Wordsanctuary Revisited

Musings of a writer-teacher-counselor.

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Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

I am inquisitive and have worked in writing, editing, and teaching. I am a citizen of the USA and also concerned about the world. This is an addendum to my original blog, Wordsanctuary. That's at www.wordsanctuary.blogspot.com Please check out my column at www.insidehighered.com, "A Kinder Campus." Click on Career Advice to find it. Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Multicultural Musings

One of the highlights of the past semester was a course in multicultural education that I took at John Carroll University, taught/led by Joan Steidl. The text by Derald Sue and David Sue, Counseling the Culturally Diverse, was a launching pad. Reading the comments about the book on Amazon is a spirited mini-course in itself.

We thought about issues of older Americans, Native Americans, African Americans, Arab Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, women, immigrants of other groups, people with disabilities, people who are gay . . . and many other populations. The intermingling of insights of the class was fascinating and, I feel, opened some interglobal understanding, too. Even if more questions were raised than answers, that is fine...

For many weeks, classmates who are community counseling and school counseling students did carefully researched presentations on the history, conditions, and interventions helpful with various groups.

I considered myself "multiculturally savvy" before this class. I grew up in a multiethnic neighborhood, with different languages spoken all around me. I have worked in environments in which a variety of backgrounds is the norm. I teach students who represent the world at large. I use literature and creative nonfiction in the classroom, works penned by creative souls of many races, eras, and experiences.

Yet -- and maybe in part because of this awareness -- the course led to an explosion of new insights and more and more questions. It was a challenging, illuminating, and even heart-rending experience.

I revisited my interest in American Indian/Native American studies, especially history and trauma; I have just scratched the surface again. I sensed echoes of what Taylor Branch said in a talk I covered once for the News-Herald; I'm paraphrasing loosely; he said that all history might be considered, in a sense, a chronicle of what happens between insiders and outsiders. Those of us living on North American soil might have a special reason to learn a bit more.

In 2010, I wonder if anyone still reading this far might consider just one more mode of insight into the "other," however you choose to define it. Another article. Another conversation. Another class.

Photo credit (public domain): Coastal Area 51 (Pacific), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Blue is believed to be a good color to promote creativity, I read in a Psychology Today article recently. Sadly, no source for that--but maybe experience is enough. Click on the picture. Say: Ahh!


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