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Thursday, June 06, 2013

How Can the Profession Practice What It Preaches?

APA In her review of Making Our Voices Heard: Women of Color in Academia, Jessica Henderson Daniel notes the candid disclosures of the academics participating in the volume. The narratives provide an opportunity for women in academic positions not only to "compare and contrast their reactions and responses to those incidents presented in the book" but also to consider whether "there might be more effective strategies, for example, consultations and alternative ways to conceptualize the situation." Henderson Daniel also highlights the role of mentoring in women's success in the academic environment and notes that the book itself could serve as a discussion topic within a mentoring context. In addition, she suggests readings from psychology to help readers place the narratives in perspective. Although psychology has produced scholarship that can facilitate processing the narratives and discussions presented, have the discipline and the profession critically examined the experiences of women of color in the profession today? To what extent do stereotypes continue to affect participation, productivity, and longevity in the field? Are we overdue to take advantage of insights from our own profession?

Read the Review
ReviewAnchored and Linked: Women of Color Write About Life in the Academy
By Jessica Henderson Daniel
      PsycCRITIQUES, 2013 Vol 58(22)


Monica Fung

I am not familiar with the academic environment in America but the description of microagression in Sue et al (2007) and interracial biases and distrust in Dovidio et al (2002) sound familiar. These discriminations also exist in other multicultural setting other than within America. It can occur in business setting such as multinational corporations also. As a Chinese living in Hong Kong, I tend to agree, as indicated in Dovidio et al (2002), that most of the North Americans in business setting have an explicit egalitarian attitude. However, the implicit biases are unconscious to them. Last month I have a meeting in in Canada to review our talents in various regions in the company for purpose of calibration. The HR directors indicated that the “high potential talents” from Americas, Europe and Asia will be required to participate in a conference specifically design for them. In the conference, they are expected to deliver presentations in front of all the audiences and actively participate in discussion forums. I indicated that some of the Asians in my team have problem to do so. The Japanese manager is a quiet man and cannot speak English. The Thai manager is a soft spoken young man and he will feel very anxious to do so. The Canadian HR Director told me that, in this case, I should re-consider if they are really high potential talents. I pointed out that it is culturally insensitive as assertiveness is not necessarily a positive attribute value by Asians. They work very well in their respective countries and are well respected. Most of my colleagues (white Canadians and Americans) in the meeting room echoed my view, as most of them have dealt with the Asian people before. I felt the subtle biased and unfriendliness from the HR director, not because of his challenge to my Asian team but his implicit attitude towards me as a Chinese woman, despite that I hold a higher rank than him in the company. I wondered if the HR Director, as a Black, had experienced and hurt by microagreesion or implicit interracial biases in his career life before; and it became contagion.
Dovidio, J. F., Gaertner, S. H., Kawakami, K., & Hodson, G. (2002). Why can’t we all just get along? Interpersonal biases and interracial distrust. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 8, 88–102. doi:10.1037/1099-9809.8.2.88
Sue, D. W., Capodilupo, C. M., Torino, G. C., Bucceri, J. M., Holder, A. M. B., Nadal, K. L., & Esquilin, M. (2007). Racial microaggressions in everyday life. AmericanPsychologist, 62, 271–286. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.62.4.271

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Editor of PsycCRITIQUES

Danny Wedding, PhD

Chair of Behavioral Sciences,
College of Medicine,
American University of Antigua

Associate Editors of PsycCRITIQUES

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