Beyond Diversity Too

This blog is all about what we've been up to and what we've been thinking.

Discover Quickening of Compassion Cards

by lablaze75

We’re delighted to introduce an innovative new product developed by the Beyond Diversity Resource Center: Quickening of Compassion Cards. Using the cards harnesses the power of compassion to help heal the wounds of prejudice, discrimination, and oppression.

Quickening of Compassion Cards present stirring images and reflective messages on individual cards. Each card in the set promotes deeper understanding of issues in U.S. history and suggests acts of compassion that people can take today, in the communities where they live and work.

These days, conversations on topics about which people disagree are often futile because there is no sincere attempt at understanding. As a result, people talk loudly and unproductively, or worse, there is no conversation at all. What’s missing? Compassion!

Quickening of Compassion Cards can be used in a group setting with a facilitator or by a single individual. An online manual offers detailed instructions, questions to consider, and historical background informaton.

The cards are great conversation starters for people interested in authentic dialog. With practice and through compassion, the cards can help open your heart – even to people with whom you have great disagreement.

Quickening of Compasion Cards are great for faith-based settings, such as spiritual retreats and workshops; diversity trainings; high school classrooms – especially history and social studies; and among social justice advocates.

Each Quickening of Compassion Cards set is $19.95, with discounts for bulk purchases.

Compassion asks us to live up to our best values and Quickening of Compassion Cards can help the process.

Click here for a short Screencast about Quickening of Compassion Cards.

Time to Reclaim Compassion

by lablaze75

CompassionKidsWhen it comes to the way a lot of us treat people who have viewpoints different from our own, it appears that goodwill has left the building. Fading away is our ability to appreciate people who are different. In its place is an avalanche of incivility and a glaring absence of decorum.

We have perfected the art of talking past one another. Rather than seeking common ground during difficult discussions, we mostly listen for opportunities to disagree. It happens in our daily interactions and is reinforced in popular media. It’s sad but true: wholesale hostility has become a pastime, and many of us embrace it.

The evolving nature of social media has made matters worse. What was once a series of polite web communities has developed into contentious, often toxic environments drenched in animus and embraced as blood sport. This nasty mode of communication has supplanted the willingness to at least understand, if not agree with one another. In turn, this icy approach to communication has supercharged cultural issues.

The celebration of Columbus Day, for instance, has long been a day of contention. Established in the U.S. as a federal holiday in 1937, (the holiday is also recognized in countries across the American continents), it is a time many Italian-Americans celebrate their heritage. For others, especially Native Americans, it’s a day that memorializes the start of European colonialism. As a result of this tension, some people observe Indigenous Peoples’ Day, which celebrates Native Americans and commemorates their shared history and culture.

It isn’t that disagreements are unhealthy or should be unwelcomed. The problem is that conversations about topics such as Columbus Day avoid dialogue and often foment unproductive rhetoric and personal attacks. Comments following an October 11, 2015, Washington Post article, “Why Is Columbus Day Still a U.S. Federal Holiday?” are illustrative:

AV: Ho hum, the usual Liberal relativism.

RDR: Ho hum, the usual Conservative response. Don’t you idiots ever get tired of throwing the word “liberal” at ever(y) point that goes against your strained history of garbage that you all defend and honor?

This is but one example of our ever-deepening chasm of ill will. It is sad to think that in a society founded on the ideals of democracy and freedom that we can do no better than either feigning disinterest or resorting to name-calling when we exercise our right to free speech. The issue is not who is right or wrong about Columbus Day. It’s about how we treat people with whom we disagree.

There is hope. It comes in the form of compassion, a time-tested means to bridge the great us-versus-them divide. When operating through compassion, there’s no room for the familiar “I’m so sure I’m right, there’s no point in listening” sentiment. Listening with an ear of compassion can heal the wounds of discrimination and apathy. When employed with authentic, focused intention, the world is made better by acts of compassion. And those acts come in all sizes – large and small.

Most people would agree, if only in the abstract, that we need compassion. Yet today we need it more than ever. That’s because compassion asks us to have an open heart, even for people with whom we vehemently disagree. Compassion encourages us to turn toward—not away from—people who are excluded, oppressed or shunned.

Compassion requires action in the face of injustice. Through it we are asked to help others, even if those efforts might be unsuccessful. It demands that we live up to our best values, including that of civility, which we seem to be losing. Compassion is a lofty ideal that can bolster our spirits, cultivate respect for others, and create positive change in the world.

It’s time to reclaim compassion for the good of others and ourselves. In doing so we can practice altruism instead of resentment, and regain a footing on which we embody good will and benevolent action.

Race and Rage: Discussing the Undiscussable

by lablaze75



Planning and development at the Beyond Diversity Resource Center continues with respect to an upcoming workshop on what is considered by many to be a largely forbidden subject. Titled “Race and Rage: A Workshop about a Taboo Topic,” this three-day course (July 11-13) wades into the controversial waters surrounding race and the emotionally charged reactions they often elicit from all sides.

