April 14th, 2016 | Categories: Uncategorized

The other day my daughter and son had a fight. Sometimes when kids (and adults) fight it is hard to say who is right and who is wrong. Sometimes both are right. sometimes both are wrong. Sometimes it seems like only one of the two people is always right and sometimes it seems the other one of the two people is always wrong. In other words, there is every combination of right and wrong in an argument.

So my two kids are having a fight.  I intervene and ask them their sides of the story. As I listen, I am trying to demonstrate neutrality and understand the situation from both perspectives. At some point it comes out that my daughter intentionally threw something at my son that hit him in the face. Now up until this point I was siding with my daughter, albeit in my head. This, throwing thing, however, is inappropriate no matter who was right.

Hitting/ throwing/ kicking/ hurting is not okay. No matter what the scenario.

So I stop the entire discussion and make my daughter apologize. I tell her it was not okay to do that. She keeps trying to add the word “but” after her apology. “I am sorry but. . . ” I stop her three times and explain ultimately that regardless of anything else, what she did was wrong and she needs to acknowledge that in itself, on its own merit, for that single reason without qualification.

She understood. She apologized. After that, we settled the argument and moved on with our lives.

We all can take a lesson from this 8 year old girl.

There are some things we might do that are just wrong on their own merit. They are not wrong because x,y,z. they are not kind of wrong. they are not sometimes wrong. they are just wrong.

Overt sexism, racism, ageism, heterosexism, and so forth in the form of slurs or ethnophaulisms, offensive terms all around, are just wrong (so is the more subtle stuff but that’s another blog and, frankly, the topic of my book The Communicated Stereotype).

When someone says a slur they should be told they have done so, made to apologize if they haven’t of there own accord, and then they and everyone else can move on with their lives.

And acknowledgment of these slurs should not be followed with “but” to explain why the slur is said. There is no reason that justifies it. They should not be followed by explanation of defense as to who said it. there is no rational for anyone to say them.

Calling someone a Corporate Democratic Whores is clearly offensive.

Both Dr. Paul Song, who said the statement, and Bernie Sanders said it was an “insensitive” comment. Insensitive is when something is actually true but you use a euphemism to make it sound better because it is a sensitive topic and you don’t want to make someone feel bad or uncomfortable. Calling someone a “whore” does not count in that category. That’s tacking on a “but” to the apology. It’s like saying it was wrong to say, but it’s really true.

Dr. Song said he meant members of congress instead of Hillary. That’s an excuse, another “but” added on to the apology. But the word itself should never have been used in that context at all. No “but.”

Bernie supporters say it wasn’t Bernie who said it and at least he apologized. That’s a day late and a dollar short for me. Saying it wasn’t Bernie who said it is another “but.” It’s like saying yes, that was wrong, but it wasn’t Bernie’s mouth it came out of so it doesn’t really matter.

Using the word “whore” was offensive on its own and invokes ideas of slut shaming that have actual tangible consequences for women psychologically, physically, and emotionally. It’s a stereotype. It’s offensive. It was said to be intentionally hurtful and derogatory. It’s inappropriate. It should never have been said. It certainly should never have been said in front of thousands of people who may never know that an apology was ever made. Thousands of people who cheered when Dr. Song said it.

If my daughter can come to realize that some things deserve to have an apology on their own, without any “but,” then anyone can. The “whore” comment deserved and deserves acknowledgement as an offensive act on its own, not followed by a “but” from anyone.

 

 

 

 

April 10th, 2016 | Categories: Uncategorized

In a recent conversation the idea came up that minority students, particularly Blacks and Hispanics, earn extra points on the SAT’s by virtue of indicating their racial identity. I dismissed the idea as not relevant to information I immediately needed to be aware of and moved on with the discussion as those around me wished to proceed which was on the basis that this idea was indeed true. I did this for three reasons. 1) My children are far from the age to worry about  the SAT’s. 2)  I do not have any knowledge on the topic myself with which to disprove the idea at the time though I was incredulous. 3) I have a deadline for a huge project, actually my fourth book, and with the deadline five days away time is not my friend and looking up extraneous information from what I need to focus on is not high on my agenda.

In an entirely unrelated search for information, I came across this assertion again online. Although not relevant to my immediate need for the book project, I thought I would take the opportunity to follow the footprints to see where they would take me. I had a designated amount of time in my head of how long I would allot to this pit-stop.

So there is plenty of information about SAT scores and minorities. But the most immediate hits from this type of search yields two types of sources.

1) Sources that discuss the score disparity on the SAT for minorities and discusses why it exists, how it has changed over time, and what still can be done to change it. These articles are from places like PBS and Inside Higher Ed.

