Mauritius Embracing Diversity

Featured

Mauritius, 2017

Survival Requirement: Embracing Diversity

Dr. Roxanne Meshar, M.Div., D.Min.

Thank you for your invitation and generous hospitality! Also I’d like to thank Mary’s Pence (maryspence.org) for their endorsement letter and ongoing support of my work. It is an honor for me to be here with all of you.

My professional background is posted here.

In order for participants to more easily view or translate my presentation (using a smart phone), the presentation slide text follows.

Creator Spirit

Help us respond to our call to be members of one family.

Guide us to constant peaceful concern for sisters and brothers throughout the world.

Make us mindful of the needs of those who endure the injustices of war, hunger, poverty,

that we may live in harmony and unity with others.

Renew our commitment to our global family.

Beyond Borders, Catholic Relief Services

 

There is no “objective” reporting or writing

  • Every article, book, report has a point of view – cultural, historical, linguistic, geographical or psychological
  • The question:  is the bias disclosed?

 

Whose story
and how we tell it

  • History of American First Nations
  • History of chattel slavery in North America
  • Who decides? Who benefits?

 

Learn how to identify events and systems

  • Creating a system of under privilege and over privilege in the U.S.
    • Representative government benefits elites
    • Pay for education with property taxes
  • Always ask, “Who benefits?”

 

Wealth transfer and poverty creation in our time

  • Inequality in pay creates generational poverty
  • Charity – who benefits?
  • Unregulated capitalism allows unethical businesses to monopolize industries, create laws for their own benefit

 

What to do?

  • Help build awareness and empathy “muscles”
  • Develop and enrich our own personhood through engagement with those who are different

 

Exercises can build diversity awareness and empathy

  • Identify our own social location
  • “Simon Says” or My View games
  • Games can teach values of sharing, cooperation, inclusion

 

Embracing diversity is not optional – it is required for our survival

  • Diversity creates cultural richness
  • Increases our curiosity about others
  • Builds awareness, empathy, resilience
  • Develops our personhood, humanity
  • Is a critical survival skill

 

Embracing diversity:

  • Informed by Christian Doctrine of Trinity
  • Political, subversive, dangerous
  • Yet essential for our survival and the survival of our planet

 

Workshop

  • Demonstration of fast, easy exercises for all ages
  • Helps to develop empathy and compassion “muscles” for life

Thank you. Merci.

The Workshop: Here you will see demonstrations of fun, quick and easy exercises that help build compassion and empathy (collected over the years and around the web) –

Simon Says uses the childhood game of the same name to show that not everyone begins life with the same advantages.

My View allows us to learn from points of view different from our own.

Stand Where You Stand – for now. Our opinions and ideas are always changing.

Describing our social location reminds us that our point of view is quite limited!

Popular games can also be a source of learning. Prophetopoly (by Jeff Dols, Monopoly in reverse), the game of Life and others can be played with the same rules, but the objectives are changed so that all are cared for. This helps build cooperation, compassion, empathy.

What Can Women Do To Resist Patriarchy?

Patriarchy is the primary source of poverty. Since those struggling with poverty are primarily women and children, it behooves us to ask what we as women can do to end the patriarchal system that causes so much poverty.

Poverty: Speak Differently, Think Differently, Act Differently

Excellent article from BillMoyers.com  because speaking and thinking about poverty differently will allow us to create different, more effective solutions for change.

Two main points that are the focus of the article:
1. “we need to stop talking about the economy in ways that make it seem like the weather. The economy is a result of the rules we create and the choices we make. The people who are struggling to make ends meet do so because we have built — through intentional choice — an economy that produces inadequate incomes for more than one-third of all Americans. So we need to have a real debate about what to do to build an economy that doesn’t produce such misery.”
2. Instead of saying “poverty” or “the poor” – which is abstract and no one identifies themselves this way – use terms from real experience “such as not being paid enough to cover the bills, making difficult trade offs between basic necessities, inadequate or irregular work hours or not being able to save for retirement or college. Then you have to quickly connect it to shared values. In our research, the most powerful value was family — not only do people identify family as a primary identity but it is the fear or reality of not being able to provide enough for family members that motivates people to get into the debate or take action. (emphasis mine)
To read the full article click:

“What American Dream?”

Appropriate reminder for the Fourth of July –

From “What American Dream?: One in Four People Now Live in High Poverty Neighborhoods” on recent Census Bureau data:

The Bureau found that in the decade between 1990 and 2000, the percentage of people living in these concentrated low-income communities dropped from 20.0 percent to 18.1 percent. However, in comparison, from 2000 to 2010, that percentage grew from a whopping 18.1 percent to 25.7 percent. And, “while the overall population grew by 10 percent over the decade, the number of people living in poverty areas grew by about 56 percent.” In raw numbers, more than 77 million people lived in these poor neighborhoods in 2010.

and this:
Whether it’s the toll that having an under educated, unskilled population takes on the economy when youths aren’t able to be hired for jobs, or the inability of a family to afford nutritious food, which results in obesity and disease and boosts healthcare costs, we all feel it. No matter where we live, one way or another we’re all impacted by what happens to folks who grow up in an impoverished neighborhood. (bold added)

Roxanne here: We can no longer afford the high cost of poverty we create by diverting money from the public purse to corporate welfare.

How does your state create poverty? Here’s an example of how we create poverty “Minnesota-style.” Read this Bloomberg article on the death of shopping malls (“Goodbye, Malls of America“):

. . . Minnesota’s legislature approved $250 million in tax benefits to help pay for a doubling in size of the country’s second-biggest mall, Mall of america. The money came from a fund set up to reduce economic disparities between rich and poor areas.” (bold added)

This money was designated for helping Minnesota’s poor communities. Now it’s going to corporate welfare queens. Inequality doesn’t just “happen.” We create poverty. People don’t just happen to be poor. People are made poor – by the collective action or inaction of all of us.

You may also like What is White Privilege? and Poverty is a Luxury We CanNOT Afford.