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Difference Matters

Dr. Brenda Allen

Welcome! This site provides resources on diversity, identity, and communication for educators, students, trainers, and anyone interested in social identity differences such as gender, race, age, social class, ability, sexuality, nationality, and religion (and their intersections). Although I designed this site to supplement my book, Difference Matters: Communicating Social Identity, it can be useful whether you use my book or not.

Basically, I want this site to be a rich repository of insight and information for anyone who seeks to enlighten and educate people about matters of difference, as well as anyone who seeks to be enlightened. I will be adding materials, so please return again and again. Also, please contact me if you have questions, ideas, or resources you would like to contribute. My email address is Brenda.J.Allen@ucdenver.edu.

Difference Matters


A Resource on Diversity, Identity, and Communication

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"This is a splendid book... Difference Matters provides instructors who care about difference matters with an excellent 'road map' of how to teach them. Bravo!" - Julia T. Wood University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Difference Matters: The Book

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Overview

Allen's proven ability and flare for presenting complex and oftentimes sensitive topics in nonthreatening ways carry over in the latest edition of Difference Matters. Her down-to-earth analysis of six social identity categories reveals how communication establishes and enacts identity and power dynamics. She provides historical overviews to show how perceptions of gender, race, social class, sexuality, ability, and age have varied throughout time and place. Allen clearly explains pertinent theoretical perspectives and illustrates those and other discussions with real-life experiences (many of which are her own). She also provides practical guidance for how to communicate difference more humanely. While many examples are from organizational contexts, readers from a wide range of backgrounds can relate to them and appreciate their relevance.

This eye-opening, vibrant text, suitable for use in a variety of disciplines, motivates readers to think about valuing difference as a positive, enriching feature of society. Interactive elements such as Spotlights on Media, I.D. Checks, Tool Kits, and "Reflection Matters" questions awaken interest, awareness, and creative insights for change.

Related Resources

Information and Insight about Teaching Diversity

 


 

Social Justice Website

My Massive List of Social Justice Resources by Miriam

Interactive Websites

Harvard Implicit Association Tests
"Project Implicit blends basic research and educational outreach in a virtual laboratory at which visitors can examine their own hidden biases. Project Implicit is the product of research by three scientists whose work produced a new approach to understanding of attitudes, biases, and stereotypes.  The Project Implicit site (implicit.harvard.edu) has been functioning as a hands-on science museum exhibit, allowing web visitors to experience the manner in which human minds display the effects of stereotypic and prejudicial associations acquired from their socio-cultural environment."  [From the Project Implicit Website:  http:///www.projectimplicit.net/generalinfo.php]

UnderstandingPrejudice.org A web site supplement for a McGraw-Hill anthology entitled Understanding Prejudice and Discrimination. The publishers allow access for anyone "interested in the causes and consequences of prejudice."  Contains a variety of interactive exercises and over 2,000 links to various resources, including searchable databases.

Race:  The Power of an Illusion
Online companion to RACE - The Power of Illusion, a three-part PBS documentary series produced by California Newsreel. The site contains a wealth of information for educators and the general public, including self-paced interactivities, background readings, a moderated discussion with scholars, a discussion guide, transcripts, and more.

Eugenics Archive
This fascinating site contains a variety of information and photographs about the American Eugenics movement. "Eugenics was, quite literally, an effort to breed better human beings – by encouraging the reproduction of people with "good" genes and discouraging those with "bad" genes. Eugenicists effectively lobbied for social legislation to keep racial and ethnic groups separate, to restrict immigration from southern and eastern Europe, and to sterilize people considered"genetically unfit."" [From the Eugenics Archive website]

The Generation Gap: Talking about Your Generation
This site contains essays and interactive polls related to various age groups in the United States.

RACE: Are We So Different?
A project of the American Anthropological Association's online resource for an interactive educational museum program that explores race in society, history, and science.

Diversity in the Workplace

Workplace Diversity Network Professional Resources
This site lists a variety of articles about diversity in the workplace.

Profiles in Diversity Journal
An ejournal about diversity issues in business, government, non-profit, higher education and military settings.


Resource Websites on Disability

http://www.invisibledisabilities.org/
The Invisible Disabilities Association encourages, educates and connects people and organizations touched by illness, injury and disability around the globe.

https://www.disability.gov/education
The federal government website for comprehensive information on disability programs and services in communities nationwide.

http://www.nad.org/
The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) is the nation's premier civil rights organization of, by and for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States of America.

http://www.ncwd-youth.info/
A Wealth of information about employment and youth with disabilities.

