2. Deconstructing and Challenging Personal and Institutional Inequities: What Can We Do?

Session I:  July 10-12, 2019

In this national and global swing toward fear and defensiveness, social equity has come under increasing assault.  Many formerly complacent good people are now ready for action.  We can harness this passion, using our intercultural and diversity skills to help address both overt and hidden destructive inequities.  This course will help participants explore sources of inequities in personal attitudes and in social and institutional structures, and create strategies for change.  One of the biggest challenges is discerning inequities hidden by our habitual patterns of meaning-making, and increasingly by the normalization of justifications.  We will address the subliminal processes that support personal bias and collusion with systems of inequity, and explore ways to see through the veil of internal and social/cultural rhetoric created to cover and justify them.  We’ll examine inequities that arise from power differentials as well as cross-cultural and intercultural interactions, and surface various moral bases for assessing inequities.  Participants will deconstruct institutional, social and cultural structures that perpetuate inequities, decide on specific inequities they wish to challenge, and create interculturally informed plans for action.

Designed for

Educators, trainers, social activists and those who see opportunities to fight bias and injustice in themselves, their environments, and their institutions.

Workshop Objectives

You will have the opportunity to:

  • Develop awareness of the automatic thinking that helps shape biases and blind spots
  • Assess topics such as micro-aggressions and privilege, focusing on their role in creating and maintaining inequities, and on effective actions to challenge those inequities
  • Identify and examine various moral bases for defining inequities
  • Use a moral base to discern inequities disguised in familiar or unfamiliar cultural justifications
  • Examine and evaluate the effectiveness of different change strategies and potential unintended consequences of each
  • Develop a strategic plan of action for challenging a specific inequity in yourself and/or your environment/institution

Learning Activities

  • Explore a new approach to automatic thinking and apply it to create alternative thinking
  • Test the moral base you use for identifying inequities in the face of alternative value systems
  • Examine case studies and explicate the inequities revealed in them
  • Apply various change strategies to scenarios depicting inequities
  • Present an inequity existing in your environment and explain what justifications are used to maintain it
  • Partner to develop and share a plan you will implement in your life/environment/institution; defend it in the face of practical critique from the rest of the class
Louise Wilkinson intercultural communication barriers and solutions

Dr. Louise Wilkinson is an intercultural and leadership consultant for organizations, specializing in establishing links between diversity and inclusion, intercultural competence, and global leadership. She has conducted diversity workshops for nonprofits, higher education, and the private sector. Louise speaks and publishes on developing personal and organizational intercultural competence, including collaboration on “Developing and Implementing a Multicultural Vision” in Contemporary Leadership and Intercultural Competence. An award-winning film and video writer/producer/director, she has published articles on using film in intercultural education in The International Journal of Intercultural Relations, and The Journal of Media Literacy.

Carlos Cortés barriers to intercultural communication

Dr. Carlos Cortés is a professor emeritus of history at the University of California, Riverside; general editor of the recently published Multicultural America: A Multimedia Encyclopedia; and author of the memoir, Rose Hill: An Intermarriage Before Its Time. A recipient of the American Society for Training and Development’s National Multicultural Trainer of the Year Award, Carlos lectures throughout the world, including on cruise ships. He also serves on the faculties of the Harvard Institutes for Higher Education and the Federal Executive Institute. The creative/cultural advisor for Nickelodeon’s “Dora the Explorer” and “Go, Diego, Go!,” he also performs his one-person autobiographical play, A Conversation with Alana: One Boy’s Multicultural Rite of Passage.