The Hundredth Monkey

Inspiration for individuals who want to affect change and shift some paradigms…

The Hundredth Monkey by Ken Keyes, jr.

Japanese Macaca Fuscata monkeys

The Japanese monkey, Macaca fuscata, had been observed in the wild for a period of over 30 years.

In 1952, on the island of Koshima, scientists were providing monkeys with sweet potatoes dropped in the sand. The monkeys liked the taste of the raw sweet potatoes, but they found the dirt unpleasant.

An 18-month-old female named Imo found she could solve the problem by washing the potatoes in a nearby stream. She taught this trick to her mother. Her playmates also learned this new way and they taught their mothers too.

This cultural innovation was gradually picked up by various monkeys before the eyes of the scientists.

Between 1952 and 1958 all the young monkeys learned to wash the sandy sweet potatoes to make them more palatable.

Only the adults who imitated their children learned this social improvement. Other adults kept eating the dirty sweet potatoes.

Then something startling took place. In the autumn of 1958, a certain number of Koshima monkeys were washing sweet potatoes — the exact number is not known.
Continue reading The Hundredth Monkey

What is diversity?

An interview with Dr. Lani Roberts, “What is Diversity?”

Turn up your speakers or plug in your headphones. This is an audio interview with Oregon State University Philosophy professors, Dr. Lani Roberts and Dr. Joseph Orosco.

It’s part of ENGAGE.

ENGAGE is the podcast program of global culture, transformative concepts, and engaged philosophy produced by the Department of Philosophy, in collaboration with the Grassroots Learning Project at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon.

Each podcast presents a conversation with innovative thinkers about the ideas and values that constitute contemporary life. ENGAGE seeks to understand the challenges that face our society and the solutions that offer hope for a better world.

Stanford starts a trend

In what I hope will be a trend-setting event, Stanford University has instituted a new policy for female graduate students who wish to have children while attending school.

The new childbirth policy has four components:

All female graduate students–including those in the professional schools–who are pregnant or have recently given birth and who are registered and matriculated:

  • are eligible for an “academic accommodation period” of up to two academic quarters before and after the birth, during which the student may postpone course assignments, examinations and other academic requirements; and
  • are eligible for full-time enrollment during this period and will retain access to Stanford facilities, Cardinal Care student health insurance and Stanford housing.
  • Students also will be granted an automatic one-quarter extension of university and departmental requirements and academic milestones–with the possibility of up to three quarters by petition under unusual circumstances. (A Ph.D. qualifying exam is an example of an academic milestone.)
  • In addition, female graduate students supported by fellowships, teaching assistantships, and/or research assistantships will be excused from their regular teaching or research duties for a period of six weeks during which they will continue to receive support.

Apparently, MIT has a childbirth policy on the books that was enacted in 2004. Princeton University has a childbirth policy that includes males and females who want to have children.

I applaud Stanford University for their policy.

Questions for bell hooks

If you could ask bell hooks 3 questions, what would you ask her?

bell hooks is coming to Lewis & Clark College!

An evening with bell hooks
bell hooksWednesday, February 1, 2006 at 7 p.m.
Agnes Flanagan Chapel
bell hooks

A passionate scholar, Bell Hooks is among the leading public intellectuals of her generation. Although hooks is mainly known as a feminist theorist, her writings cover a broad range of topics on gender, race, teaching and the significance of media for contemporary culture. She strongly believes that these topics can not be addressed separately, but must be understood as being interconnected. Like Paulo Freire, hooks sees education as the practice of freedom, Profoundly influenced by Freire, she sees his ideas as affirming her “right as a subject in resistance to define reality” (Teaching to Transgress, p. 53). She has written over 20 books including, “Feminist Theory from Margin to Center”, “Yearning: Race, Gender and Cultural Politics”, “Breaking Bread: Insurgent Black Intellectual Life” (Co-authored with Cornel West), and “Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom”.

Born in Hopkinsville, Kentucky in 1952, hooks, received her B.A. from Stanford University in 1973, her M.A. in 1976 from the University of Wisconsin and her Ph.D. in 1983 from the University of California at Santa Cruz.