2) Sources that discuss the bonus points that minority students of color receive or that highlight the point deductions that Asian students are subject to on the SAT’s. These articles are from places like The Conservative Treehouse and The Daily Stormer (self-described as an alt-right website with a symbol that looks an awful lot like a lightly veiled swastika and so I will not provide the link).

So I always like to go to the source of the research. As a researcher whose gone through a doctoral program I have a slight advantage over others who have not had these years of experience. However, if it walks like a duck, sounds like a duck, and looks like a duck, regardless of whether you have training as a veterinarian you can probably figure out it’s a duck.

duck doctor

 

Red flag # 1 The clearly partisan nature of the URL’s for the sites.

Red flag #2 The four articles I read all discussed the same single study.

Red flag # 3 All the articles referred to a loosely named “Princeton University Study” without reference to any researchers, research institutes, journals that published the study, or title of the study.

Red flag # 4 No article linked to the actual study.

Red flag #5 The links that were provided were to other articles which made the same claims.

Red flag #6 The articles cited the same chunk of text (or paraphrased) without indication of where the actual text came from except that it is from a powerpoint presentation from someone named Ann Lee. The original article, from the Los Angeles Times, seems to be the first to discuss the powerpoint presentation and is linked to and/or cited by by the others.  A seemingly legitimate (unbiased) source it does not actually tell us who this Ann Lee is either.

Red flag #7 The articles do not discuss the research. Rather, they discuss Ann Lee’s powerpoint presentation about the research.

Red flag #8 To find the actual research I have to stop following the path led by these articles and instead do an entire new search for the research itself. I was able to find the study and another related study by the same lead researchers easily once I stopped looking at these clearly partisan sites that were discussing the study. In other words, the articles citing the study as evidence actually made it hard for me to find the actual study itself by not giving the basic information on the study (authors, title, or link).

Red flag #9 Eventually, I came across one cite that was more neutral and provided relevant information. This was an article from The Daily Pennsylvanian which provides more information on this mysterious Ann Lee who it turns out “runs a college preparatory tutoring center in Arcadia, Calif.” This article also specifies the authors of the study “Thomas J. Espenshade, Chang Y. Chung and Joan L. Walling” and provides more details about their research by way of a description and a, unfortunately broken, link to the actual research.

Turns out, the actual study concludes the exact opposite of what Ann Lee’s powerpoint presentation concludes. In the “Princeton University Study” research, the authors reach three conclusions:

1) Colleges provide lots of preferences that benefit certain students and not others including legacy admissions; despite this,

2) affirmative action in admissions processes that only serve to benefit Black and Hispanic minorities, regardless of SAT scores, are the only ones that are surrounded in controversy; and

3) without these preferences for Blacks and Hispanics (because of the ways in which racial and socio-economic disparities intersect in the country at large), members of these groups would be disproportionately unable to be admitted to elite universities.

What the article actually says is:

It is possible to convert the magnitude of these preferences to a common SAT metric. The bonus for African-American applicants is roughly equivalent to an extra 230 SAT points (on a 1600-point scale), to 185 points for Hispanics, 200 points for athletes, and 160 points for children of alumni. The Asian disadvantage is comparable to a loss of 50 SAT points. [p. 1431]

Where is the confusion between this research and Ann Lee’s powerpoint about the research? Ann Lee, the author of the LA Times article, and all those who cite that article and discuss Lee’s presentation misinterpret the study and assert some version of the following related to SAT scores:

African Americans received a “bonus” of 230 points, Lee says…. “Hispanics received a bonus of 185 points.”

 

The disparity between the powerpoint presentation and the research is that there is no bonus points on the SAT but instead there are a combination of considerations that go into decision making to accept any person that applies to a college, one of which is the SAT. These considerations can be “converted” statistically to have a value that can look like SAT points, which is done in the research in order to demonstrate the weight of these alternate considerations. The researchers use the idea of “bonus” points as a metaphor to demonstrate to the reader of the research that the SAT is insufficient as a single marker for admission. The authors note other considerations for enrollment like athletics and legacy that also could be converted as part of a “bonus” score to demonstrate that lots of students benefit over others because of these considerations and, yet, these considerations affecting non Hispanic and non Blacks are viewed as uncontroversial (and not dismissed as an unearned handout).

So, no, minorities do not earn bonus points on the SAT.

