and when you are bringing these different diverse people together it can make things even  more challenging because beliefs could be so different. Hopefully as we progress with level of understanding of Psychology we continue to grow in focus on this area. I am sure we are much farther ahead today than we were 10 years ago and I am sure 10 years from now we will be even farther ahead.

Reference:

MAPS, G. K. A. (n.d.). Dr Gery Karantzas Assoc MAPS, Secretary and Dr RossWilkinson MAPS, Convenor. Retrieved February 20, 2020, from https://www.psychology.org.au/publications/inpsych/2011/feb/karantzas


20
Feb 20

Free speech, persistent racism and bigotry: What can colleges do to not mishandle use of free speech and be all inclusive?

     Many college campus administrators have been struggling to “navigate issues of inclusion and free speech,” which has “students of color [having] been left to find their own way.  (American Public Media, 2020)

Liberty

Free Speech for all

In the APMReports (American Public Media) article, “How colleges are mishandling racial tensions on campus,” by John Hernandez (Sept. 12, 2019), reports that “colleges across the country [are] seeing similar controversies.”  More colleges campuses are having more “incidents of racial bias, racism, and hate crimes, [which are all on the rise].”  (American Public Media, 2020)

Politics can affect how smoothly things go on campus.  “In March 2019, the Trump administration responded to the rise in what it called “hard left” student protests with an executive order attempting to hold colleges financially accountable if they don’t protect free speech.” (American Public Media, 2020)

It's not about Free Speech...about bigots normalizing hate

Bigots normalizing hate creating racial tensions

So, how can colleges protect free speech, and not mishandle it, or incite further racial tensions? What interventions can be used?  As students of color such as “Syedah” from the article and others, often feel that “administrators too often don’t address or respond to student concerns about the racial climate on campus until a controversial incident happens.”  (American Public Media, 2020)

Strategies must be developed and implemented by college administrators, that include assessments by the entire student body to address the issues.  Initiatives should be created that focus on inclusion and improving campus climates, such as the Initiatives that Syracuse University is taking.  (The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, 2020)

Syracuse University Taking Further Efforts to Improve Campus Climate for Black Students

Students from different races, and ethnic backgrounds viewpoints on how they perceive things are very different, which creates a barrier and leads to tensions.  “Another study from the University of Pennsylvania reinforced that white students and students of color experience the campus differently. It found students of color and white students to be frustrated with the gap between “espoused and enacted institutional values concerning diversity” at their schools.”  (American Public Media, 2020)

Is there free speech

Is there free speech?

My community college, Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC), I attended prior to going to Penn State tries to stay on top of things regarding inclusion of all students and diversity. They have constantly made changes.  I personally have witnessed the disparities in perception among students of different races and cultures over the years I was there, as well as differences such as persons with disabilities.  My husband currently attends now, and many changes have been made as interventions to the ongoing issue that many campuses have regarding racial tensions, free speech and inclusion.

Diversity and Inclusion

Bridging the gap with diversity by inclusion

HACC has completely remodeled its campus to be more welcoming to students of all races, backgrounds and cultures.  They have changed policies and are active on strategies and initiatives that include all of the student body.  They constantly welcome ideas for change from the students.  They have a zero tolerance policy on their clubs and programs from discriminating against students.  This has improved their campus climate, and allows free speech where it is inclusive, and respectful of diversity in all students.

This issue needs to be ongoing far as assessing and possibly trying new ideas in order to not only prevent mishandling of free speech, and to prevent racial tensions, hate crimes, discrimination, etc.  I believe applying social psychological interventions do work for these issues, but have to be a constant process and willingness by all.

Equality & Diversity

Respecting differences and embracing diversity and being inclusive

References:

Hernandez, John.  2/12/19.  “How colleges are mishandling racial tensions on campuses.”  American Public Media.  Accessed 2/20/20.  2020.

Journal of Blacks in Higher Education.  Campus Racial Incidents.  2020.

Tatone, Alicia.  (image- Liberty.)  The Atlantic.  Accessed 2/20/20.  2020.

Lam, Stephen, Reuters. (bigot free speech image).  “Who’s Afraid of Free Speech?”  The Atlantic.  Accessed 2/20/20.  2020.


20
Feb 20

Ignorance, err…I mean privilege…is bliss.

Growing up middle class in the Midwest, I was raised to believe in the “American dream” and bought into the “hard work pays off” ethic. While I do think that hard work increases one’s chances of success, I now consider other contributing factors such as race, class, and gender. Honestly, I thought that since discrimination was illegal, and with diversity and equality being a frequent topic in the news, everyone was on a level playing field. It wasn’t until a class I took here at Penn State World Campus that my eyes were opened and I understood the history, repercussions, and consequences of discrimination and prejudice within a culture. Since that class, I have been able to see the way in which minorities are (and have been) perpetually been kept down due to various institutionalized circumstances no matter the country or culture.