This is a ticketed event.

Tickets are no longer available.
There will be a free simulcast in Templeton Student Center, Council Chamber.

hooks’ book Teaching Community changed my views on life as a higher education professional. It is an extremely powerful book.

Income inequality

Mind the gap: Income inequality, state by state
From CNN Money.com by way of BlackFeminism.org.

Mind the Gap: Income inequality, state by state
The Economic Policy Institute and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities ranked each state according to the ratio of the average income for the top 5% of families to the average income for the bottom 20% of families. Income listed is after federal tax and includes capital gains. Click on state name for more statistics on major cities and towns.
Rank State Avg income of top
5% of families
Avg income of bottom
20% of
families
Top-to-bottom
ratio
1 Arizona $223,081 $15,719 14.2
2 Texas $203,174 $14,724 13.8
3 New
York
$216,061 $16,076 13.4
4 New
Jersey
$268,889 $20,391 13.2
5 Kentucky $193,766 $14,814 13.1
6 Tennessee $187,026 $14,303 13.1
7 Florida $199,892 $15,396 13.0
8 California $207,363 $16,773 12.4
9 North
Carolina
$183,253 $14,884 12.3
10 Pennsylvania $223,152 $18,548 12.0
11 Massachusetts $233,108 $19,690 11.8
12 Maryland $253,923 $21,480 11.8
13 Arkansas $163,908 $13,888 11.8
14 Alabama $172,029 $14,765 11.7
15 Washington $195,170 $16,911 11.5
16 Louisiana $153,334 $13,347 11.5
17 Kansas $209,125 $18,284 11.4
18 New
Mexico
$157,011 $13,748 11.4
19 Colorado $215,109 $18,983 11.3
20 Illinois $203,876 $18,032 11.3
21 Michigan $200,814 $17,927 11.2
22 West
Virginia
$147,434 $13,208 11.2
23 Virginia $200,191 $18,110 11.1
24 Connecticut $231,928 $21,003 11.0
25 Mississippi $145,342 $13,456 10.8
26 Hawaii $208,340 $19,294 10.8
27 Ohio $195,175 $18,216 10.7
28 Rhode
Island
$200,859 $18,916 10.6
29 South
Carolina
$157,634 $14,957 10.5
30 Indiana $195,217 $18,590 10.5
31 Maine $164,232 $15,975 10.3
32 Oregon $175,976 $17,367 10.1
33 Minnesota $223,411 $22,608 9.9
34 Utah $192,142 $19,594 9.8
35 New
Hampshire
$226,178 $23,128 9.8
36 Georgia $158,382 $16,345 9.7
37 Oklahoma $150,011 $15,483 9.7
38 Missouri $176,320 $18,482 9.5
39 Nevada $180,521 $19,143 9.4
40 Vermont $176,291 $18,846 9.4
41 Delaware $188,435 $20,225 9.3
42 Montana $135,164 $14,788 9.1
43 Idaho $162,923 $17,847 9.1
44 North
Dakota
$147,519 $16,805 8.8
45 Alaska $180,148 $20,533 8.8
46 Wisconsin $174,919 $20,197 8.7
47 South
Dakota
$155,427 $18,353 8.5
48 Iowa $155,722 $18,503 8.4
49 Nebraska $160,862 $19,242 8.4
50 Wyoming $145,587 $18,171 8.0
Note:
Analysis based on data from the Census Bureau’s Current Population
Survey.

Google censors Chinese internet users

I am not happy with the fact that Google is censoring Chinese web users. Google’s motivation for this censorship is blatantly obvious. By complying with China’s government, Google is saying that they are still a capitalist endeavor. Google’s Senior Counsel said it in less obvious terms, “In deciding how best to approach the Chinese–or any–market, we must balance our commitments to satisfy the interest of users, expand access to information, and respond to local conditions.” Aren’t Chinese users interested in all forms of information? Even if it is listed as subversive? How exactly are they expanding access by censoring a person’s ability to find information? The last bit about local conditions is the key phrase to Google’s money driven philosophy. This saddens me greatly.