Think of it this way. In decision making for entrance into college a student may submit SAT scores, demographic information, references, past experience relevant to academics, high school GPA, an essay or two, may get interviewed, and so forth. The reason all of these are required is because colleges, as they should, identify that a student is more than a single test score. The study shows that if all that mattered for Black and Hispanic minorities was the SAT, they would be disadvantaged in trying to get into elite colleges. That is in part because of the advantage that other groups have outside of their SAT scores (legacies for example) and from birth (high socio-economic status). But the reasons that other considerations are in place is because all students are more than their SAT scores. And all students should be given considerations, and are, that allow college admissions processes to balance out things that are out of the students’ control (from socio-economic status to having a bad day when you took the exam, to being a terrible test taker) to those that are more in the student’s control (personal essay, high school gpa, etc.)  to demonstrate that student’s fit for the school.

So what’s the moral here. Actually, it’s not about SAT scores at all in my view. I’m always a big picture kind of person. The moral here serves us beyond the single issue of SAT scores. The moral is do your research.

If you see one red flag be cautious and do your own research. If you see nine red flags, as I did, I recommend writing a blog about it. So, here I am. Two hours from when I started writing this. The deadline for my book has not changed. Yet, I have taken the time, precious precious time, to write this blog. Why? Because I must do so.  Now knowing the path from which this misunderstanding stems I feel obligated to take the time to do my research. Book project be dammed. The stereotype guru cannot let such detrimental stereotypes stand unchallenged. 

March 21st, 2016 | Categories: Uncategorized

I made an active choice not to blog when Trump threw his hat into the political ring. I thought it was a lark and would be short-lived. I was wrong and continue to be surprised at what he has done to the Republican party.

When Trump, soon-after, started to denigrate various cultural groups overtly, I thought it was all too obvious. What could I contribute that hadn’t been said before and wasn’t currently being said in the media about how racist and sexist his comments and treatment of members of certain groups was? I had after all conducted research that suggested that explicitly communicated stereotypes should be the easiest to object to and to refute. and indeed I saw this playing out in the media. Nothing newsworthy for The Communicated Stereotype there.

When I saw on Facebook all the links about Authoritarian Personality being a predictor of whether someone is a Trump fan, I nodded in agreement, sighed, and mentioned, when I could, that this was a spot on assessment and a scary one at that considering it also was a predictor of Hitler’s rise in Nazi Germany. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Authoritarian Personality, think or find on YouTube Archie Bunker. My knowledge of this still did not warrant a blog. Once again I had nothing new to contribute.

archie bunker

Now, I am in the position to contribute to the political discourse related to the current presidential race. Why? Because I am reminded of a quote:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

The sad part, however, is that my concern does not stay with Trump. My concern is increasingly with supporters of Bernie Sanders. His liberal ideology masks a male agenda to which he is also not aware and that is particularly persuasive to liberal males.

I want to make a few things clear.

-There are valid reasons to support Bernie in a primary in a state in which Hillary will undoubtedly get the nomination. Such a vote makes a strong point about finance reform.

-No one should vote for anyone because of their gender alone. I would not advocate for that.

-Sexism is a large scale social issue. Individual people may or may not be sexist in their known beliefs or actions. But even those who are not sexist in their known beliefs or actions can act in sexist ways because of the societal pressure to do so that affects information processing in ways an individual person may not ever be aware of.

With these qualifiers, I want to share with you my concern about some of the arguments Bernie supporters make and how these are decidedly not liberal and, actually, work against a liberal agenda. There could be legitimate reasons to vote for Bernie. I am not discussing those. Rather, working backwards in the style of Letterman’s Top Ten, I will explain how some of the reasons people want to vote for Bernie are problematic by discussing the Top 3 Sexist Reasons I have been given as a rationale for why to support Bernie over Hillary.

3. I am not voting for Hillary because there are too many accusations against her floating around and where there is smoke there is fire.

Trump who has actually done some pretty horrible things will possibly get the Republican nomination. Bernie fans are saying that they would rather not vote (by default giving a vote to Trump) than vote for Hillary because Hillary might have done some horrible things that to date there is no hard evidence for despite there being legal, media, and public actions attempted to find out. So Hillary is being kept to a higher standard than Trump. Sounds to me a lot like Jackie Robinson Syndrome. Hillary is only electable if she is perfect, unimpugnable; her competition can be allowed to be elected even if he is impugnable.

2- I am not voting for Hillary because Bill, her husband, did terrible things to women.

