Thursday, March 25, 2010

Light Refreshments

I attended this Building Inclusion Workshop and wondered how I was going to negotiate food and water chugging. Light refreshments were provided and I knew that meant donuts or bagels or both. I took fruit and Greek yogurt just in case.

The workshop, sponsored by The National Conference for Community and Justice, was held in conjunction with the RACE: Are We So Different? exhibit currently at The MO History Museum.

One of the coolest segments was The Hapa Project, a photo/essay exhibit featuring mixed-race Asians. One of the most touching photos was of a young boy (Filipino, Mexican, Irish) who wrote:

I’m just a very little boy in 5th grade that has nofrands.
Interesting RACE factoid:

Diet, health and genetics – not race – determine height.
I stopped by the hypertension booth that talked about the stress of racism being a contributing factor regarding the higher rate of hypertension among African Americans.

My blood pressure was 113/80 and my pulse rate was 59 which is normal.

After viewing the exhibit and taking notes on my designated area of reportage, the wealth display, I headed back to the room. After the workshop participants finished viewing the exhibit and before our discussion, we had to read The Group Agreement which read in part:

  • Listen

  • Be Honest (Embrace Honesty)

  • Speak in the “I”

  • Trust in the Process

  • Work An Issue, Not The Person

  • Lean Into Discomfort

  • I’m so glad that I was able to participate in this workshop and see the exhibit. And take aways? Some Group Agreement principles can also be applied to weight loss: lean into discomfort, trust the process and be honest.


    1. I would love to see that exhibit at the museum. I've been asking lately, is there any biological basis to the concept of race? It seems the more we know about genetics, the more the answer is No. It seems to be a social construct, not a physical one. How much would it change our world and totally blow some people's minds if a scientist was able to say, definitively, "No such thing, we are all one people." If nothing else, there'd be a lot of reprinting of the latest census form to do :)

    2. It sounds like a wonderful conference. Is that statement about height correct? What about the Asian people who are very healthy (little heart disease, etc) but are shorter in stature? Is that a function of diet or just genetics? Made me think this morning.

      Good for you on bringing your own healthy food!

    3. I'm so impressed that you took fruit and yogurt with you instead of diving into the pastries. Smart!

      What a wonderful workshop to attend. Building Inclusion is something I've been striving for in my workplace but without much success. One of my colleagues finally told me, "You have to just realize that people just aren't going to agree on this. So just lay down the law and let them deal with it. Stop trying to please everyone." I was trying to negotiate my way through and make everyone feel that they've been listened to. But....

      Well anyway, it's early morning here and I am trying to convince myself that I need to go out for a run, even though it's still dark outside. Have a great weekend :)

    4. @gingersnapper,

      This woman who went to the workshop with me said that when she went to a conference in D.C. this Native American gentleman said that, and she paraphrased it more eloquently, that we are all equal (we came into the world the same way and we will exit the same way) and we need to treat each other with respect accordingly.

      @Diane Fit to the Finish,

      That's a good question that you pose about height.


      I've started to carry food everywhere which can be quite amusing to other people. Of course, there are some folks who tell me that they need to bring their food too.

      Kudos to you for your workplace efforts. It all starts with one person even though it might seem like the obstacles faced are insurmountable.