Video Resources for Teaching Communication and Difference/Diversity

LINKS TO SHORT VIDEOS ABOUT SOCIAL CLASS

Class Dismissed: How TV Frames the Working Class video clip
Seven-minute clip from the documentary Class Dismissed: How TV Frames the Working Class, based on the book by Pepi Leistyna. Examines narrow working class representations across the history of U.S. television. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIJENf-s6r4

Tammy’s Story
Clip from the PBS documentary “People Like Us: Social Class in America.” Tells the story of Tammy Crabtree, a working-class woman who lives in rural Waverly, Ohio. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8VXrHeLqBA

Bill Moyer's Journal - Rising Inequality in America
Moyer interviews “Nickel and Dimed” author Barbara Ehrenreich on rising inequality in America http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvcvdC2d0So&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PL68FB33945A347CF4

Social Class in America (1957)
“Sociology” video from 1957 asserts that America offers vertical mobility, which not only achievable in our society—but one that “is particularly characteristic of the United States.”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHACox2UamQ&playnext=1&list=PL0C30C20A977E537F

FILMS

Generation Next - Speak Up, Be Heard (2007)
One-hour documentary (aired on PBS) about 16-25 year olds in the United States. For more information, see: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/generation-next/documentary/

Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible (2006)
Features experiences of white women and men who have worked to gain insight into what it means to challenge notions of racism and white supremacy in the United States. (50 minutes). World Trust Educational Services, Inc. Oakland. http://www.world-trust.org/videos/visible.html

Race - The Power of an Illusion 2003 [VHS or DVD]
Three-part documentary (56 minutes each) which "questions the very idea of race as biology, suggesting that a belief in race is no more sound than believing that the sun revolves around the earth." For more information, see: http://www.newsreel.org/nav/title.asp?tc=CN0149

Skin deep 1995 [videorecording]
An Iris Films production ; producer, director, Frances Reid ; writers, Sharon Wood, Frances Reid.
A diverse group of college students reveals their honest feelings and attitudes about race and racism. Students are interviewed alone, and then discuss the issues in a group setting.

In whose honor? 1996 [videorecording]
Indian mascots and nicknames in sports / written, produced and edited by Jay Rosenstein.
Discussion of Chief Illiniwek as the University of Illinois mascot, and the effect the mascot has on Native American peoples. Graduate student Charlene Teters shares the impact of the Chief on her family. Interviewees include members of the Board of Regents, students, alumni, current and former "Chiefs" and members of the community.

Publications by Brenda J. Allen

2011 Allen, B.J. (When and how) do I tell?:  Disclosing social identity in personal relationships. In: D. Braithwaite and J. Wood (Eds.). Casing interpersonal communication: Case studies in personal and social relationships (pp. 173-179). Kendall/Hunt.

2010 Allen, B. J. Critical communication pedagogy as a framework for teaching difference. In: D. Mumby (Ed.) Organizing difference: Pedagogy, research, and practice (pp. 103-125). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

2010 Allen, B.J. Social constructions of a black woman's hair: Critical reflections of a graying sistah. In: R. Spellers and K. Moffitt (Eds.). Blackberries and redbones: critical articulations of Black hair/body politics (pp. 66-77). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.

2009 Allen, B. J. "With you we got a twofer": Challenging the affirmative action hire stereotype. In: E.L. Kirby and M. C. McBride (Eds.). Gender actualized: Cases in communicatively constructing realities (pp. 139-140). Dubuque, IO: Kendall/Hunt.

2007 Allen, B.J. Theorizing communication and race. Communication Monographs 74, pp. 259-274.

2006 Allen, B.J. Communicating race at WeighCo. In J.T. Wood and S. Duck (Eds.) Composing relationships: Communication in everyday life (pp. 146-154).

2005 Allen, B.J. Social constructionism. In: S. May and D. Mumby (Eds.). Engaging organizational communication theory and research: Multiple perspectives (pp. 35-53). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

2004 Allen, B. J. Sapphire and Sappho: Allies in authenticity In A. Gonzales, M., Houston, & V. Chen: Our voices: Essays in culture, ethnicity, and communication (4th Edition) (pp. 198-202). Los Angeles: Roxbury Publishing Co.

2002 Allen, B.J. Goals for emancipatory communication research on Black women. In M. Houston & O. Davis (Eds.) Centering ourselves: African American feminist and womanist studies of discourse (pp. 21-34). Creskill, NJ : Hampton Press.

1998 Allen, B.J. Black womanhood and feminist standpoints. Management Communication Quarterly 11: 575-586.

1999 Allen, B.J., Orbe, M., & Olivas, M.O. The complexity of our tears: Dis/enchantment and (in)difference in the academy. Communication Theory 9: 402-430.

2009 Ashcraft, K.L., & Allen, B.J. Politics even closer to home: Repositioning CME from the standpoint of communication studies. Management Learning, 40(1), 11-30.

2003 Ashcraft, K. L., & Allen, B. J. The racial foundation of organizational communication. Communication Theory 13: 5-33.

About the Author
Brenda J. Allen

Author Brenda J. Allen

Bio

Brenda J. Allen (Ph.D., Howard University) is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion (Chief Diversity Officer) at the University of Colorado Denver. She also is a Professor of Communication and she serves as Master Mentor of the Tenure Track Faculty Mentoring Program at the university. Her research and teaching areas are organizational communication, diversity, group communication, and critical pedagogy. Among her numerous publications is a groundbreaking book entitled Difference Matters: Communicating Social Identity, 2nd. Ed., (2011, Waveland Press). In addition to performing her duties at the University, she presents keynote speeches and conducts workshops and consultations on a range of topics, including self-empowerment, diversity, leadership, inclusion, strategic planning, presentational speaking, mentoring, and teamwork.  

