Thank you to the police officer who showed up last night to address the loud fight that broke out within a group of black kids in the middle of the road. The situation clearly needed some attention.
Thank you for responding calmly to the child who was clearly agitated and upset. Yes, he was yelling and swearing at you. No, he didn't want to be put into cuffs or get into the back of your squad car. But he is a kid and you are a police officer.
Thank you for being patient and responding compassionately to the other kids still standing in the street and arguing with you.
Thank you for calling for back-up to help you de-escalate the situation.
Thank GOD the back-up police officer did not make the situation worse.
Thank you for noticing my husband and I standing in the street watching you.
Thank you for not trying to tell us to put away our cameras or go back in our house.
That was not going to happen.
And thank you for not wasting your breath asking us why we were there.
You know why we were there.
So, thank you police officers, for doing your jobs the way you should do them. For responding appropriately and ensuring everyone's safety.
But please understand that we were there because we did not trust you to do your job. It is not personal--we have never met you before. But too many situations with police officers and black kids have ended in violence. Too many black men, women, and children have been killed by police officers.
So, we will stand in the street in our pajamas all night if that is what it takes. We will have our cameras ready. We will return your eye contact so you have no doubt we are watching.
We will remind you that you are accountable to all members of this community. We will remind you that we will not stand for any member of our community to be treated with anything less than the dignity and respect that all people deserve.
Until all police officers put peace above power and love before hate. We will be there.
Black Lives Matter.
Britney G Brinkman, Ph.D.
A re-post of my contribution to the APA convention blog.
Most images of older women in the U.S. media are based on stereotypes about older adults. The "Raging Grannies" are shattering those stereotypes.
The Raging Grannies are activists who promote peace, justice, social and economic equality through song and humor. Attendees at the convention session Aging and Raging Well Women, Art, and Activism were lucky to see them in action, singing on such topics as double standards for women and men related to aging and climate change.
These women are not alone in their efforts to fight stereotypes about older women. Mary Gergen described her research, which finds that older women feel invisible as they age, disappearing at work and in public. "The irony," Gergen said, "is that at the same time one becomes invisible, she is also experiencing her most wise and self-fulfilled time of life."
Gergen commented on the many ways that ageism affects older women, sharing her own experiences being called “honey” by shopkeepers. Ageism can also include jokes about older adults and assumptions that one is no longer interested in (or capable of) being actively engaged in work or hobbies. Stereotypes about older adults are so pervasive that many older women have internalized ageism — some are reluctant to visit community centers or move into assisted living facilities because they don’t want to spend time with people who are “old.”
Just like other forms of bias, it is important for psychologists to speak out against ageism and resist stereotypes about older adults. “Let’s be celebratory and joyful while we attack barriers related to ageism,” said Maureen McHugh of APA's Div. 35 (Society for the Psychology of Women).
Another blog I am re-posting from my contribution to the APA Convention blog. Be sure to check out all of the convention blogs.
Do you know that feeling when you hear something really meaningful? For me it often involves a pit in my stomach and the chills. It is not an entirely pleasant feeling, but it is a helpful reminder that something important is happening that I don’t want to miss.
That’s the feeling I got at the beginning of the session "Working with Critical Gate Keepers to Ensure Safety and Justice for Boys and Men of Color." I was moved right away by Dr. Christopher Liang’s passionate opening in which he described why he and Dr. Helen Neville decided to co-chair the symposium. He shared his reactions to the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, (and other similar incidents) and called on psychologists to do more to address the epidemic of police violence against boys and men of color.
The speakers covered a range of important topics. Warren Spielberg, PhD, discussed the experiences of boys of color in school, including the fact that many are accused of cheating if they do well, are blamed for fights, and are generally described in negative ways. Many boys cope with this treatment through academic dis-identification, where they decide it is better not to care about school than to experience the emotional pain that could accompany these interactions.
Most of the panelists discussed the fact that psychologists can play a larger role in screening and training police officers to reduce bias against boys and men of color. They can work with community members to develop guidelines and use the research on prejudice reduction to train police officers. This work is often challenging and it may take years to develop relationships with police departments. Lorraine Greene, PhD, noted that “strong partnerships between police and males of color require trust and confidence to have legitimacy and justice.”
Nevertheless, the success stories shared during the symposium were inspirational and provided the audience with practical suggestions about how to do this work in our home communities. The symposium ended with a call to action—audience members were given notecards to write down our plans to put what we learned into practice in their own lives.
Change can start with us.
I have had the great privilege of contributing to APA's Convention blog over the past few days. I decided to repost a few of the entries here. Be sure to check out all of the convention blogs.
'But How Do I do It?' Application of Theory to be Focus of Revised Mulitucultural Guidelines
Only 20 percent of doctoral degrees in psychology go to students of color, despite the fact that 40 percent of Americans are people of color, according to Nayeli Chavez-Duenas, PhD. Even with the shifting demographics in the United States, studies have demonstrated low levels of cultural competency among psychologists. The proposed revisions to APA's multicultural guidelines are designed to address this problem by offering concrete suggestions for preparing psychologists to become multiculturally competent.
The current guidelines were approved in 2002 and have been studied in most psychology training programs, providing important direction about preparation of psychologists for working in a diverse world,
"Addressing culture within psychology requires complex thinking," said Patricia Arredondo, EdD, one of the lead scholars working on the proposed revisions. This comment reflects the spirit of the revisions, which will seek to build on the current guidelines by maintaining the core principles, while emphasizing ways to operationalize and apply the values.
I regularly teach our required diversity/ multicultural competence course to master's students and one of the questions they often as me is, "But how do I do it?" Getting buy-in for the importance of multicultural competence is a needed first step for some students but even those who fully embrace the idea in theory struggle to learn how to put it into practice. The proposed revisions offer strategies for just that.
The new guidelines would offer ways to deconstruct and increase self-awareness about one's own ethnic identity, said Hector Adames, PsyD. They provide specific recommendations about developing awareness about various aspects of identity (such as one's identity as a white person), while encouraging psychologists to "use multiple lenses to understand complex processes, especially complex human experiences and identities, " according to Adames.
I am especially enthusiastic about the proposed recommendations for skill development, including how to engage in dialogue and behavioral change.
Although the revisions are not yet available (they are undergoing the approval process within APA), I am excited to take what I have learned back home with me. I will certainly be integrating some new ideas as I prepare my fall syllabi in the coming weeks.
EMPOWERTAINMENT aims to take a critical look at media in regards to how gender and women/girls are portrayed. From popular articles, videos, and websites, to original submissions, we want to not only examine the media and its relation to gender, but help shift it.