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Expert Webinar Series: Diversity and Bias Thinking

6/17/2020 Expert Webinar Series:
Diversity and Bias Thinking
Answers to Unanswered Questions Asked During Webinar

 

1. Hand-picking two cases to address bias in the criminal justice system doesn’t seem to pass the OUCH Test. Is there existing research to support your argument?

  • Marcus LeGrand: Keep digging…I think the DOJ has articles related the topic and the Stanford New (the link I provided) has data about Criminal Justices as well
  • Erika McCalpine: There are MANY instances of bias in the criminal justice system. Also, the OUCH test is related to hiring practices which I covered in detail. Here is a book that talks about this: Reiman, J. H. (1996). –and the Poor Get Prison: Economic Bias in American Criminal Justice. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. You can also go to Amazon books, or wherever you buy your books and search on the topic. If you are truly looking for information, you will find it. Also, search the topic on https://scholar.google.com/ will also yield decade’s worth of research to scientifically show what the facts of the two cases I compared didn’t seem to point out to you. I also recommend exploring why those two cases were a trigger. Both of them happened and there are many, many others. I only stated facts about the cases.

2. What are some best practices for using inclusive language in job postings?

  • Marcus LeGrand: Be upfront with language, bilingual, say POC’s but in a legal way, mention equity, mention cultural components to attach POC’s
  • Erika McCalpine: Mainly, you have to make sure that there isn’t language that alienates certain populations from applying. Avoid describing the location or demographics therein if you are trying to attract diversity. People will learn more about the area if they make to the point of visiting or through doing their own research. You want to attract as many applicants as possible to your pool.

3. What’s the best way to confront a co-worker who is stuck in the “I don’t see color” phase?

  • Marcus LeGrand: Have your colleague view “I’m not your Negro”, in the documentary James Baldwin discusses color as a made up construct to separate.
  • Erika McCalpine: It depends on the rules of your employer. You don’t want that employee to feel you are harassing them or trying to force your views on them. If you have a personal relationship, I agree with Marcus’s suggestion. If not, tread lightly. People can’t be forced to grow. They have to want to.

4. What would be your suggestions on where to start with a training for leaders around this topic if a company that does not see any issues?

  • Erika McCalpine: If the company doesn’t see issues, then it will be hard to get them to agree to training. Perhaps try to get them to take an assessment to show the problems that exist within the organization. It is hard to argue with data.

5. Can you talk a little about the differentiation between allyship, advocacy, and being an accomplice against racism and bias?

  • Marcus LeGrand: For me, allyship is an alliance to fight for change and accomplice is more of a bystander role. If that makes sense?
  • Erika McCalpine: For this one, I would challenge you to research these terms and determine what they mean for you.

6. Thank you for the wonderful presentation, Erika. How does a community like Central Oregon embrace diversity when there are such strong economic factors limiting where people can afford to live? How do we make the W side of Bend look like neighborhoods in Redmond, Madras, Prineville that have working-class, diverse populations? How do we bust the Bend bubble?

  • Marcus LeGrand: That bubble is actually concrete, personally i think we need target undeveloped or distressed areas. For example, the city and the chamber can work together find locations to build the necessary housing for young professionals. Once they been here a while and have equity. As they increase their self-worth, then other professionals can move in
  • Erika McCalpine: I don’t believe that the bubble exists only on the Westside of town. Bend is a bubble. There is not one area of this town that is the bad area. That is a privilege for all of us that live here. We also can’t knock people for having money. They have worked for it or can’t help that their parents had it. However, we can challenge them if they act elitist or feel they are better than anyone else. There are also plenty of people that move to Bend because it is cheaper than where they currently live.

7. At Bend Park and Recreation we are looking at a entering a comprehensive review of DEI that will lead to meaningful change. Given the complexity of this topic, how would you recommend we get started on such an initiative?

  • Marcus LeGrand: Initially I would say look at your current policies/culture around DEI and tear it apart. Then reach out to local DEI avengers and figure out ways to build it what is necessary, but you must have input for all aspects of your organization
  • Erika McCalpine: Marcus’s comment about DEI avengers made me laugh. However, this is work that needs to be done by a consultant or perhaps the HR person within your organization. It is tough for people within an organization to see the cultural problems within. A simple step is to find a DEI assessment online and everyone in the organization can take it. Based on that data, determine how much of a deep dive your organization needs.