Studies have shown that your name can determine your hiring success, regardless of your experience (Adensina, Marocico, 2017). I experienced this “in reverse” when I moved to Asia and applied to be a personal trainer (PT). I had only recently received my PT certification and was starting to feel discouraged when I wasn’t getting any call-backs until I finally landed an interview at a high end country club. I thought the interview had gone well, but I was later surprised to be offered a management role that placed me in charge of the whole department. While I personally questioned my lack of experience, I let my ego take over and assumed that I had talents that others “saw in me”. I later realized that I was hired because of my ethnicity and background, which brought favorable connotations to my place of employment. Although I did eventually leave this job, I truly wished I had left over the moral and ethical aspect of the situation, rather than for other opportunities.

My spouse, being an American-born person of Asian ethnicity, has long tried to explain to me the differences in how we are treated in various situations. As mentioned, I had previously been oblivious to discrimination, but after learning about and being aware of these things, I began to see them. For example, when we would go out to dinner, I was always handed the check and signature paper (even if I was not the one to give my credit card). Aside from that, when workers come to the house they directed all conversation to me, even though my name is not on the lease. Even at international networking events, I can now see how much harder she needs to work than I do to get noticed, based solely on our skin color. This type of discrimination has deep roots in colonization, especially in Asia.

Now I cannot “un-see” the inequalities. No matter the country, no matter the race or religion, there always seems to be one group that discriminates and dominates against another. I don’t think there is any easy solution to ending prejudice and racism, but I do think that education and exposure can be incredibly helpful. Like my eyes were opened, I think that we can educate each other and help to open the eyes of many disparate groups across our society.

References

Adesina, Z., & Marocico, O. (2017, February 6). Is it easier to get a job if you’re Adam or Mohamed? Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-38751307

Gruman, J. A., Schneider, F. W., and Coutts, L. M. (Eds.) (2017). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Pennsylvania State University World Campus (2020). PSYCH 424 Lesson 6: Intergroup Relations/Diversity. Retrieved from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/2040175/modules/items/28379758

 

 

 


20
Feb 20

MACHISMO IS HARMING WOMEN

When we hear the term macho, many of us think of a macho man. The term Macho is defined as having or characterized by qualities considered manly, especially when manifested in an assertive, self-conscious, or dominating way; Having a strong or exaggerated sense of power or the right to dominate. Every day in Mexico and all over Latin America, women have to put up with lascivious comments or other forms of street harassment. Catcalling is a universal issue and countries like my own still joke about how to distinguish compliments and harassment. (Ortiz, 2018) 

I was born in the U.S and spent all my childhood and part of my early adulthood living in Mexico. I know that the macho culture in Mexico is still very alive today. Women aren’t safe from all harassment they encounter on the streets for simply being a woman. I have been a victim of this many times, and I guess you could call it normal. I even had a man grab my behind and squeezed it like it was a fluffy pillow or something. Many women experience this daily.

The sad truth is that the culture of machismo in Mexico harms women. Everyday femicide is disappearing the women of Mexico. Less than a week ago, the lifeless body of Fatima, a seven-year-old, was found inside a plastic bag with signs of sexual assault. Just a couple days earlier, Ingrid Escamilla, 25, was stabbed to death by the man she lived with, who then skinned and disemboweled her mutilated body in an attempt to hide the evidence. Before Fatima and Ingrid, many other innocent women had been found raped and brutally murdered. Their only crime was being born female in a sexist country.

Mexico still practices sexism and machismo up to this day. Women are supposed to stay home and take care of the family. Women are taught how to cook and clean. Women are also told they are whores and prostitutes for dressing up nicely or when going out. Daughters are supposed to help mothers set the table and serve the boys. In all honesty, many of us grew up knowing by nature that men are known to be superior to women. This is when the culture of machismo or sexism occurs. Although, in the United States of America, while sexism and femicide exist, it is not as persistent as in other countries. Here we are more open and more tolerant towards the opposite sex, in my opinion.

I believe that it all starts at home by building the character of our children. Teaching our children, who are the future, the values and morals. We have to tell our children that boys and girls are capable of anything and that no other sex is weaker than the other.

To all the innocent women who lost their lives because they were out partying with their friends, because they had a dress or skirt, because they looked pretty, because they liked to drink, because they were out late, because they took a taxi to get home “safely” because they were walking home from school. Because at the end of the day, it was their fault they were raped, murdered, and mutilated. The men who committed these atrocities thought at the time, and probably still think, that it was the girl’s fault. These same men who grew up with a machista mentality, believe that women are just a piece of meat.

 

Ortiz, V. L. (2018, December 31). The Culture of Machismo in Mexico Harms Women. Retrieved February 20, 2020, from https://merionwest.com/2018/01/28/the-culture-of-machismo-in-mexico-harms-women/

Macho. (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2020, from https://www.dictionary.com/browse/macho

Picheta, R., & Gallón, N. (2020, February 14). Newspaper publishes photos of brutally murdered woman, sparking outrage in Mexico. Retrieved February 20, 2020, from https://edition.cnn.com/2020/02/13/americas/ingrid-escamilla-mexico-murder-case-scli-intl/index.html


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