Castro-Atwater, S., Hohnbaum, A. (). A conceptual framework of “top 5” ethical lessons for the helping professions. Education, 135, 271-278
This article introduces a conceptual framework of the “Top 5 Ethical Lessons” for the human service professions, which is currently used by schools of social work and schools of psychology. It is integral for educators in the helping professions to provide their students with models of appropriate ethical behavior and decision-making. The ethical lessons outlines are: 1) look before you leap, 2) take COVER: use of a multi-step ethical decision making model, 3) you are not a wise owl: the role of integrity, 4) understanding that confidentiality has pitfalls, and 5) do not turn a “blind eye”. These five ethical lessons provide students and educators with a framework that helps them resolve ambiguous ethical situations that arise during professional practice in a constructive and thoughtful manner.
Marcoux, Elizabeth (2009). Diversity and the teacher-librarian. Teacher Librarian, 36, 67.
This short article highlights the experiences of Betty Marcoux while attending a diversity curriculum course at UMass Amherst. The purpose of the course was to increase the educator’s capacity to create and sustain an environment in the classroom that modeled respect, fairness, and equity. Betty was asked to examine her various interests, identity, personal prejudices, cultural differences, and values. By doing so, Betty was able to: understand and analyze her personal biases; realize that she must transform herself before she can transform her school; develop skills in cultural competency; and validate cultures different from her own.
Ornelas, India (2008). Cultural competency at the community level: A strategy for reducing racial and ethnic disparities. Cambridge Quarterly on healthcare Ethics, 17, 185-194.
This journal has a focus on reducing health disparities through culturally competent practices. The author emphasizes the fact that health disparities are influenced by multiple factors like access to healthcare, poverty, racism, violence, and crime. Because of these varying factors, efforts to eliminate disparities should have a focus on addressing social sources at the community and personal level. The author suggests that health care providers should strive to achieve the following: awareness of one’s own personal and professional cultural biases, ability to access the influence of culture on a patient’s health beliefs, understanding the dynamics of power and privilege that arise in cross-cultural interactions, and the ability to provide care and treatment in a culturally appropriate manner that minimizes the burden of adaptation on the patients and their families. Despite a focus on health disparities and health care professionals, this article relates to the creation of our guide because it delves into the history of cultural competence, identifies strategies for developing all-inclusive practices, and provides examples of community/institution efforts to increase cultural competence.
Deconstructing the White Lens
Dekoven, A. (2011). Engaging white college students in productive conversations about race and racism: Avoiding dominant-culture projection and condescension-judgment default. Multicultural Perspectives, 13(3), 155-159.
This journalistic article outlines ways in which Dekoven believes that we, as educators, can properly facilitate race talk in a college classroom setting, as well as discussing the reasons he believes (through in-class experiences) cause students of any race to resist racial discussion. Problems can occur in dialogue when White students use their own lives as a template for which others' must measure their own lives, stifling productive understanding of the experiences of people of color. This error in thinking also severely underestimates the effects of dominant-culture projection onto those who are inferior to the larger group. White people are also afraid to speak in conversations about race because they may be labeled as condescending, not empathetic, or racist. Educators must teach students about the true historical background of race and racism, while bringing to light their relationships to privilege and power in society, as well as ending the notion of meritocracy. A strength of this article is its push to end silence in classrooms, for silent voices cannot initiate change, and will only push students further into feelings of disconnectedness to the reality of racism today, while a weakness is it's author's work, which gives support to the article, with primarily White/female preservice educators. This article could be used to provide advice to educators/facilitators who are seeking to further understand the silence, or generally unhelpful conversations, that are being had about race, and should be read by anybody who intends to facilitate some kind of progressive dialogue concerning race and racism with others.
Sue, D. (2013). Race talk: The psychology of racial dialogues. American Psychologist, 663-672.