8. Do you offer this same training and discussion to other local agencies to make sure that these important conversations can be brought to different organizations?

  • Erika McCalpine: Yes, I do this work on a case by case basis. If I can’t do it, I will recommend another entity/person to do the same quality of work that I would.

9. I’d like to get more POC on our nonprofit board for the youth in CO. Our organization focuses on all youth. If Erika mentioned she couldn’t find POC when she arrived, how do we recruit board members to accommodate inclusivity to our organization’s board?

  • Marcus LeGrand: I would say reach out to any us and we can hopefully give you a few names
  • Erika McCalpine: This one is tricky. I don’t advise having a person on your board just becasue they are diverse. You want board members that have something to contribute to your business or organization. People bring time, treasure or talent to board service. If you can find a diverse person with a few or all of those attributes, then by all means recruit them.

10. Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life that many times PWIs recruit a person of color to be the face of diversity for the institution, but often times leadership becomes a brick wall against any sort of true challenges to what was described as Liberation. Basically, here in Central Oregon, do we risk obscuring racism by institutionalizing the idea of diversity?

  • Erika McCalpine: I would have to ask some other questions to learn why you think diversity is being institutionalized in Central Oregon. Please email me at erika.mccalpine@osucascades.edu to continue this conversation. Happy to have it!

11. How can Bend’s schools prepare their white students, who have little opportunity to experience other cultures than their own, to enter a 21st century world that is increasing multicultural, especially when they leave Central Oregon for educational and employment opportunities?

  • Marcus LeGrand: This is Marcus, (not answering for Erika) invite the caretakers of the culture to be a part of the schools. Through celebrations and traditions, advocate for schools to teach a diverse curriculum, have POC’s teach electives or leadership courses, have students work with POC affinity groups to discuss various topics
  • Erika McCalpine: I think this could be achieved with exposing children to culture through books they read, movies they watch and field trips. Also, parents/families hold some responsibility here too.

12. Is there a social justice group in Prineville that already exists for allies and addresses racism and racial justice?

  • Marcus LeGrand: People are in the process of working with Prineville and reaching out to the POC’s to engage and gauge their concerns
  • Erika McCalpine: I have no knowledge of the resources that are available in Prineville.

13. How do you recommend addressing management within an organization who may not be open to discussing biases?

  • Marcus LeGrand: Gather as many advocates in your company (especially HR) to review your current culture. Then go as a united front instead of you being left on an island fighting it alone.
  • Erika McCalpine: I agree with Marcus on this one. Another step is doing an organizational assessment. It will show the biases that are present. It is hard to ignore data.

14. What is the best way to educate your children about diversity and give them opportunities to experience other cultures in a white majority central Oregon.

  • Erika McCalpine: There is a similar question above, please see that answer. However, there are TONS of children’s books about diversity and historically prominent Black people. Even though your kids may not see many Black people, they can be exposed to many different cultures through books. It does take effort for parents in a place like Central Oregon.

15. How do we as communities of color advance the conversation from Diversity and Inclusion in our organizations and community to shift power dynamics and build our own power?

  • Marcus LeGrand: One, when there are openings flood the applicant pool with qualified candidates. Two, gather as many advocates in your organization to review hiring practices, company culture, etc…Finally, have the advertise and vet applicants differently to have a diverse pool of candidates.
  • Erika McCalpine: Build our own power….that is an important statement. However, is it the world we currently live in? We have to navigate the spaces we are currently in and then think about how to work together to build our own power. I have found that the “working together” piece is what is difficult. I have been criticized a lot for doing this work the way I do and not “calling out white supremacy”. Is that productive or is it just tearing down a woman of color that is trying to make progress? We have to figure out how to work together.

