“To the children yet unborn with the hope that we leave them a better world in which to grow.”
Yael Danieli – from her book, International Handbook of Multigenerational Trauma, 1998
It takes generations to undo the imprinting of an autocratic-despotic ideology. This is because the ideology becomes more than an opinion but rather an embedded belief that imprints the mind, heart and spirit of generations of adults, and lamentably, the children.
No citizen wants to wake up realizing they were lied to and used. No citizen wants to believe that their leaders were corrupt. No citizen wants to admit that the ideology they believed in – mind and heart – was fraudulent to the core.
This is the legacy and ashes that Republican Trumpism will leave behind. For many followers of Republican Trumpism, it will become impossible to come to terms that they were used and abused as commodities by one man and a party.
This is why we continue to hear the desperate screams from Republican Trumpism leaders, allies and supporters that deny the undeniable and defend the indefensible.
Nevertheless, this is the deafening reality that awaits the allies, enablers and supporters of Republican Trumpism . . . and their children.
It seems that we, as Americans, have developed a template to follow each time we hear about an act of Domestic Terrorism. It has become a metanarrative – our overarching story to the world and our children. It has become our national brand.
A methodical study of Diversity would require at least several lifetimes in order to delve into its history, content, contexts and genres. Throughout the ages, Diversity has been examined by countless academicians, scholars, scientists, anthropologists, social scientists and historians. Each field probing and dissecting definitions and meanings – and yet – to most of us, it remains an enigma. The Diversity Literacy Galaxy Model is a humble attempt to extend the conversation on Diversity and remains a work in progress.
Conversations on Diversity remain provocative, uncomfortable and exasperating. At times deciding to not engage or walk away from the dialog frustrated without a sense of compromise and understanding.
Hopefully, Diversity-Threads.com and the Diversity Literacy Galaxy Model provides confidence to enter the challenging space of civil discourse on Diversity by providing knowledge, language, references and context. Ignorance, on any level, limits awareness and understanding. It blocks opportunities for significant introspection, personal growth and change.
Diversity is depicted in the model as a galaxy because of the immense dimensions of the universe, with galaxies, planets and moons connected, dependent and changing.
Likewise, humanity and the human condition is as highly complex, multifaceted, multi-dependent, diverse and is constantly changing.
The model is divided into 5 sections in order to provide a sense of the depth and breadth of Diversity’s magnitude – of its complexity – of the connected and intersecting threads and layers.
The major elements and influences are:
Social-Cultural Identifiers from the “ID Entity” Perspective
Knowledge Bases and Lenses – Validity and Credibility
Socializing Agencies – Social Curricula
Social Constructs, Concepts, Ideologies, Phobias, Isms
You are invited to journey to each one of the galaxies and planets orbiting Diversity and its Literacy.
For far too . . . too . . . too long . . . People of Color have been trying to educate WHITE PEOPLE on the legacy, complexities and intersectionalities regarding the ideology of racism. Such efforts often falling on deaf ears and teflon hearts because the academicians, educators, facilitators, activists happen to be African Americans, Latinas/os, Asian, Native American, immigrant or non-Christian. It’s been historically an ironic and exhausting weight to bear – that is – trying to define, explain, clarify, educate and reach out to WHITE PEOPLE for awareness and reflection on our communal humanity.
Such efforts often defined by WHITE FOLK as one of those “others-them” trying to blame, bash and shame WHITE PEOPLE. Racism (overt, covert, adverse by the well intended) simply white washed – not needing prioritization – not connected to delusions of entitlement, privilege, power and control . . . or even citizenship.
We know that the soci0-cultural pathology of fear and hate does not stop with race, but comes from the same cesspool of sexism, homophobia and xenophobia.
I have always posited that America will not turn the corner on racism until WHITE PEOPLE begin to openly and courageously take a civil literate stand against WHITE PEOPLE who radicalize and normalize the rhetoric of hate, -isms, phobias and division.