President Bush is a recovering cocaine addict. Hillary, in contrast, is being held accountable for something she didn’t even do. She stood by Bill. But anybody watching that video or picture of the family on August 18, 1998, the day after Bill Clinton confessed to the Monica Lewinsky affair, knows that didn’t go down in their personal lives as well as it looked in the public eye. Did anyone comment that Laura Bush sticking with George after his drug addiction meant that she was pro-drugs? Did her name get slandered because she stayed with a drug addict? Androcentrism, a hallmark of a sexist society, means that females get judged/defined by a male norm. This accusation against Hillary is the epitome of that. She is being judged not on what she is doing but on what her husband did.

Hillary and Bill

1- Just because Hillary is a woman, doesn’t mean I am going to vote for her.

No one asked you to vote for Hillary because she is a woman. No one is voting for Hillary just because she is a woman. If someone says that’s the reason they are voting for her; it is only shorthand for I don’t need to defend my political beliefs to you because you will only say I am voting for her because she is a woman anyway no matter what I say so I might as well beat you to it and save myself a lot of time. I can attest to how much time you can save by just saying that. After days of Facebook arguing, I still hear the people I am arguing with insinuate or flat out say the only reason I am voting for Hillary is because she is a woman. So even when a woman puts in the effort to voice her valid views on why she would vote for Hillary. It will still only be reduced to “Oh, so you are voting for her because she is a woman and I am not voting for Hillary just because she is a woman.” So it isn’t Hillary’s vagina that is making me vote for her. It is your penis that is making you think the only reason I am voting for her is because she is a woman.

For those who want to know why am I voting for Hillary, I will gladly tell you. But please don’t still assume, diminish my views, or discredit my right to political thought by reducing my reasons to the shorthand that I am voting for her because she is a woman.

I am voting for Hillary because:
– She is more qualified than Bernie by far and has held positions most similar to others who have been president in the history of the United States whereas Bernie has not.
– She has showed herself to have the liberal value I admire and desire most in a presidential candidate. More than Bernie, even when he could, Hillary understands and implements an understanding of equality/equity.
– She is more politically savvy that Bernie. If President Obama could barely get parts of his agenda passed with all his political savvy and diplomacy in the face of GOP opposition, Bernie has no chance. I would rather have 50% of 10 liberal ideas be implemented than 0% of 100 liberal ideas.

After all this, rest assured, I am not saying you should vote for Hillary. You can vote for whomever you want as is your right. But if I ask why you are voting for her because I want to understand your mindset and perhaps because I am willing to be convinced and have an open mind to political discussion, I recommend giving me answers that are not based on/ do not reinforce sexism if you want me to understand your voting choice.

January 6th, 2016 | Categories: Uncategorized

By: Dionne Evans

In this day and age, just a little over 50 years after the Civil Rights Movement, it’s not uncommon for people to think racism doesn’t exist anymore or to hear someone say “Slavery was abolished long ago, what more can you want?” Though progress has been made in race relations since the Civil Rights Movement, racial profiling exists. It is still typical for police to stop black men and women on the streets just because of the color of their skin. The recent police shootings involving unarmed black men have caused outrage, protests, and arguments on how prevalent racism is in our American society. According to a New York Times article by Dalia Simmons, “Americans are increasingly likely to say that the police are more apt to use deadly force against a black person, the latest New York Times/CBS News poll finds.” That same poll also found that sixty-one percent of Americans now say race relations in this country are generally bad and 44 percent of Americans say deadly force is more likely to be used against a black person. Simmons writes, “Blacks also remain far more likely than whites to say they feel mostly anxious about the police in their community. Forty-two percent say so, while 51 percent feel mostly safe. Among whites, 8 in 10 feel mostly safe.” Even with this information, there are still many people who say racism is not a problem. Ironically enough, it’s usually those spouting racists views who say this. The police shootings and the Charleston church shooting spark outrage but not much debate on race relations. If anything, they’re dividing people even more.

Though African-Americans are voicing their unease and safety concerns, they are not being heard. Sometimes, they are even ridiculed by their peers. “Just follow an officer’s orders and you’ll be fine,” say some. However, based on experiences to those close to me, I know this advice doesn’t work for everyone. As a person of mixed race (half black, part white and then a little of almost everything else), I’ve had unique experiences. I know what it feels like to be prejudiced against because of my skin. Others, like my brothers, have had it much worse though.

