This Week in Diversity: Culture Clashes

Another Friday, another batch of links relating to diversity and race.

The Horn Book has been host to a debate on risk-taking, trouble-making, and realism in YA novels with black protagonists. Teacher Lelac Almagor starts us out with an essay on books for black kids teaching them to stay out of trouble and author Sharon G. Flake follows it up with an essay on the value of those books . It’s interesting reading, and both essays reinforce the idea that we need more books for and about African American youth.

NPR brings us a piece on Edward Perkins, the first black ambassador to South Africa—appointed during apartheid. The story explains the political realities that led to Perkins’s appointment and include the ambassador’s own recollections on meeting with South Africa’s white president.

Diversity isn’t just about race and ethnicity, and culture can be defined many ways. The Home Fires blog at NYTimes.com brings us a fascinating essay on differences between military culture and civilian culture, and the difficulties of transitioning between cultures.

Speaking of transitioning between cultures, the Times Magazine brings us an article on an inner-city public boarding school in Washington DC. As sixth graders, the students left their neighborhoods for the enclosed, academically-focused environment of the school; every weekend, they return to their neighborhoods. The article explores the way the students experience differences in language, attitudes, and expectations on campus and off.

Come back and let us know what these articles have you thinking—we’d love to extend the conversation in comments thread.

Have a great weekend!

6 thoughts on “This Week in Diversity: Culture Clashes”

  1. “Diversity isn’t just about race and ethnicity, and culture can be defined many ways. The Home Fires blog at NYTimes.com brings us a fascinating essay on differences between military culture and civilian culture, and the difficulties of transitioning between cultures.”

    I look forward to reading this article as many of my friends are going through this with their families right now. Thanks for the links!

    peace,
    Donna

  2. But there is racism, past and present, to be defined and addressed, so while broadening definitions and views of culture is good and necessary, it shouldn’t be at the cost of sweeping real issues under the rug. Which is why the work you do at L & L matters.

  3. Uma, we certainly hope our books help take real issues of race and racism, which others have tried to sweep under the rug, and sweep them back out into the open where they can be thought about and discussed. And we couldn’t do it without authors like yourself—thank you for being part of that effort!

    I do think that talking about non-racial aspects of culture as well as racial ones can provide an important perspective. The more we talk about culture and diversity, the better we can understand it and the better future conversations can be.

  4. Before I went off to college. I had the opportunity to go off to the military world. There are many reasons why I did not. The military culture and prospect view is extremely scary to face. Yes I would be helping to save my country and be honored, however, the big piece that we tend to forget is the transition from the killing world to reality where killing is wrong. For years, we say that we should not murder or kill, which you take consequences of going to jail. But the question stands, why is military killing okay and the culture killing not? You are still taking a life and the difference between the two are beyond me. Somebody dying overseas and here is still an act of murder. The military and civilian culture are two different worlds that are given different rights. We are all created equal and should share the same rights. If you make military rights legal for murdering thousands of people then where is the balance in the civilian culture where murders are wrong.

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