Over the course of 2021, quite a few SIETARians have shared their reflections on a variety of articles by posting their comments on the blog posts. Here are the insights and thoughts they shared.
We encourage SIETARians to share their thoughts on our articles by writing a letter to the editor (firstname.lastname@example.org) or posting a comment on the SIETAR-USA blog. For those who may not know, SIETAR-USA does not collect any identifying information from comments, so we hope that readers will sign their name in their comment, if they are comfortable.
Walking in Ambiguity - by Dianne Hofner Saphiere
By Sandra Fowler
- Anonymous: What a great article about Dianne. Both her and you, Sandy, are gifts to the intercultural field. Dianne's creativity shows through in virtually everything she does and I trust she will stay in touch with her intercultural friends as she continues photographing the world around us.
Incomplete Observations and Cross-Cultural Understanding
By Helen Kim, PhD
- Rebecca Parrilla: Thank you, Helen, for an interesting account. I'm heartened that in the end, the Japanese and Brazilian colleagues decided to include their African American colleague in the conversation. The histories of different groups, especially here in the U.S., are complicated and different - and there are a myriad valid reasons why the Black colleague may prefer to identify solely as "American", esp not knowing about his and his family's personal experiences.Thanks so much for sharing! Rebecca (Principal Consultant, Language & Culture Worldwide)
Craig Stori BookMarks: Between the World and Me
By Craig Stori
- Marcella Simon: Excellent review Craig. It was a hard book to read but worth it.
Opinion: In Response to Marcella Peralta Simon
By Chris Cartwright and interviewees: Taj Suleman, MA, Dr. Cheryl Forster, Sofia Santiago, MBA, MAIR, PMP, Teni-Ola Ogunjobi, MAIR, Kevin R. Martin, MA
- Anonymous: This is a profound question that, as interculturalists, we should all be pondering in our own way. In these interviews, I read about grief, compassion, connection, deep listening, empathy, differences moving into commonalities...those skills we are all supposed to possess to be successful (and ethical) in our field.
I believe those ideas are correct. However, one thing I think we need to keep in mind is that, no matter how compassionate, open, etc., we are, the people who participated in the insurrection are, by definition, traitors. They were there, in the Capitol illegally, to disrupt the electoral process and overturn a fundamental tenet of the U.S. Constitution. This is not a political issue and trying to make it a Dem vs Republican issue denies the seriousness of what they did and turns our moral standing on its head. So yes, hear people out. Find out why they supported the previous administration. Learn about their pain. Work to make connections and bonds, even teach them history if need be. But if they believe that the insurrection was not wrong and refuse to believe it, we can't compromise. I can have empathy for someone who murders another. I can even develop a friendship with them, but that doesn't make them any less of a murderer. We can't let our vision for connection blur our knowledge of what happened.
Finally, I hear Teni-Ola very clearly. One of my great frustrations as a White woman interculturalist is hearing other White women talk about how they need to "do the work" on themselves. Yes, that has to be done. However, it's not an either/or proposition. One can learn about their own behaviors and drivers AND be taking concrete action. Teni-Ola is correct. There is NO excuse for anyone to not know what injustice looks like and how it impacts Black people (and IPOC). People are dying in the streets. As interculturalists, I hope we are doing our "awareness" work behind the scenes while we are working our butts off to create real sustainable change. It's time to move into action on all fronts.
Thank you very much for the question, the research, interviews, and article. This conversation is greatly appreciated.
- Marcella Simon: I am impressed that such diverse and influential professionals in the intercultural field took the time to answer my question that was asked even before the January 6th insurrection happened. Thank you to Chris for all your hard work! I would ask a follow-up question- knowing that MAGA people are largely motivated by social anxiety (fear of being replaced), how do we address that? What exact words do we use to open minds and hearts, if it can be done?
- Anonymous: I really appreciated the diverse perspectives on this topic. I would love to get Sofia's ten point plan! … Thank you for this thoughtful article on a topic that I hold near and dear to my heart.
How DEI Has Evolved Over 40 Years
By Lee Gardenswartz, Ph.D. and Anita Rowe, Ph.D.