16. What are the panelists’ community goals for diversity in Central Oregon?

  • Marcus LeGrand: For me. Work with as many organizations as possible who have shown interest in developing a diverse culture. Integrate diverse curriculum in as many schools in CO as possible, and create a youth leadership program to teach students diversity.
  •  Erika McCalpine: I just want people in Central Oregon to acknowledge that BIPOCs are here and that we are important contributors to this community. I’m happy to educate people on as many concepts as I can related to diversity, equity and inclusion because I think a lot of people here just haven’t had exposure to BIPOCs to know something other than what they see on television. We are so very much more.

17. A close black friend of mine recently described to me the concept of a “white space” conversation, which was a conversation that he felt needed to be had between white people rather than becoming involved as a black person. If there’s an opportunity to ask a black friend for their opinion in a conversation concerning race or their experiences as a black person, are there contexts in which it’s inappropriate to do so?

  • Marcus LeGrand: Ask, but get permission first and let them know what you want to discuss. Be mindful you may get some anger and don’t take it personal. If you are giving them room to express, acknowledge it and all them to be vulnerable
  • Erika McCalpine: YES! I encourage dialogue. If a person is truly your friend, they will want you to know and understand them/their culture. I have dialogue all the time with my white friends. I learn from them and they learn from me. However, right now, your friend could be feeling a bit of exhaustion, so it might be best to ask. Some of us are more open than others. I’m always open, so let me know if you have any questions! erika.mccalpine@osucascades.edu

18. Is it possible to go overboard on supporting this movement? I want to talk about it with everyone, and I want to write BLM on my mask for work, and post about and talk about all of the facts, and injustices. I just want people to see it and to think about it. When is it too much?

  • Erika McCalpine: It is too much if you think it is too much or that this can be talked about too much. I don’t think these issues should lose traction. We have to keep talking about them, reading about them, etc. until something changes.

19. Can anyone elaborate on cultural appropriation a bit more? Erika mentioned a couple of examples that are widely accepted as inappropriate and offensive. Americans have adopted so many things from various cultures – how can we tell this difference between what is offensive/cultural appropriation and what isn’t? A couple examples that come to mind are white people who have dreads, or white people who practice yoga.

  • Marcus LeGrand: Cultural appropriation is a tough one and like i tell all my white friends, tread lightly. Be mindful, be considerate, and most all understand all people will approach this topic differently. For example, my kids hair, don’t just touch it or ask unless i give you permission.
  • Erika McCalpine: It isn’t about understanding everything that could be considered cultural appropriation. It is about not doing any of those things yourself.

20. What kind of other information on a job application can unconsciously influence an interviewer or decision maker in a job applicant?

  • Marcus LeGrand: Minority organizational affiliations, ethnic sounding names, HBCUs or Historical Black Colleges and Universities

21. When you talk about speaking to our families first, what would your suggestion be for family or friends that turn the movement into a political problem? How can we deflate the debate about left or right wing people acting one way or another and make it specific to the injustices the black community faces?

  • Marcus LeGrand: Establish ground rules upfront for the discussion, have examples based on facts and continue to stay in the guidelines, and challenge them do more research to be informed
  • Erika McCalpine: Well, it is hard to discuss the current movement without discussing how policy and voting impacts communities of color. It matters very much who is in office and how they execute or don’t execute policy decision.

22. My only Black friend I have in Bend is Erika. How do I find other BIPOC in this community that I can have the dialogs needed for my education as well as my educating others?

  • Erika McCalpine: This will take some effort. By going to events or getting involved in community organizations, you can meet other people. It took effort for me to make Black friends myself.

23. I’m a mixed POC and was recently hired to a managerial position. There are no other POC on my team. I haven’t felt or had any issues with this fact, but I wonder are there things to keep in mind or be aware of because of this situation? Is there anything I should prepare for?

  • Marcus LeGrand: In both case studies, they do a good job or illustrating possible pitfalls. And the link i provided from Stanford News has three articles that discuss being managers in predominate white companies. Finally, read Black Faces in White Places, has a list of dynamics for you to explore
  • Erika McCalpine: I am the only Black faculty member on my campus. If you feel that something is being said or done because of your race, then don’t let it slide. It is important to call out organizational culture issues that would allow that behavior. However, if you haven’t had any issues, it is likely you won’t. No need to look for a problem that isn’t there.