This article summarizes a series of studies conducted, all of which provided information concerning the apprehension of students and faculty alike to discuss race in an open, honest way. The studies spoke of four major demographics: White students, White faculty, students of color, and faculty of color. Common themes occurring within racial conversations which impede progressive discussion are presented, such as; uncomfortable and powerful emotions, attempts to dilute or terminate the topic, avoidant behaviors and microaggressions, the conspiracy of silence, and whichever powers are afforded to the professor that impact classroom dynamics. Alongside this, the article outlines different ways that White students and faculty deter racial conversations, putting emphasis on the necessary redefining of the theoretically logical idea of meritocracy. These conversations are had through the cultural lens of the White majority, immediately putting participants at uneven playing fields. The author asks why race talk is so difficult for its participants, answering this inquiry by discussing the impacts that race talk has on students and faculty, especially giving voice to the White experience of race talk and the fearfulness factors at play: taking personal responsibility to enact change, appearing racist, confronting what they have only ever known as their life experience and accepting it as privileged. A strength of this article is its inclusion of societal rules, which are discussed in the article to give momentum to three ground rules in our which ignore and silence honest discussion about race and racism; the politeness protocol, the academic protocol, and the color-blind protocol. These three protocols, given merit by societal norms, are delved into and their implicit and explicit ways of discouragement are explained. Another strength of the article is its wide range of insight into both student and faculty thinking, regardless of race, while a limitation is its primary focus on the perspectives of Whites. This article and its corresponding studies should be used by any educators who aim to break down nonessential dynamics in the classroom when race topics arise, who also believe that understanding the implications of the psychology behind these discussions is crucial to how educators can facilitate difficult dialogues concerning race.
Garrett, J., Segall, A. (2013). (Re)Considerations of ignorance and resistance in teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 64, 294-304.
There are several theoretical approaches to teacher education, each differing in the processes involved, which all share a common understanding about the need for significant explorations of race in the context of education and issues of power. Ignorance, in this context, is a perceived lack of knowledge about race, multiculturalism, and diversity. The teaching population is overwhelmingly white, and white individuals are often portrayed as ignorant as to how racism affects society and their lives. Ignorance to the historical and present oppression and privilege discourse in the United States is what sets the stage for conversations (or lack there of) that are common in education courses. By actively engaging in conversations and thoughts about race, individuals may help mitigate the reproduction of perceptions mired in White privilege. Although there is a propensity to avoid new opinions and knowledge, we should recognize that this resistance is part and parcel to acquiring new knowledge rather than an obstacle.
First Year Students
Guillermo-Wann, C., Ruiz Alvarado, A., & Hurtado, S. (2015). Thinking about race: The salience of racial identity at two- and four-year colleges and the climate for diversity. The Journal of Higher Education, 86, 127-155.
“Racial identity salience is an important component of identity development that is associated with a number of educational outcomes.”
This article is from The Journal of Higher Education, and presents the significance of race on the college campus. It is reported that we are at a record high of incoming freshmen entering college who believe that racial discrimination is no longer an issue in America. There also has been a record high of race-related incidents on college campuses. By implementing a climate initiative, it would be effective to help students understand their own racial background. Making first year students aware of the racial issues that are present in society today is essential. Salience, in reference to racial identity, is how often an individual thinks about their race, their individual self-concept, and then the cognitive understanding of that identity. By using this knowledge, college campuses can help create safe, productive, and positive college environments.
Johnson, Abby (2015). Diversity on my mind: Reflecting the world in which we live. American Libraries Magazine.
This short article is a reflection of the work librarians do and the connection that work has to diversity. Johnson writes, “we need to consciously think about how we’re including diverse literature in programs, book lists, readers’ advisory, presentations, and displays until it becomes second nature.” The campaign We Need Diverse Books is mentioned as a good resource for librarians, and the author reminds readers that they should set goals for diversity and inclusion inside the workspace. In addition to recommending ways in which librarians can keep their spaces diverse, Johnson suggests that community members reflect upon the library and whether it is a reflection of the community in which they live. She goes on to explain that by making diversity a priority, change is possible.