- Anonymous: Although I've been in this field fewer years than both of you, I have to agree with your analysis 100%. It's what I've seen happen through the years in higher education.
As an aside, I wanted to pass on to you that I still use the 4 Layers of Diversity in the vast majority of my classes, even those that are not "DEI focused." (Stealth DEI, I call it.) Congratulations for developing a model that is so well-designed that even 25-ish years later, and in a field that is continuing to change, it is a valuable tool for us to use.
I hope SIETARians understand that as we talk about the "shoulders of giants" we all stand on, the two of you are right there. Thank you for what you've contributed and continue to contribute to our field.
- Anonymous: Thank you both for this thoughtful overview which is a valuable contribution. Thanks for all you do to make our world more inclusive and equitable.
- Anonymous: May he Rest In Peace knowing that his shoulders are big enough to stand on and stand on them we will to continue this important work. He was a pioneer. The world lost a force for good on February 7th. Sympathies to Donna and loved ones.
Saving Our Stuff
By Dr. Neal Goodman
- Anonymous: This can be a painful question / decision. As someone who loves a physical book or paper, I also realize that others, mostly younger generations, find books / papers to be a burden. And space can be an issue whether for an individual or an organization. Twice I have divested of collections: my linguistics and communication materials to a teachers' college in Wuhan when I left there in 1983 and my EFL / culture in language training library to the Ministry of Education when departing Costa Rica in 1992. Later I "inherited" intercultural books, some the earliest materials, and sent those off to the ICI library. In all cases I have learned that once out of my hands, I have to let go. For the materials that I have now and continue to add to, to learn from and to enjoy, I have no idea when I will release them and how.
State of the Society Report: 2020
By Sandra Fowler
- Anonymous: THANK YOU SANDY!!!
Please Crack the Foundation
By Ferial Pearson
- Anonymous: Ferial, Thank you for your work in this area. You were set up for failure by whoever sent out the notice without having you view it. I would not be surprised that some children were guided by their parents. Those children who responded positively should be encouraged to join a community organization committed to justice. They need a place to grow. As for the teachers, they should all be fired for being complicit. See how the Republicans just rewarded Scott for his vote against democracy. We have a long way to go. There are many more of us than them. Keep the faith in humanity. BTW- I was almost suspended from High School for wanting to read a simple poem about bias. The principal thought it would create a problem that did not exist in our HS. My mother (a lifelong Republican) came to my rescue. This was in 1963. Good luck, and stay courageous and safe.
- Anonymous: Dear Ferial, Thank you for sharing your story and I am terribly sorry for you having to deal with such a challenging situation. First and foremost, I would like you to know that you have all of my admiration and respect for what you do, and you and your family have all of my empathy and support. While I have experienced challenges and opportunities with discrimination and segregation throughout my personal life and professional career, I still consider myself to be new in the field of DEI. Based on my experience, I've been approached to facilitate programs addressing DEI, mostly from the Hispanic perspective. I welcome the opportunity to collaborate in any way possible and any input that I could get from you to be a strong ally in this field would be greatly appreciated. If there is any value that you can get from my input, please do not hesitate to reach out. You are not alone and we'll succeed in the end. Stay strong and stay safe!
Conference Connections: Recap of 2020 and Introducing 2021 Conference Chair
By Karen J Lokkesmoe, Ph.D.
- Anonymous: The film sounds very interesting. Perhaps do a Sietar webinar where everyone view the film and Dr. Fagan leads a discussion.
A Conference Chair’s Journey or Next Year in Omaha
By Deborah Orlowski
- Anonymous: My most sincere gratitude and appreciation for making the conference such a success. Many organizations took the tough decision to cancel or post-pone their events and many other who decided to host them virtually where far from being a success. What SIETAR USA managed to accomplish was a big hit in my book and I hope there were a lot of lessons learned along the way. We now know there is a capability to respond with agility in times of crisis, which is a reflection of good and strong organizations. Of course, I recognize there is room for improvement, so we are going in the right direction to creating best practices while encouraging others to step-up to the plate. Thank you and everyone at SIETAR USA who made the conference a possibility.