Sunday, September 9, 2007

There's Lots of Hidden Diversity Out There

This afternoon I watched a portion of comedian Steve Harvey’s family friendly stand-up performance in his concert film “Don’t trip: He aint through with me yet,” performed before an audience of 16, 0000 churchgoers at an Atlanta-based gospel gathering.

During this performance he confesses to a laundry list of imperfections and life experiences that evolved from his past. Harvey amusingly utters, “There are things that you know about me from just looking at me!” He later added that as a comedian “he sees stuff that others don’t see” and that his uses this observant eye to find the humor that he uses in his unique style of comedy. All joking aside, I suspect that this list of “lived experiences” have informed his life and moved him to where he is today.

Whether you agree or disagree with his typical brand of blue material humor, it occurred to me these descriptions were a reflection of his own brand of “hidden diversity.” If you are aware of his hidden diversities that he shared during this act, it might be easier to surface why he is dedicated to surface why is passionately committed to providing equipment to lower income schools though his foundation and to participating speaking engagements where he stresses the importance of goals and the warns of the dangers of drugs to young audiences.

As acknowledged by Steve Harvey, that if you stop at the observable aspects of an individual’s personhood, you run the risk of missing out on all that exists at the deeper level of their identity, and that offers the potential of bringing forth gifts that can be used for the benefit others who may cross their path.

Are their parts of your identity that if surfaced may reveal all that you have to offer in the way of your own brand of gifting?


Friday, September 7, 2007

Why This Blog on Hidden Diversity

Welcome to our blog. It is our vision to engage in a different kind of cultural diversity discussion regarding the gifts and challenges of people who grew up in many types of cross-cultural backgrounds (e.g. traditional Third Culture Kids (TCKS, immigrants, bi-racial/bi-cultural, etc.), as well as the experiences of employees of international corporations, missionary communities, the miliary and and other expatriates to see what is shared among virtually all groups and what is distinct to each type of experience. We envision this as a way to expedite the discussion for all groups while also affirming the distinctiveness of each.

Why this Blog

In 2003, we interviewed parents from a variety of countries and cultures whose children were then attending school in the U.S. Each of their children had also gone to school in countries outside the U.S., some to local schools, some to more specifically international type of schools. In our conversations with this diverse group of parents around issues connected to their children's educational experiences due to their internationally mobile lifestyle, a distinctive pattern began to emerge. Often, assumptions and expectations were ascribed to these students were based upon external identity markers and expectations that may or may not have been accurate. ... often resulting in missed opportunities for their teachers and peers to benefit from their “more hidden” gifts that have evolved through this lifestyle.

What came from this research gave birth to what we now call "hidden diversity." Hence, the focus of this blog will be to:

1. Engage in discussion about the increasing number of people who have grown (or are growing) up cross-culturally for many different reasons recognize that they have a core skills set that has been formed from their very lives

2. Help others recognize that there are a cadre of people existing in virtually every workplace, school, or neighborhood environment with these core skills sets but that often these skills are not being recognized or used because those who possess them do not fall into the usual expectations or markers for recognized “diversities.”

3. Provide information that is relevant for people who teach, work, and live with those from cross-cultural backgrounds recognize some of these common gifts and challenges a cross-cultural childhood may bring so they can also help their students, workmates, and family members more intentionally and fully develop their strengths.

Paulette and Ruth