My older brother standing at 6-foot-3-inches tall who sometimes touts a beard has endured things a lot tougher than I. I remember an incident that occurred when he was picking me up from high school. He was in one of about five or so cars waiting at the curb where most pick-ups and drop-offs occur. His friend, a dark-skinned African-American, was in the passenger’s seat and rap music was blaring from the speakers. I got in the car, and we were stopped by a police officer almost immediately after turning into the lane to exit. We were all confused. The officer came up to the window and told us my brother had been at the curb too long and asked him what he was doing there. “I’m just picking up my little sister,” he said. My brother’s friend started muttering under his breath and my brother shushed him. The officer then made my brother get out of the car. While there, he checked my brother’s license and let my brother back inside the car. After finding nothing, the officer came back up to us and said “I’ll let you off with a warning, but next time don’t wait at the curb so long.” He said this as if he were doing us a favor for not ticketing us for not breaking the law. I think my brother was a little shaken after that.

That wasn’t the worst encounter with an officer he would experience in his life. One night, maybe a year or so after the previous incident, on his way home from being out with friends he was stopped. This time the officer said it was for a broken taillight. According to my brother, the officer then started peeking into the car. “Have you been drinking tonight?” he asked. My brother told him he hadn’t, but the officer told him to step out of the car anyway to do a breathalyzer test. Of course, my brother wasn’t lying and there was no alcohol in his system. The officer wasn’t satisfied and then decided to search the car for any drugs or alcohol, with no such luck.

Though my brother had apparently been stopped for just a broken taillight and despite my brother complying with all of the officer’s requests, the office seemed determined. The officer then decided to run my brother’s license into the system. My brother’s license was suspended due to unpaid tickets. Now that was my brother’s fault. He was sent to jail for 3 days. My family was upset and confused. It was stupid that my brother was driving with a suspended license. He hadn’t told my parents about the suspension which is why he was still allowed to drive the car. But we were more hurt that the police officer claimed to be stopping him for a broken taillight yet went through all of the steps to find something else. I don’t know much about the court-hearings afterwards, I was still just in high school, but I do know that my brother got out of any further jail time or punishment, aside from community service, and the officer’s misconduct was at least looked into. Both incidents happened over 5 years ago and both officers involved were white. Racism involving police officers is not a new thing, but thanks to new technology, when it happens, it can be shared and, maybe, even deterred.

The incidents involving police abusing their power cause a lot of arguments. Sadly, it does not open up a dialogue about racism. Rather, it is often instead a catalyst for more racist remarks and actions. It’s important to keep in mind that racism isn’t just black and white, but these seem to be the races that are currently in the biggest divide. When discussing racism, it’s important to remember also that not all white people are racists and not all black people are thugs, but incidents like the Bland case gives ammunition to both sides.

Deniers express opinions like “They were criminals anyway, they deserved it,” or “Why do we hear so much on white-on-black crime and not on black-on-white crime, which is much higher.” Racism isn’t going to go away if we don’t acknowledge it or open up a discussion about it.

Even I sometimes scroll past the heartbreakingly discriminatory remarks on different news articles or Facebook posts. However, I feel a lot better when I explain to someone why their comments are incorrect or hurtful. I recently read an article on huffingtonpost.com about how the Charleston shooting was another missed opportunity to talk about race relations in our country. I think Diana Montero said it best. “Not treating the infection only makes the infection spread.”

December 1st, 2015 | Categories: Uncategorized

Why I Am Lonely

You may know me as a gregarious person. If you don’t know me, then take my word for it.

You may know me as a person who has lots of friends and makes new friends easily. If we have never met, trust me I have and I do.

You may know me as someone who is happily married for over 20 years and a mother of two young children who constantly bring joy to my life. Believe me, even if you don’t know me first hand.

Yet…

I am lonely.

I am lonely because I avoid the color black on my kids clothes. I wouldn’t let my own aunt wear it to my wedding. I try to avoid black coats especially in winter. It’s not because I think black is a bad omen. That would be easy to explain. It’s because of the various symbolisms of the color black, not the paranoia, that makes me want bright colors in my life.

I am lonely because I don’t like hearing about kids and de-th in the same sentence. I can’t even write it. I don’t like hypothetical examples. I don’t like shows that involve this. I don’t like hearing examples in casual conversation. It’s not because I think this will be a jinx. That would be simple to explain. It’s because those two words just shouldn’t be in the same sentence. Why would anyone want them to be? Why would anyone volunteer to put them in the same sentence?

I am lonely because I don’t usually go for the easy attention getter, greeting, small talk, or conversation topic. In college it took me three conversations before I asked someone, who soon became one of my closest friends at the time, where she came from even though she had a heavy accent. Before (and no doubt since) it was generally the question most people asked within the first five minutes of meeting her. I avoided these easy go-to conversation topics well before I got my Ph.D. in communication, became the Stereotype Guru, and wrote a book on stereotypes. It’s because though I am just like everyone else and cognitively am wired to see difference I, nonetheless, somehow trained myself to set that aside as much as possible and see similarity instead.

