Sunday, July 24, 2016

Moving Diversity Forward

Moving Diversity Forward

Adult nonfiction
Verna A. Myers' Moving Diversity Forward: How To Go From Well-
Meaning To Well-Being certainly reinforced my habit of giving a book a
chance. The size and title looked suspiciously like those of volumes
that take cook book formula approaches to solving complex problems.
The American Bar Association logo on the bottom said this has nothing
to do with me. But when I flipped through the book at the Orono
Public Library and saw how wrong I was, I checked it out and started
reading as soon as I got home.
What I like the most about the book is that Myers perceives and
addresses her readers as complex human beings with multi faceted
identities. Politicians, media, and a lot of others peg us by only
one facet: blacks, whites, men, women, the rich, the poor, the
elderly, and, the one we'll hear too often in the coming months,
Republicans and Democrats. Myers gets that any one of us is a mix of
those and so many more.
Myers urges readers to dig beyond what we think we know to look
at concepts and practices embedded deeply enough to become invisible
to us. White privilege is a prime example. Even if we aren't racist
white people will accrue unasked for advantages from birth on. I was
very aware of this when I had a high school age son. Other perfectly
wonderful boys ran the risk of being shot by police officers just for
going to the store for a snack.
Myers sees any individual as somewhere on a journey in regard to
"racial and cultural awareness and skills." No one gets it perfect;
most people are not beyond hope. Wherever you are, reading Moving
Diversity Forward can give you insights and strategies to keep you
moving in the right direction.
On a personal note, one of the best things about living near UMaine is
the cultural diversity. The Multicultural Center and International
Students Association have great events, discussions about racial and
cultural issues, and spaces to hang out with people from other
places. Right now the Young African Leaders are Here for three
weeks. I have been able to make friends with Ema who will keep in
touch when she goes back to Nigeria. I so look forward to getting to
know her better and learning more about her culture.
A great big shout out goes out to Myers for this thought provoking
book. I hope someday she makes it to Penobscot County, Maine. I
would surely like to converse with her.
jules hathaway

Sent from my iPod

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