Friday, December 28, 2007

Political Correctness - Good or Bad?

Political Correctness - Good or Bad?
By Kevin D. Moore

As with anything good, too much of it can be bad. Unfortunately, this may have happened or is happening with Political Correctness (a.k.a. PC.)

I must admit that I have been very happy with the kindlier gentler world that has resulted from the internalization of PC by my fellow brothers and sisters of the human race in America. Of course, for me, being PC all the time has not been easy. I have had my share of missteps just like anyone else.

For example, I once stated that someone was deaf. I was immediately informed that I was not being PC and that the more appropriate term was hearing impaired. Upon realizing the error of my ways, I immediately changed my verbiage. The good thing was that being PC would help me not to offend anyone. However, I was later informed that stating that someone was hearing impaired was not PC and the proper term was in fact deaf. So here is the bad part; I am now confused! I do not know what to do or say. I was trying not to be offensive but was anyway (depending on whom you talked to.)

Fortunately, my resolve and desire for the greater good (being PC) were not derailed by my confusion. This is especially true given the goodness that has personally been bestowed upon me. As a Black American, this goodness was manifested in the way that people addressed or referred to me. Specifically, I am for the most part no longer openly referred to as being a Boy, Colored, Negro, or the "N" Word all terms that I find offensive to some degree given their past history. And, thanks to PC, these words have almost been eradicated. This is a good thing!

But as I mentioned earlier, too much of a good thing can be bad. For example, from a cultural perspective, many White Americans have said to me that they are afraid to say things reference Black Americans because it might not be PC. More importantly, they are highly concerned with the backlash that they may experience for not being PC or the pain that they may inadvertently cause.

Unfortunately, this concern or fear to say the wrong thing is creating an environment where people are more unlikely to openly discuss issues, differences, or observations with respect to people. Without this dialogue, there is a tendency for people to continue to misunderstand each other, not improve relations, and limit social problem solving.

In other words, we must communicate with each other if we ever hope to make this world a better place. In lies the problem. To improve communications, it is important to be PC so as not to offend. But it must be balanced. Too much PC can backfire and limit communications.

That's where courage comes in. You and I must be courageous enough not to allow PC to limit our dialogue with others.

Is there a greater possibility of offending someone through our courage? Absolutely!

Will it be worth it in the end? Absolutely!

Copyright © 2007 Knowledge Driven & Moore LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Courageous Conversations: The Importance of Interracial Dialogue

Courageous Conversations: The Importance of Interracial Dialogue
Friday, December 14, 2007; 10AM (Eastern)

What would you do if you could ask any question you ever wanted about a group of people but were afraid to ask? What if the question was perceived as offensive, stupid or politically incorrect? Would you ask it? In order to promote inclusion and build bridges of understanding, we must be able to engage in courageous conversations that challenge untested assumptions. On this episode of Diversity Matters™ Kevin Moore, author of Did You Ever Wonder Why Black People Do the Things They Do? discusses the challenges and opportunities in interracial dialogue. Kevin is a Chief Information Officer with the Federal Government, a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, a graduate from West Point and President of Knowledge Driven & Moore. Join co-hosts Judy Seidenstein and Richard Friend in this lively conversation by calling in with your questions, stories and comments at 866-472-5790. Listen to Diversity Matters™ live or on demand at

Please tune in!

Richard & Judy
Diversity Matters is a forum for lively conversation about issues of diversity and inclusiveness. Through conversations with a wide range of key thought leaders and practitioners in the field, the show provides cutting-edge ideas, resources and tools that enable people and organizations to leverage diversity and inclusiveness for high performance. Copyright (C) 2007 Friend & Associates Inc. All rights reserved.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

What In The World Is An African American Anyway?

What In The World Is An African American Anyway?
By Kevin D. Moore

This question was recently asked of me numerous times by White Americans, White Europeans, Black Americans, and others. The funny thing is that I have wondered this too. However, the interesting part about this question is the fact that people are asking it in the first place.

When I think about it, something must not be right. I don't recall ever hearing anyone ask what is an Italian American or German American. So why would anyone ask what is an African American?

I think the first aspect of my wonderment is that I can't seem to figure out how or when I (a year long tan American) stopped being identified as a Black American and started being identified as an African American. I'm sure someone has the answer.

Unfortunately, it is a little fuzzy to me and it seems to be a little fuzzy to others as well. For myself, I'm pretty sure it has something to due with some of my ancestors who probably came from the continent of Africa so long ago. I'm also pretty sure that it has something to do with people wanting to be politically correct. I'm not sure how politically correct it is since I'm a little fuzzy about its use. But, this is what I know.

First, I am an American that happens to be black with some ancestors who are more than likely from Africa.

Second, I recently met a man from Nigeria (a country on the continent of Africa) who is a US citizen. During our conversation, he informed me that he is an African American or more accurately said a Nigerian American. Needless to say, after he pointed out that he was an African American, I began to ponder the use of the term as it applies to me.

Third, I recently met a White American who lived in Africa for 15 years. Believing myself to be witty, I said, "Wow, you are an African American." I was not prepared for his response. He said, "That's funny because my 19 year old daughter speaks the language and considers herself an African American given that since the age of four Africa has been her home. Once again, I began to ponder the use of the term as it applies to me.

Fourth, some White Americans were born in Africa and consider themselves African Americans. Once again, I ponder.

Fifth, a White Frenchmen recently said to me that he has African friends in France and they simply don't understand why 4th and 5th generation Blacks in America are called and considered African Americans. Good question. As stated earlier, I continue to ponder.

So, based on what I know, the second aspect of my wonderment is that if I'm an African American then what in the world are all these other people. They all seem to think they are African Americans. To be honest, I don't mind sharing this identification but these other folks do make me ponder.

Although, I can't speak for everyone else, I'm perfectly happy with being identified as an American first who happens to have a year long tan (a.k.a. Black.)

Right now, it doesn't seem that I have much of a say in what I am identified as other than the fact that I continue to ponder.

Copyright © 2007 Knowledge Driven & Moore LLC. All Rights Reserved.