Senator Mallory McMorrow (Michigan 13th District) is one of those WHITE PEOPLE who courageously and eloquently rebuked, not only her WHITE colleague, but all WHITE PEOPLE who follow the Republican Trumpism ideology of fear and hate.
The tone and impact of the message is critically different when the rebuke is WHITE on WHITE. America has been waiting . . . and now turning the corner . . .
Say YES!to a Democracy that thirsts and hungers for local and national politicians and citizens with backbones dedicated to being agents of change that prioritize and enhance the quality of life for all Americans – without exceptions – and who will protect the earth with courage, reverence and respect. Say YES! with each vote in the 21st Century . . .
YES!to moral leadership . . . YES! to elect Americans who have demonstrated honesty – trustworthiness – credibility, seek consensus-collaboration, willing to make selfless tough choices for the greater good . . . YES! to critical thinking and pedagogy . . . YES! to science and validated knowledge bases . . . YES! to pursuing the truth in all things and ways . . . YES! to a free press . . . YES! to family members, community, workplaces, schools, religious sects being proactive against white supremacy, domestic terrorism, hate crimes, racism, sexism and xenophobia . . . YES! to a national socio-cultural curriculum promoting social justice, equity and inclusivity . . . YES! to researching and teaching the truth about America’s history without fear, revisions, excuses and denials . . . YES! to the rule of law without exceptions YES! to a Capitalism that views all citizens ethically and fairly as stakeholders for human progress, opportunities of worth and common interests . . . YES! to appealing to the young to change America’s future for the better . . . YES! to voting with a ‘conscious conscience’ . . . empathy . . . compassion for all who remain voiceless and invisible YES! to America’s Democracy that thirsts and hungers for mindfulness, wellness, soundness and sanity . . .
Out Town is a poignant three-act play by American playwright Thorton Wilder. It was written in 1938 about American citizens living in Grover’s Corners (a fictional town in New Hampshire near Massachusetts) between 1901-1913.
While the town is imagined, the play often reminds me of America today. That is, what we as Americans tend to identify as “normal folks” going about our “normal business”, slightly invested in each other by way of generalities, heresay, innuendos, rumors and accusations about the lives of others. At the end of Act One, Wilder* brings home – to our very doorsteps, the limitations of viewing the world through a peephole.
End of Act One:
Rebecca: I never told you about the letter Jane Crofut got from her minister when she was sick. He wrote Jane a letter and on the envelope that address was like this: Jane Crofut; The Crofut Farm; Grover’s Corners; Sutton County: New Hampshire; United Stated of America.George: What’s funny about that?Rebecca: But listen, it’s not finished: the United States of America, Continent of North America: Western Hemisphere: the Earth; the Solar System; the Universe: the Mind of God - that’s what it said on the envelope. George: What do you know?Rebecca: And the postman brought it just the same.George: What do you know!Stage Manager: That’s the end of the First Act, friends. You can go and smoke now, those that smoke. * Author: Thorton Wilder Our Town - Play in Three Acts - 1938 & 1965 HarperCollins Publishers
Open-mindedness, benevolent attitudes and inclusivity are not guaranteed to be taught, mentored and learned as members of a family, school, native region, religious sect or as member of a profession. In 1938 or 2022, knowledge, transparency and veracity are lethal to racism, sexism, xenophobia and narrow-mindedness.
This is why it is wise to often examine how we were raised, schooled and influenced throughout our crucial developmental years when the formation of thinking, language, attitudes, values and predispositions were imprinted regarding identity, difference and otherness. To occupy an unexamined space and time by choice with absolute notions of righteousness, in one small corner of the earth, is to not live but merely exist and perish without significance.
It’s at the very end of the play that the Stage Manager is asked by the ghost of 12 year old Emily if anyone truly understands the value of life while they live it, he responds, “No. The saints and poets, maybe – they do some.”
Emily returns to her grave next to Mrs. Gibbs and watches impassively as George kneels weeping over her. The Stage Manager concludes the play and wishes the audience a good night. And so each of us return to our towns . . . major lenses of how we view each other and the world we walk upon. Our towns . . . molding and framing our humanity.