24. And how to avoid performative activism?

  • Erika McCalpine: How does one know whose activism is performative? The only people we can control are ourselves. As long as you are doing what you are from an authentic place, then don’t worry about what other people are doing. If they are performative, then they won’t be activists for long. Also, it is important to note that everyone that protests is trying to be an activist.

25. What advice would you give K-12 educators?

  • Marcus LeGrand: Advocate, Advocate, Advocate for cultural curriculum, invite guest speakers, have discussion groups with POC’s students to gain their insight, think outside the standards.

26. Can you share with us your perspectives on how to remove barriers and support people of color to leadership positions in our community?

  • Marcus LeGrand: As stated in the case study, “The Best of Intentions” many POC candidates perform better than others if put to adverse situation. But you must support them through the possible, mentor them, challenge them and most all give them an actually shot for perform.
  • Erika McCalpine: There are some people of color in leadership positions. Unless you are suggesting politics, which is a different conversation.

27. Are there ideas or thoughts on the conversations benefit from removing the word race, which continues division, and focus on variety of cultures and heritages of one human race.

  • Erika McCalpine: Removing race is like saying “I don’t see color”. The word race is not what caused or continues division. It is the fact that all people aren’t treated equitably in many systems. As long as people don’t view each other as the same or human, then there won’t be “one human race”.

28. As a WOC, living and working here in Central Oregon and owning a business, I have endless stories to tell about racism, bias, and even sexual harassment in the workplace. I have at every turn taken the necessary steps to let “leadership” know. As long as these systems of hierarchy exist, and white supremacy in leadership, how else do we get Central Oregon to wake up to our realities we experience here? In what actionable ways can white allies step in to do something about this?

  • Erika McCalpine: With the workplace situation, there are laws that protect against discrimination and harassment. Report every instance to HR and keep a written journal at home of every issue with as much detail as possible. It will help if you have to report the complaint to the EEOC, or seek an attorney. The only way CO will know what is happening is if BIPOCs tell their stories. White allies have to learn what covert racism looks like so they can spot it, and say something when they see something.

29. Is there an opportunity to provide (or create if it doesn’t exist) a youth focused curriculum about culture and diversity? I feel like living in a community with smaller numbers of POC, children are not getting the conversations that you mentioned at home as many of the parents may not know what to say or teach. Also, a course that parents can take to learn more about how to have these serious conversations with their children.

  • Marcus LeGrand: I’m working on that as we speak. Next, if you are a parent of a POC and you have a group of people in the same category, don’t be afraid to reach to me so we can discuss ideas
  • Erika McCalpine: I would raise this concern at your child’s school with teachers and administrators. I would also voice the concern to the school board. Without them noticing and caring about their students of color, they won’t make any real, lasting change.

30. I was taught selective/watered down history which ignored our state’s own racial history. What can we do to hold school boards accountable with their curriculum and address systemic racism in k-12 education?

  • Marcus LeGrand: No better time than the present to use your department heads at your school to work with administrators to make it happen. Unless that approval goes through the District office. Question, can you use guest speakers to fill those gaps?
  • Erika McCalpine: I would raise this concern at your child’s school with teachers and administrators. I would also voice the concern to the school board. Without them noticing and caring about their students of color, they won’t make any real, lasting change.

31. If you’re white and you’re in a meeting and you think a person of color is being treated unfairly because of implicit bias, what should you do?

  • Marcus LeGrand: The case study, “The Best Intentions”, gives a great way to engage the person being discriminatory and the POC.
  • Erika McCalpine: When you see something say something. Perhaps not in the meeting, but have a conversation with the person that is mistreating the person of color. The other case, “Was that Harrassment?” speaks more to how to handle something when it offends you.

32. What if you continually call out a near family member- however they remain in their ways- not likely to change while on earth? You know it should not be tolerated- though love them and do not want to continually strain the relationship?

  • Marcus LeGrand: Depending on your relations to them, i’m of ideal of “why continue pulling air into a dead relationship”. Now if they are someone close, let them know the rules of engagement and stick to the guidelines, plus challenge them to do more research

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