I am lonely because after every conversation, I review that conversation in my head. I think about potential offenses, how I could have said something differently, what I might have changed if I could do it over, what I should say next time if I get the chance. It seems time consuming, but I do this sometimes in seconds. Sometimes I do this over months of agonizing reflection. It’s because I have read lots of research in communication (both my own and what others have written) and I know the ramifications of words and take these very seriously.

So I am lonely.

Because no one knows this about me, though some suspect. I am preoccupied with communication. Constantly thinking, wondering, questioning. It’s exhausting.

But you wouldn’t know it from looking at me, talking with me, listening to me that there is a whole part of me that no one knows.

So I am lonely.

It’s nothing I would change. It’s nothing I could change. And despite what you think it’s not because I think these ways and I do these things that makes me lonely.

It’s that you do not think and do these things that makes me lonely.

If we lived in a world where we were aware of what we say and do, what the ramifications are of these things, and were cautious of them– sincerely and authentically cautious– then I wouldn’t be lonely. If we did this all the time, not just in the office, not just with people who might be offended, not just with people we care about, and not just when we think we need to be PC, then I wouldn’t be lonely.

In a world in which we all did this, I would be able to explain why, for example, we should avoid x, y, or z stereotype without facing an inquisition, without having to justify why equality and equity are rational, without having to worry if I am upsetting someone by saying something that to me is as obvious as the color of the sky.

But we don’t live in that world.

So I remain lonely.

September 10th, 2015 | Categories: Uncategorized

I’m revisiting an old favorite feature of The Communicated Stereotype known as Thing Thursday. Today’s Thing Thursday is something that really gets me twitching. Check it out here.

Girl Genius

I have a knock knock joke for Lands’ end:

Knock Knock
Who’s there?
Girl Genius.
Girl Genius who?
Doesn’t make sense to me either. I just call a girl genius, a genius.

September 1st, 2015 | Categories: Uncategorized

I finally had a chance to read an article a colleague sent me from the Harvard Business Review called Reinventing Performance Management by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall. I’m not a fan of the viewpoint the article takes, despite the optimism of the authors. Despite Deloitte’s record on diversity, here’s why:

1) With regard to who conducts evaluations and when, Deloitte seems to be putting the responsibility on the employee to get the evaluation done because, they authors argue, employees innately want to improve themselves. They say leaders should be constantly evaluating their employees so they don’t need to have regularly yearly or semi yearly scheduled evaluations. Ultimately, a process like this is self-serving for Deloitte. It saves the leaders time to not have to conduct the evaluations. Plus, it puts in place a system that rewards high achievers or those who already know the system while leaving those employees who might be insecure or shy about initiating an employee evaluation for themselves potentially in the dark about their performance. This reinforces that those already in the know will continue to get access to Deloitte’s leadership. It also creates a system in which those who aren’t, won’t be likely to.

2) With regard to what questions get asked on the performance evaluations, Deloitte is saying they want their leaders to own their judgments of employees so the evaluations are not about what the employee is doing but about what the manager is doing. This new version of their evaluation confounds two different aspects of the assessment process: criteria and judgment. Instead of articulating criteria on which judgments should be based and then, as a separate step, making judgments about employees, Deloitte’s leadership team would need only make the judgments. These are the four questions Deloitte has reduced their performance evaluations to using a typical [strongly agree to strongly disagree] scale:

-Given what I know of this peron’s performance. and if it were my money, I would award this person the highest possible compensation increase and bonus.

-Given what I know of this person’s performance, I would always want him or her on my team.

-This person is at risk for low performance.

-This person is ready for promotion today.

Confounding ‘criteria’ and ‘judgment’ pulls the wool over the employee’s eyes by disregarding that the leaders are making the judgments anyway regardless of what the evaluation form looks like. In a traditional evaluation system, the criteria for those judgments is separate from the judgment and the criteria are clearly articulated. The Deloitte system would remove this transparency so that judgments are being made but the employee is not privy to the criteria on which those judgments are based. This makes it harder for some employees to improve their work, especially those who are less self-aware. In other words, the employee familiar with how to walk the walk and talk the talk of the corporate environment will be rewarded and those who don’t will be left behind. all the while, by phrasing this as a new employee management system, the company gains the loophole of never having to justify their decision making related to raises, promotions, etc.