Race and rage are topics as old as the resettlement of America. This workshop is for pioneering individuals who are willing to work through emotionally difficult topics with bravery and compassion. Organizers and facilitators are excited about the transformational opportunities this work presents – particularly with respect to building authentic cross-race communication.

The overbearing stereotype of rage is it being rooted in the loss of self-control. While it’s true that can happen, rage also takes other, highly beneficial forms. When properly recognized and interpreted, rage can inform us about many aspects of the human condition. In fact, it can be used as a tool for channeling compassion, which is a key element of anti-oppression work.

Through expert facilitation, the “Race and Rage” workshop helps participants learn how to weather the often surging expression of feelings (from self and by others) associated with rage. The sessions also helps participants gain new insights, designed to change their understanding—and reduce fear—of race and rage.

As it relates to race, it’s not uncommon for rage to be more easily channeled by people of color. This workshop will explore pathways of entry for white people to find and use rage as a means of inspiring productive internal change and meaningful action associated with race work.

“Race and Rage: A Workshop about a Taboo Topic”

July 11 – 13 (Wednesday through Friday)

  • Wednesday (11) 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • Thursday (12) 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Friday (13) 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Westfield Friends Meeting House
Cinnaminson, New Jersey (near Philadelphia)

Click here to register or learn more…

Quickening of Compassion Cards Offer Renewed Pathways to Conversation

by lablaze75

The Beyond Diversity Resource Center is offering something new: Quickening of Compassion Cards. We developed the cards to promote greater compassion in our society.

Each Quickening of Compassion Card is two-sided. One side features a powerful visual image rooted in a struggle for humanity in the United States. (Some of the struggles are recent, others are older.) The other side bears a short, insightful meditation, and a suggested action to build greater compassion.

The cards promote as much inward contemplation as outward action. We believe that reflection, empathy, and action will help build more compassion and challenge the divisiveness currently churning in our society.

At Beyond Diversity, we believe a core element missing from many conversations these days is compassion. People often feel so strongly about their positions on a topic that they forget the common humanity we share.

Several detrimental consequences ensue. One is that people dig into their positions and stop listening. Another is that we have unproductive, often hostile, discussions. Still another is that our positions become so polarized that we see others with differing perspectives as one-dimensional stereotypes. The result? We effectively dehumanize one another.

This does not mean we should avoid conversations in which there are strong disagreements. Instead, we believe difficult discussions will benefit from participants using compassion for one another as a guide. Quickening of Compassion Cards can serve as reminders to act with compassion, to disagree passionately, but with humanity and understanding.

Compassion is the commitment to end suffering in the lives of others. It is a core feature of Beyond Diversity Resources Center workshops and training experiences. Compassion can open doors between “us” and “them.” It invites us to practice empathy and forgiveness, and to take action so that people are treated with fairness, kindness, and humanity.

Look for Quickening of Compassion Cards on our website in late March 2018.

Supplement to the Anti-Racist Cookbook

by robinpar

In 2013, after President Obama’s call for conversations on race following the trial of George Zimmerman (the man who fatally shot Trayvon Martin), we thought that an additional set of questions on implicit bias and personal safety were needed enhancements to the conversations on race described in our book, The Anti-Racist Cookbook.  

Currently the Anti-Racist Cookbook and Supplement are still much needed to inspire community dialogue dialogue about the police shootings in places such as Ferguson, Missouri and Staten Island, New York, which have captured national headlines.

You can read our original press release by following this link. The Supplement is available to people who order the Anti-Racist Cookbook directly from our publisher, Crandall, Dostie & Douglas Books.

Best regards,


Volunteer Fundraising Consultant

by robinpar

The Center is looking for a volunteer to help us develop new and innovative fundraising strategies. We’re different: We offer training and educational materials as the primary part of our nonprofit work. We use an anti-oppression approach. We’re small and must use fundraising strategies that are cost effective.

If you can volunteer to help us develop our fundraising strategies, we’d love to hear from you. Send us an email at or call us at 856 235-2664.

Send Us Your Diversity Story

by robinpar

We have a new blog for you to share your own stories about diversity. Please submit a story for publication.

Storytelling is powerful. It is an ancient part of all cultures. Storytelling offers a compelling way to share information that is under-utilized in our modern society, but especially useful in engaging others and inspiring compassion.

Our “Stories on Diversity” blog is dedicated to the publication of personal stories that show the struggles, triumphs, and questions that people experience as they grapple with the complexity of race, gender, disability, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, class and other dimensions of diversity.

To read some stories already submitted, please click here.

To see the submission guidelines, click here.

Article: Decoding Modern Racial Discourse

by robinpar

I’ve written an article that discusses the coded language of modern racial discourse and that offers an anti-oppression translation of common statements about race in the United States. I wrote the article because I was searching for an explanation of why anti-oppression issues encounter so much resistance from good, well-meaning people. 

