Can diversity be effectively learnt in isolation?

Often we hear people say, “I feel your pain.” This empathetic and well-meaning statement is generally untrue. It is like a man saying that he understands, or can feel, the pain of childbirth. The closest he will ever get is to actively listen to women talk of the pain, and to watch a child being born.

Similarly it is almost impossible for a person to effectively understand diversity whilst learning about “others” in isolation.

Often management groups ask us to teach “us” more about “them.” This is a way of keeping themselves aloof and safe from their diverse staff. Or, we are asked to teach “them” about “our way.” This is a group form of isolation, which substantially reduces the positive impact of diversity awareness training.

It has been our experience that diversity is best learnt, practically, in groups of diverse people. The diversities need to include, as far as possible: Gender, age, race, language, sexual preference, levels, departments, cultures and religions.

When combined in this way the benefits are tremendous. It is firstly possible to upscale the methodologies to a level of fun and competition. Secondly, the resultant interaction ensures long-term learning through the relationships that are built across diversities. Thirdly, there is a huge element of cross diversity team building and respect-building and finally, the lessons gained are either first or second-hand experiential skills.

Diversity awareness, learnt in isolation, will build the intellectual understanding of diversity, the fairness and injustice of diversity. Strong understanding will be gained of diversity and what is acceptable behaviour and what is not.

Sadly very little will be understood – at an emotional and experiential level. This can only be gained through interaction with people of different backgrounds.

Please comment below, or visit our site for more information on Celebrating Humanity Diversity Training programs.

Racist name calling in South Africa.

Name calling never helps.
In South Africa it is deemed hate speech to use the “k” word, particularly if the person saying it is not black. However, as previously stated I have heard on very rare occasions black people using it on each other. The word (kaffir), whatever its origins, is simply hurtful and hateful and not acceptable.
However many black people find it acceptable to call a white person Umlungu (Zulu), Ngamla (Sotho); and Afrikaaner is called “iBhunu” (Boer or farmer); a Muslim would be called a “iSulumani”; and person of Indian descent a “iKhula”. The latter comes from the term Coolie. Any of these names group people in a manner which makes it easier to “define”, or “hate” them. This is simply prejudice at work.
Our politicians – some of whom fought the “struggle” for peace against the Apartheid regime sing old struggle songs – such as “Kill the farmer.” This targets the white group in South Africa, in particular people of Afrikaans descent.
The challenge here is that everything else except the use of the “K” word are not seen as hate speech – by the perpetrators. They believe that they have the right to say and sing divisive and hateful things. Until we can build a nation where we can clearly state One South Africa, One Nation and “At the level of respect, all people are equal” we will still live in a land of “them and us.”
To add a few other dimensions even within, so-called similar races, there exist names for each other. English speaking South Africans are some-times called “Rooineks and Soutpiele” the first meaning rednecks – from the sunburnt appearance of the British soldiers fighting in the Anglo-Boer war. The second is a bit rough and I will not translate it here. Some English speakers call Afrikaners “Dutchmen.” None of which are acceptable.
Amongst Indian-speaking South Africans the word “Coolie” and it’s African language equivalents are not acceptable. Many of this group will call themselves “Charous” – very few however allow others to do so. There are further divisions amongst those who originate from North and South India, with the Hindi-speaking northerners being known as Roti-ous and the Tamil speaking as Porridge-ous. This is derived from the flat bread cooking of the Hindi speakers and the porridge used in prayer ceremonies by the Tamil speaking people. This has become a more fun way to describe each other.
The descriptions of other groups by South Africans of Indian descent – such as vet-ous (White people), Slam-ous (Muslim people) and Bruin-ous are some of the many colourful ways to single out members of other race and religious groups. (The word “ous” is Afrikaans slang for people.)
And then in Africa, tribalism enters into the equation. This is becoming more and more prevalent. We are occasionally called in to resolve team conflict where there are no white people. One of the main challenges listed is racism. Because the cultural beliefs and traditions are so different one group may describe the other as, “animals.”
We do not need to separate by group, this prevents us from knowing people as humans. The time has long come that we should respect each other and venture into other diverse circles to find out what makes us tick. Are we so different? Or are we a bunch of human beings from wonderfully different diversities that have been tainted by our histories. Sadly we are being poisoned by the new wave of political utterings, too.
Let us not make the mistakes of the past. Let us build the future together – based in respect.
Brian V Moore 14 June 2012

I want that medal! Achieving against all odds!

The full Umgeni river thundered and surged around and over the mighty rocks in Graveyard rapid, as we paddled hard for the finish of 1986 Dusi Canoe Marathon. The rear cockpit of our blue racing K2 kayak was cracked from an earlier spill in the tricky uMzinyathi rapid. Suddenly the brown water threw our craft towards the Graveyard’s final obstacle a huge, partially submerged rock.

We pulled hard, Mother Nature laughed at our puny efforts and within an instant we were facing each other. Our weakened canoe was wrapped around the rock. As I fought to push off the rock, Terry elected to roll out into the current. As he did the old blue Foxbat lifted up its tail and sank into the pool below the rapid.

As we pulled the kayak to the bank Terry said in a matter-of-fact way, “Oh well Moore, that’s it.”I looked up from the boat, and said, “I haven’t come this far not to finish this race. I want that medal!.” He looked thoughtfully at me and, in his tough way, said “Ja, you’re right! Let’s fix this … thing!”