3) Ultimately, this Deloitte performance evaluation is bad for diversity and for employees. Yes, it would save time for the leaders. Yes, this type or constant evaluation the leaders are supposed to be doing on a regular basis with employees anyway. However, for a company that wants to see sincere improvement in their employees and is dedicated to diversity, it will not allow for that. It would not allow for employees with diverse backgrounds- other than a traditional corporate training model- to thrive in that environment. Plus, employees who lack self-awareness on some issues, and are great in other areas, will not keep their jobs very long because they could be continued to be denied opportunities for raises, promotions, and so forth and never really understand or be told why in a concrete and unavoidably clear way. Additionally employees who are happy at a company but lack certain criteria to go higher within the company can also feel dissatisfied without even knowing for themselves why and, thus, attribute it to being a poor fit and move on to work at a different company they think is a better fit. The Deloitte performance management process guarantees they will get employees who look like them, talk like them, and are the kinds of people they want to hang out with. For a company who has potential employees clamoring to be let in, it’s a self-serving biased model because it is essentially an inbreeding model that allows them to weed through the masses while doing less work to get the employees they want most anyway.

But for companies who are not as competitive or who actually sincerely value diversity and the many benefits diversity offers businesses, the model doesn’t work.

1) Employees who do not come to a company perfect, and most don’t, need training and supervision. Part of training requires a regular, consistent, collaborative, and transparent evaluation process.
2) Companies who value diversity want the right person for the job even if they are not someone we want to hang out with, even if they don’t dress exactly like us, even if they talk the same way we do.

Most companies nurture employees. An environment in which criteria for judgments are explicit will facilitate this nurturing environment in a way that will ensure anyone qualified could thrive in it.

July 6th, 2015 | Categories: Uncategorized

Anastacia Kurylo (Ph.D., Rutgers University) is the proud founder of TheCommunicatedStereotype.com.

Her primary research area explores communicated stereotypes and their consequences for interpersonal, intercultural, and workplace outcomes. Her current scholarship focuses on how stereotypes are maintained over time through communication. As a treatise on her scholarly view of stereotypes and a foundation for the perspectives expressed in her blog, she has recently published:

    The Communicated Stereotype: From Celebrity Vilification to Everyday Talk.

    The Communicated Stereotype: From Celebrity Vilification to Everyday Talk argues that a consequential interactional dilemma is enacted when people communicate stereotypes in everyday talk. The interactional dilemma is a result of the tension between a political correctness movement that prescribes against the communication of stereotypes and the benefits gained from communicating these in conversation. Despite the punishment and shame that befalls celebrities who communicate stereotypes, people continue to communicate stereotypes in everyday conversation often evoking little if any outrage. The process whereby the vilification of celebrities diverts attention from the everyday communication of stereotypes and emboldens people to communicate stereotypes without self-criticism. The way this interactional dilemma is handled in conversation helps to explain why stereotypes are maintained over time within a culture despite deterrents intended to dissuade people from using them. An appreciation of stereotypes as poor communication choices provides the potential for the reduction of stereotype use.

As a consultant and teacher, Dr. Kurylo has trained academics, practitioners, and students on a variety of topics including:

  • Intercultural Communication
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Conflict Management
  • Gender Inclusivity
  • Teamwork and Small Group Communication Skills
  • Leadership Communication
  • Workplace Stereotyping
  • Public Speaking
  • Anti-Bullying

To read Dr. Kurylo’s work please visit Academica.Edu or ResearchNet. Dr. Kurylo publishes in a variety of formats including:

  • books
  • teaching activities
  • book chapters
  • encyclopedia/ dictionary entries
  • book reviews
  • scholarly articles
  • popular press articles
  • blogs

Dr. Kurylo is a full-time professor at St. Joseph’s College. In her fifteen years of teaching she has taught at various colleges including:

  • Borough of Manhattan Community College
  • Marymount Manhattan College
  • New York University
  • Pace University
  • Rutgers University
  • St. John’s University

Dr. Kurylo has presented at numerous conferences discussing issues related to her four areas of scholarship: stereotypes and culture, pedagogy and mentoring, new media, and public relations. She studies these topics using both qualitative and quantitative methodologies such as:

  • content analysis
  • discourse analysis
  • thematic analysis
  • experimental methods
  • survey methods

Dr. Kurylo serves as a reviewer for several journals and holds membership and positions in various communication associations and boards.

In addition to her academic work, Dr. Kurylo enjoys creating mosaics, eating in cafes, and blogging.

Dr. Kurylo is available for speaking engagements and interviews. Please contact her at: TheCommunicatedStereotype@gmail.com

View Anastacia Kurylo's LinkedIn profileView Anastacia Kurylo’s profile

June 22nd, 2015 | Categories: Uncategorized

The tragic shootings at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston are horrific. Truly, there are no words and no excuses that can bring sense to this senseless hate crime. Instead of providing insights when there are none I can offer, I have left it to a friend of the family and author to speak what so many of us are thinking but don’t have the words to say or may  not feel comfortable saying. Recently, he posted this on his Facebook page.