Lee, A., Kilaberia, R., Williams, R. (2012). Engaging diversity in first-year college classrooms. Innovative Higher Education. 37(3),
This study focuses on the classroom being a place of engaging diversity. It recognizes that the early college years are an important time of growth and development of understanding diversity and cultural competency. The authors define diversity as a verb. It is not a noun, simply referring to the presence of multiple identities, but rather an active participation and interaction of these different identities. With this being said, the study looked specifically at reflections done by first year college students in their First Year Inquiry (FYI). One reflection was done in the middle of the semester, and one towards the end.
The first journal assignment was focused on the classroom climate. The second journal assignment was centered on a specific experience that they had in the classroom over the course of the semester. A lot of responses that showed consistent in both journals was how much the students valued being able to share their individual experiences and learn about their fellow classmates’ stories. In addition, they also shared that different activities/discussions/assignments helped them gain a greater sense of responsibility for issues that might not be directly affecting them. If these students had not been put in purposeful situations, they would not have had the same opportunities to engage, grow, and learn from each other.
Overall, this study shows the importance of purposely incorporating critical thinking about diversity into first year classroom discussions, assignments, and objectives. Instead of having random, forced conversations. It is more effective when the concept is already interwoven into the curriculum.
Tatum, Beverly. (1992). Talking about Race, Learning about Racism: The Application of Racial Identity Development Theory in the Classroom. Harvard Educational Review, 62(1), 1-25.
In this journal, Beverly Tatum addresses her observation that discomfort regarding conversations about race frequently leads students to resist the learning process, and she explains how racial identity development theory can be used to combat this resistance and foster a positive learning environment. She begins by describing the working assumptions used in her class, such as the existence of White privilege, the fact that racism harms everyone in different ways, and the fact that change is possible. Tatum goes on to outline appropriate guidelines for such conversations, including respecting the confidentiality of the conversation and speaking only from one’s own personal experiences. Tatum also identifies common sources of resistance in classrooms, particularly classrooms of predominantly White students. These sources are the common view of race as a taboo subject, the common belief that the United States is a just society or meritocracy, and the denial of personal prejudice or impact of racism on one’s own life. Tatum explains how Black racial identity development theory and White racial identity development theory differ and how an understanding of both developmental patterns can be used to create a safe classroom atmosphere where students grow in their understanding of themselves, generate knowledge, and are empowered to promote change.
This journal effectively outlines common obstacles that prevent meaningful and effective conversations about race and racism. Additionally, it provides clear strategies for overcoming these obstacles in a way that empowers students to act as agents of social change. This journal contains helpful information for college students, professors, and administrators interested in fostering a campus environment where marginalized students are given a voice to share their experiences and all members of the community have an awareness of impacts of racism and a desire to advocate for change.
Tatum, Beverly (1999): “Why Are All of the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”
Tatums work provides a clear guide to address social inequalities we encounter everyday. With her experience as a psychologist and later, as dean of Mount Holyoke College, she defines racism as a system of advantages based on race. With this definition, she continues to provide an understanding on how people view and react to the topic of race. Through her work, she has found that fear of negative reaction has shown to be the most common reason for people of all racial groups to avoid discussions of racism. Tatum states that we need fight the fear and speak up for ourselves, because racism negatively affects us all whether we want to acknowledge it or not. By breaking away from silence, Tatum describes the need to find empowerment in dialogue and to create a well represented environment for everyone to learn in. To create such an environment, university administrators need to affirm identities in their communities through a diverse representation in their curriculum and their campus leaders. Administrators need to create an environment that will provide a shared feeling of belonging to a larger campus community. Finally, administrators should promote leadership from the student body. Creating such an environment is the first step, students should be encouraged by professors to break patterns of social isolation and create cross-racial relationships in both their academic and personal lives. With the continuing conversations around racism, we can address the stereotypes that so many of us have learned though secondhand experiences and create an environment that supports the growth of cultural competence.