Risha Talks: A divided America can come together, but it takes understanding and conversations

by | Jan 22, 2018 | Blog

As I travel the country speaking and training regarding diversity, inclusion and bias for corporations and schools, I get firsthand knowledge of how people are trying to deal with issues of diversity in their communities and workplaces.

Guess what? It’s the same everywhere.

I sat down today with the chief goal of writing a column about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and how his contributions made America a better country, and then I thought about the last year.

It started with the Women’s March on Washington in protest of our new president. Then there were NFL players kneeling during the national anthem. Next were protests that turned violent regarding a South Dakota pipeline’s interruption of Native Americans’ sacred land. There was the removal of Confederate statues in Charlottesville, Virginia.

There were seemingly constant police shootings of unarmed black men. We had a long list of entertainment and news powerhouse predators who sexually harassed many women striving to work in the entertainment industry. There were pay disparities for women, and all the hashtag campaigns — such as #METOO, #TIMESUP and #OSCARSSOWHITE.

And in the week before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, there were these headlines: “Trump Slams Protections from Immigrants from S—hole Countries” and “Warner Employees Accused of Making Racial Slurs Resign.”

From all categories of diversity — race/ethnicity, religion, sexuality, gender, age, physical ability, veteran status and socio-economic — I have embraced the raw outrage, hurt, despondency, confusion and frustration felt by so many on both sides of the issues. It’s as if everyone is desperately saying: “You don’t understand me.”

Read more in Tulsa World. 

The Tulsa World is launching a new monthly column by Risha Grant, who runs Diversity & Inclusion communications and consulting. She is the author of the book “That’s BS! How Bias Synapse Disrupts Inclusive Cultures.” Grant, who grew up in Sapulpa and lives in Tulsa, has conducted seminars locally and nationally and has focused on people of all races confronting their biases. 

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