Lilly-white power rags like the Wall Street Journal can run their vampire mouths dry over how “institutional racism doesn’t exist.” But if an individual harbors racist beliefs or sentiments, the institution they represent IS racist, and will conduct itself in a racist manner. There are degrees of this, of course, from misguided race-based fear to ignorant prejudice to full-fledged white supremacy.

But as Jon Stewart pointed out so powerfully last night, African Americans in South Carolina STILL walk to work under the Confederate flag. They STILL drive cars on roads named for rebel generals. If these are totems the state’s majority white population believes in enough to let stand, those sentiments — be it a “appreciation of heritage” (bullshit) or something far more blunt and sinister — WILL affect how an adherent conducts themselves within the context of their institution.

This was an act of racially motivated terrorism. Period. That we’re so quick to chalk it up to the unhinged bloodthirst of some mentally ill, Apartheid-fetishizing lone wolf doesn’t make it only so. If anything, it proves how quick we all still are to avoid the dirty, ever-divisive truth: In a country where the individual is believed to be the holiest institution, institutional racism is not only alive; it’s thriving.

To view what Jon Stewart said about the Charlston shooting visit The Guardian.

June 17th, 2015 | Categories: Uncategorized

Thanks to the International Association of Business Communicators for inviting me to join their panel on Diversity and Communication to take place on Thursday, June 18, 2015 from 8:30 AM to 10:00 AM (EDT) at the American National Standards Institute, 25 West 43rd Street, 4th Floor. Unfortunately, registration is now closed and no walk ins are allowed but I thought  readers of The Communicated Stereotype would find the topic and the presenters interesting. The IABC promoted the event as follows:

Diversity & Inclusion initiatives are a staple of the modern workplace, but how exactly do we leverage them to boost organizational engagement and send the right message externally?

Join us on June 18th for an interactive panel discussion on the opportunities that Diversity & Inclusion programs can provide communicators like you. Industry leaders will share their experiences and offer practical advice on how you can support these important efforts, while integrating them into your daily work. Together we will help answer some common questions:

What drives the most successful diversity programs?
How does the employee base view diversity efforts and the communications around them?
What are the new expectations for corporate communications to support programs externally?
How can communicators leverage a more inclusive organizational culture for success in other programs?

Speakers to include:
Mac Worsham – Global Diversity & Inclusiveness Brand, Communications and Marketing Leader at Ernst & Young

Currently responsible for advancing EY’s global brand, reputation, and communications related to diversity and inclusiveness, Mac has held corporate communications and public affairs leadership roles across a number of multidisciplinary private, public, and non-profit sector organizations, including Deloitte, Brivo Systems, Cassidy & Associates, and the United States Senate. He has expertise in developing integrated communications strategies, high-performing teams, infrastructures, and platforms to advance businesses’ strategic objectives across vast global networks.

Sheryl Battles – Vice President, Communications and Diversity Strategy for Pitney Bowes Inc. 

In her role at Pitney Bowes, Sheryl communicates the company’s strategy to investors and other stakeholders, develops thought leadership positions on key business issues and trends impacting global commerce, and leads the company’s global diversity and inclusion strategy. Among a wide range of volunteer activities, Sheryl is Co-Chair of the Arthur W. Page Society’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and she has also appeared in a variety of publications, including PR Week’s Career Guide 2012, the Harvard Business Review, Time and Ebony.

Dana Green – Director of Diversity & Inclusion at Toyota Motor North America, Inc.

Dana is the Director of Diversity & Inclusion at Toyota Motor North America, Inc. in New York City, responsible for the development and implementation of the company’s diversity and inclusion objectives, the management of the external Diversity Advisory Board, the development of a Global Women’s Initiative and data management. Dana works with multiple Toyota companies leading the engagement of management in the prioritization of D&I strategic objectives.

Anastacia Kurylo, Ph.D. – President, Fortified Communication Consulting

Anastacia is a corporate communication consultant with expertise in conflict negotiation, change management, diversity and inclusion, teamwork and leadership, and emotional intelligence. As a subject matter expert, she has taught, coached, and presented at a variety of organizations and colleges including Marymount Manhattan College, Molloy College, New York University, Pace University, Rutgers University, and St. John’s University as well as various state and local conferences, the National and International Communication Associations, and the Tri-State Diversity Council.