W3C Accessibility Guidelines

If you create, design, or manage a website, this is very important. The ableism that occurs in the brick and mortar world is found in the virtual environment within flash ridden swf files and inaccessible web pages. Please join me in creating an accessible online environment.

W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

[Priority 1]
A Web content developer must satisfy this checkpoint. Otherwise, one or more groups will find it impossible to access information in the document. Satisfying this checkpoint is a basic requirement for some groups to be able to use Web documents.

[Priority 2]
A Web content developer should satisfy this checkpoint. Otherwise, one or more groups will find it difficult to access information in the document. Satisfying this checkpoint will remove significant barriers to accessing Web documents.

[Priority 3]
A Web content developer may address this checkpoint. Otherwise, one or more groups will find it somewhat difficult to access information in the document. Satisfying this checkpoint will improve access to Web documents. “

Oppression and the Bird Cage

OPPRESSION
by Marilyn Frye

It is a fundamental claim of feminism that women are oppressed. The word “oppression” is a strong word. It repels and it attracts. It is dangerous and dangerously fashionable and endangered. It is much misused, and sometimes not innocently.

The statement that women are oppressed is frequently met with the claim that men are oppressed too. We hear that oppressing is oppressive to those who oppress as well as those they oppress. Some men cite as evidence of their oppression their much-advertised inability to cry. It is tough, we are told, to be masculine. When the stresses and frustrations of being a man are cited as evidence that oppressors are oppressed by their oppressing, the word “oppression” is being stretched to meaninglessness; it is treated as though its scope includes any and all human experience of limitation or suffering, no matter the cause, degree or consequence. Once such usage has been put over on us, then if ever we deny that any person or group is oppressed, we seem to imply that we think they never suffer and have no feelings. We are accused of insensitivity; even of bigotry. For women, such accusation is particularly intimidating, since sensitivity is on eof the few virtues that has been assigned to us. If we are found insensitive, we may fear we have no redeeming traits at all and perhaps are not real women. Thus are we silenced before we begin: the name of our situation drained of meaning and our guilt mechanisms tripped.

But this is nonsense. Human beings can be miserable without being oppressed, and it is perfectly consistent to deny that a person or group is oppressed without denying that they have feelings or that they suffer…. Continue reading Oppression and the Bird Cage

The “Game of Oppression”

NASPA is the largest association for student affairs practitioners in the world. I recently attended the NASPA Multicultural Institute in Las Vegas, Nevada. I had a great experience at the institute. The presentations and discussions were very meaningful. I learned a lot about the work that is being done at schools all over the US.

One “educational tool” that was presented at the institute was the “Game of Oppression.” I was slightly curious about this “game” due to its title and the fact that it was being presented to us as an educational instrument for diversity work. A presentation of the “game” was held at the same time as another session that I attended, so I missed out on seeing the “game” in action.

The other day, I received an email from NASPA with a link to the “Game of Oppression.” Apparently NASPA is taking pre-orders for this thing. Here’s the description:

While college campuses are becoming increasingly diverse, many students still find it difficult to step outside of what is familiar and interact with students of different races, religions, classes, abilities or sexual orientations. Students may pass each other on campus and attend classes together, but few develop meaningful relationships with others from different backgrounds. The Game of Oppression is designed to encourage and challenge individuals from different backgrounds and experiences to engage in authentic dialogue.

Game of Oppression

The Game of Oppression is an innovative interactive training program designed specifically for use by student affairs professionals. The program equips diversity educators with strategies to encourage students to take full advantage of the diversity on their respective campuses and in their communities. The game provides a “safe space” for authentic dialogue around the issues of oppression.

I spoke with a colleague who attended the presentation about the “game.” She was appalled. My colleague is White and she said that this “game” does not create a “safe space” and that it is basically an exercise in tokenization. Further reading of the game’s description says that the game’s goal is to help participants “achieve enlightenment.” The game is somehow supposed to do this in 3 to 4 hours!

Who is supposed to be enlightened? Is this a game for dominant group participants?? Will it marginalize people of color, people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, people who do not believe in religion, etc??? Is this another exercise in diversity being taught through the lens of dominant culture ideology????