You can get the article from the Beyond Diversity website by clicking here.



Understand Privilege—Fight Hate Wristband: A Story Six Years in the Making

by robinpar

wristband b:w                            Front                                                      Back

If you’d just like to order Understand Privilege—Fight Hate Wristbands, then click here.

 If you want to learn the backstory, then read on!

From Robin:  Greetings Everyone!

Lately, the Beyond Diversity Resource Center has been receiving hate mail and threatening telephone calls because of our work on privilege. It is astonishing that an article I wrote six years ago would generate such antipathy and cause some to act out their worst impulses of bigotry.

The article in question is The Great White Elephant: A Reflection on Racial Privilege, which was published in the Journal of Intergroup Relations in 2007 and is featured on our website. The article talked about the difficulty of keeping racial privilege in mind and offered a schematic mental model that white anti-racists could use to better address privilege in their own lives. Part of that model included a list of “reminders” that people could use to keep privilege in mind throughout the day, which included wearing a white wristband. Because privilege is easy to forget and we can’t change what we can’t remember, the list provided tools for remembering. The same schematic is also used in our workbook, The Great White Elephant: A Workbook on Racial Privilege for White Antiracists.

For six years we sold the workbooks and offered the article to the public, all without negative comment. Then in early March, A VISTA program in Wisconsin conducted a diversity training  program (we were not involved in that program) and uploaded to their website a list of resources that were offered to their participants. The previously-listed schematic was at the very bottom of that list with a click-through link that made for easy downloading.

I knew nothing about the VISTA program or website until I received a message on our business voicemail from a man who identified himself as “Tim” from Campus Reform, a group dedicated to “combat(ting) leftist abuses and bias on campus.” I returned Tim’s call without getting a response, but during the next days Beyond Diversity received several distressing telephone messages on our voicemail. Two of the messages were the playback of country western songs that prominently included the “n-word” in their  choruses. Another set of four messages were from an individual who assumed a stereotypical “Stepin-Fetchit-style” voice,  asked for the “head anti-racist in charge,” and ranted for over ten minutes about our being part of  a large, ill-defined conspiracy.

Still another caller left a message in which he introduced himself as a former military person who recently fought a “minority” opponent during a boxing match. He stated that although he had “beat the *&^!!!!!” out of his opponent,  the “minority” judge refused to award him the victory. “My girlfriend is black…I’m not racist,” he stated, but if we “thought that white people should wear wristbands,” then we should “have our hands cut off,” and didn’t “deserve to be Americans.” He also told us that we better “take down” our website. A raft of similar messages from others followed for several days.

Some especially disturbing reactions to the schematic came through the internet. One website featured a video that referred to the previously-mentioned VISTA program and then  likened our wristband suggestion to the Nazi requirement that Jews wear Star of David armbands. During the narration of the video, the site actually had an animation of a white wristband going onto an outstretch hand followed by a photograph of a Nazi officer mistreating a Jewish man during World War II. Other sites and discussion boards—including ones sponsored by Neo-Nazi groups—followed suit and continued to perpetuate four primary errors: (1) racial privilege does not exist,  (2) the Beyond Diversity Resource Center was  trying to “force” white people to wear wristbands,  (3) our aim was to make white people feel guilty, and (4) our motive was to cause racial division, or if not, our misguided ideas would do so anyway.

The above-described comments and commentary are not only nasty, they are also wrong. Learning about privilege is important and will actually bring us together as a society; but not everyone is ready for that challenge—for some people, like those I mentioned in this post, grappling with privilege requires too much humility, self-reflection, and thoughtfulness. But at the Beyond Diversity Resource Center, we want to lift up the greater number of people who think that learning about privilege and other diversity concepts will help heal our society and make it more inclusive.

Because of all that has happened, we’ve decided that it is especially important not to let learning about privilege be misconstrued as something evil or divisive. You can help us by purchasing a wristband—”Understand Privilege-Fight Hate—and telling others what privilege really means.

To buy wristbands, click here.

Forum: A Conversation on Race in America

by robinpar

I’ll be a panelist at this panel discussion in Mount Laurel, New Jersey on Saturday, May 5th from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.. I think conversations about race are fascinating and important, and I’m happy to join this one, sponsored by the Southern Burlington County NAACP and the South Jersey/Alice Paul Chapter of NOW.

My friend, Valorie Caffee, will also be a panelist. Valorie is a long-time community organizer with a wealth of insight and knowledge about many aspects of social justice work. Valorie will also be a  featured facilitator at Beyond Diversity’s August 17, 2012 workshop, “Organizing for Social Change: An Anti-Oppression Approach.

The panel discussion will be primarily questions about race from the moderator and the audience, so I can’t say with any certainty what particular topics will be covered. I wonder, however, what you think about such conversations. Do you think they’re helpful? I know that some people think that a forum such as this one is “preaching to the choir,” but I’ve heard other people say that the choir needs to go to church too.

—Always interested in your opinions,


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