As he spoke, my old VW Kombi came winding around the corner loaded with our seconders and patching materials. It was a miracle that we met at this critical time on the 120km race. This merely proved to me that when we total commit to a goal, the necessary resources will miraculously be there for us. The kayak was broken in half, held together by a token strip of fibreglass and resin.

Dusi Canoe Marathon

Achieving against all odds. Brian and Terry Moore

 

As we began patching it with tree branches, duct tape and fibreglass, I reflected on the events of the past three days. This was my third attempt at the Dusi canoe marathon – an epic journey from Pietermaritzburg to Durban. I was ill-prepared on the first attempt and narrowly missed cut-off on a very dry river on the 2nd day of the following attempt.
Terry and I were known as the “Heavyweight Champions” of the Dusi – based only on our weight and little else! We weighed a combined 210kgs which we packed, tightly into a 45kg canoe. This excluded drinking water, wet life-jackets and paddles! We had already covered about 100kms in the intensely oppressive January heat in sub-tropical Natal (KwaZulu Natal) and had according to our growing tradition and a lack of training, just made cut-off on each of the previous days.

We had the strength and skills to negotiate rapids and the mental fortitude to handle long paddling sessions but distinctly disliked the many steep portage sections. In a full river portaging was the safest option, but we ignored the easy way – in pursuit of exciting paddling experiences.Now 20kms of paddle and portage lay ahead of us. There was plenty time left if the canoe was in good condition, but the need to carry the craft would make it difficult to get to the finish before the cut-off.

As soon as we had finished applying the wet resin, fibreglass and branches we picked up the misshapen craft and set-off. Good wishes of our crew and some local residents rang in our ears as we set off on our mission improbable. W

e laughed at the fact that we, of all people, were carrying a canoe next to a perfectly flowing river. We occasionally forded the river, climbed hills and forced our way through “wag ‘n bietjie” (wait-a-bit) thorn bushes. I carried the front of the boat. Behind me Terry was beginning to stumble. Suddenly he and the Foxbat hit the deck. The canoe took on a definite and permanent banana shape! “Are you ok?”, I asked. “Ja.” came the response, “Just a little bit goofed!” Unbeknown to me the resin and catalyst were beginning to gel and the Terry was breathing in the hot fumes. He had never been that high in his life!

After breathing in un-polluted oxygen for awhile we once more headed for the finish. Terry must have become accustomed to the fumes, or begun to enjoy the effects, as he never complained again.Eventually the repairs to our “banana boat” had set and we took to the water below the last rapids and paddled and emptied, paddled and emptied our way towards Durban.

We ran out of drinking water and at times a severely dehydrated Terry seemed a little delirious. We met a group who gave us ice-cold drinking water, just when we needed it most.The news of the pending arrival of the “Heavyweight champions” had preceded us.

Many hours later, with just 14 minutes to spare, we paddled our sinking canoe past hundreds of cheering spectators. We were stone last. As we crossed the line I silently began to cry tears of tiredness, elation and relief. This was my first Dusi finish. We had done it!

Terry still talks today of the steely look in my eyes when I refused to give up, saying, “I want that medal.” He says that knew then that we would definitely finish the race. Often in our lives we make choices. We go with the flow and the naysayers, or we say, “I have come this far… there is NO way that I will give up!”
It is at these points in our lives that our destiny is determined. And it is then, when the Universe celebrates our commitment, and brings to us all the necessary resources to attain our goals. In the power of a decision lies huge opportunity. It is at times like this that we need to honour not only the people who receive the awards, but those who made it possible. To our supporters – the unsung heroes – thanks it is your giving and caring that makes all of life’s successes possible.

Brian V Moore©brian@africa-dreams.com

PS… My Lessons

Whatever stress you are under now – there is a still another “medal” to be won.Live in gratitude for the people who love you, believe in you and support you! Set your goal, patch up your “canoe”, and head for your next critical stage in your life. Together, you can do it!

PPS.

The annual South Africa Dusi Canoe marathon covers approximately 120kms of mountainous terrain and the courses of the Umsundusi and Umgeni rivers. The Kwa-Zulu Natal based race starts in Pietermaritzburg, and ends in Durban – 3 days later.

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Brian V Moore Website

Diversity Training in South Africa

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Contact

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Emotional Freedom – Take ownership! EFT Therapist

In as much as apologies are normally better for the soul of the perpetrator than that of the victim, there comes a time when the victim needs to take ownership for their own emotional state.

We have been fortunate in our lifetime to be blessed by the work of Gary Craig. Founder of EFT (the Emotional Freedom technique), Gary has developed simple, swift and easy ways to reduce trauma, tension, emotional challenges, hate and even physical challenges by dissipating the energy that has been applied to these issues.

People who feel hated or victimised, have issues that they can easily deal with. Or they can contact Brian Moore for a consultation. Or find an EFT Therapist in their area.

Brian V Moore Website

Diversity Training in South Africa

Africa Dreams Website – Celebrating Humanity International

Celebrating Humanity Projects

Team Building in South Africa

Celebrating Humanity Blog

Celebrating Humanity on Facebook

Contact

Mobile: +27 (0)79 643 4457

Fax: +27 866 746 310