It is excruciatingly painful to realize that despotic “Strong Men” around the world and their enablers continue to live in the 20th century.
Two major examples are the insurrection attempt by Republican Trumpism on Washington DC and the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Both are major attempts by draconian “Strong Men” meant to destroy Democracy by brutal force. The Washington insurgency is America’s wake-up call that Autocracy and Totalitarianism are not just words defined in the past tense.
With the invasion of Ukraine, the world is now soberly awake to the fact that narcissistic “Strong Men” living in the 20th century, continue to capriciously and tyrannically open Pandora’s Box of evilness for absolute control of political power, delusions of grandeur and financial aggrandizement.
Both attacks were grave miscalculations causing “needless suffering” – a trademark of fascism – always leaving ashes behind. This has been history’s lesson all along – unfortunately not learned, heeded nor respected.
Yet again . . . this is why EACH VOTE MATTERS beyond low gas prices, inflation, tax breaks, Wall Street and easy access to purchase AR-15 rifles with a 60 round magazines. We must be better than living a self-serving existence where “You’re not the boss of me!” and “Don’t tread on me!” negates civility, decency, rights of others, tolerance and compassion.
EACH VOTE MATTERS – be it for school board member, police chief, attorney general, mayor . . . each local, state and federal position and agency matters . . . because the quality of life of all children matters . . . the rule of law matters . . . social justice matters . . . awareness and respect for the human condition matters . . . citizenship beyond self matters . . . truth and credibility matter . . . the principles of Democracy matter.
Regardless of contrived political obstructions . . . crawl through barbed wire if need be . . . but VOTE . . . in the 21st century.
“You are a light. You are the light. Never let anyone—any person or any force—dampen, dim or diminish your light. Study the path of others to make your way easier and more abundant. Lean toward the whispers of your own heart, discover the universal truth, and follow its dictates. […] Release the need to hate, to harbor division, and the enticement of revenge. Release all bitterness. Hold only love, only peace in your heart, knowing that the battle of good to overcome evil is already won. Choose confrontation wisely, but when it is your time don’t be afraid to stand up, speak up, and speak out against injustice. And if you follow your truth down the road to peace and the affirmation of love, if you shine like a beacon for all to see, then the poetry of all the great dreamers and philosophers is yours to manifest in a nation, a world community, and a Beloved Community that is finally at peace with itself.”
On this annual day of commemoration, I join many families that will pause to honor the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and millions of other victims of Nazism. With each life lost, daughters, sons and grandchildren are left to bear the grief and the multigenerational and intergenerational trauma. My dad’s family were victims of Nazism in Poland, but fortunately he was spared the horror. As a young man, he fled to America which became his second home that provided life from the ashes. It is with honor and lasting love that I remember him.
The study and work on Diversity demands constant review because it is ever morphing. The “work” is always in progress being refined and amplified with new knowledge, high definition socio-cultural critical lenses and invaluable unearthed counterstories. Rereading and remembering is part of that process. Knowledge requires updating, going back to those watershed books, articles and illuminating poems that linger hovering over meaning – calling to be reread – rethought. One word – one phrase written long ago can unleash new meaning in the 21st Century. I was in my 20s when I first read Storni’s poems. At the time they spoke in a limited voice – the only one I could hear. Now, some 50 years later, Storni continues to teach awareness with an honesty and audacity that exposes modern day paternalism, sexism and toxic masculinity. There is no ambiguity in the verses she wrote on gender equity during a time of emerging “strong men” and authoritarianism. Among such forces and often standing alone among her peers, she had the courage to oppose machoism, chauvinism and the double standards suppressed on women. “Tú Me Quieres Blanca” (“You Who Want Me White”) is one of those poems that transcends time, reminding of the connections and intersectionalities of Diversity – then and now. That is what stellar writing should do . . . as Martin Espada reminds, “Poetry records a time like this for future generations who want to know about a time like this in terms of the five senses, and in terms of the soul.”