Dr. Allen has received numerous awards and accolades, including the Francine Merritt Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Lives of Women in Communication from the National Communication Association (2004). In January 2006, she received the first Annual Award for Outstanding Achievement for Commitment to Diversity at the University of Colorado Denver. She also was named a Master Teacher (2007-2008) by the Western States Communication Association. In 2011, she received the first Annual Award for Excellence in Faculty Mentoring from the University of Colorado Denver and the Paul H. Boase Prize for Scholarship from Ohio University for distinguished scholarship in the field of communication; she also was the Carroll C. Arnold Distinguished Lecturer at the National Communication Association’s annual convention. She received the 2013 Elizabeth D. Gee Memorial Award from the University of Colorado system, which honors an outstanding faculty member for efforts to advance women in academia, interdisciplinary scholarly contributions and distinguished teaching.  

Consultation

Brenda J. Allen provides a variety of consulting services for corporate, university, governmental, and individual clients.  For more information, please contact her at BJOYA@AOL.COM.

2011 Schedule

January 10, 2011 
Presenter, Northern New Mexico College;  Espanola, NM
Professional Development Workshop on Equity and Diversity

January 17, 2011 
Keynote Speaker, Frasier Meadows Manor Retirement Community; Boulder, CO
“Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”   
7:30 p.m.  

January 20, 2011 
Facilitator, Kennesaw State University; Kennesaw, GA 
Professional Development Workshops for Faculty   
 

February 7, 2011 
Keynote Speaker, University of Akron; Akron, OH
“Difference Matters: Communicating Identity in the U.S.”   
6:00 p.m.  
Student Union Theatre

March 10, 2011 
Presenter, HERS Wellesley College 
“First Generation College Students: Public Policy and Personal Action” 

March 23, 2011 
Oklahoma State University - ADVANCE Program 
“Communicating Gender Matters”   

March 25-26, 2011 
Adams State College;  Alamosa, CO
“Difference Matters in Higher Education”   

April 7, 2011 
American Association for Women in Community Colleges  
“Mindful Leadership: What's in It for Me?” Greeley Country Club; Greeley, CO
5:30 - 8:30 pm

April 20, 2011 
Keynote Speaker:  University of Cincinnati 2011 Diversity Conference  
“Diversity & Inclusion:  Accelerating the Transformation” 

May 10, 2011 
Keynote Speaker:  St. Louis University  
“Preparing for the Future:  Communicating Inclusivity” 

May 18, 2011 
University of Cincinnati
“Mentoring Faculty and Staff” 

June 18-July 2, 2011 
Bryn Mawr College             Faculty Member and Curriculum Coordinator
Higher Education Resource Services (HERS) Summer Institute 

September 16, 2011 
Academic Management Institute:  Vail, CO
“EmpowHERment for Women Leaders”

October 3, 2011 
Kent State University
“Communication and Negotiation”; “Communicating Gender and Race”

October 4, 2011 
Case Western Reserve University; Cleveland, OH
“Communication and Negotiation”; “Communicating Gender and Race”

October 5, 2011 
Case Western Reserve University
“EmpowHERment Workshop for Underrpresented Minority Women Staff”

October 21, 2011 
Ohio University; Athens, OH
“Communicating Difference Matters in Higher Education”

Publications by Brenda J. Allen

2011 Allen, B.J. (When and how) do I tell?:  Disclosing social identity in personal relationships. In: D. Braithwaite and J. Wood (Eds.). Casing interpersonal communication: Case studies in personal and social relationships (pp. 173-179). Kendall/Hunt.

2010 Allen, B. J. Critical communication pedagogy as a framework for teaching difference. In: D. Mumby (Ed.) Organizing difference: Pedagogy, research, and practice (pp. 103-125). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

2010 Allen, B.J. Social constructions of a black woman's hair: Critical reflections of a graying sistah. In: R. Spellers and K. Moffitt (Eds.). Blackberries and redbones: critical articulations of Black hair/body politics (pp. 66-77). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.

2009 Allen, B. J. "With you we got a twofer": Challenging the affirmative action hire stereotype. In: E.L. Kirby and M. C. McBride (Eds.). Gender actualized: Cases in communicatively constructing realities (pp. 139-140). Dubuque, IO: Kendall/Hunt.

2007 Allen, B.J. Theorizing communication and race. Communication Monographs 74, pp. 259-274.

2006 Allen, B.J. Communicating race at WeighCo. In J.T. Wood and S. Duck (Eds.) Composing relationships: Communication in everyday life (pp. 146-154).

2005 Allen, B.J. Social constructionism. In: S. May and D. Mumby (Eds.). Engaging organizational communication theory and research: Multiple perspectives (pp. 35-53). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

2004 Allen, B. J. Sapphire and Sappho: Allies in authenticity In A. Gonzales, M., Houston, & V. Chen: Our voices: Essays in culture, ethnicity, and communication (4th Edition) (pp. 198-202). Los Angeles: Roxbury Publishing Co.

2002 Allen, B.J. Goals for emancipatory communication research on Black women. In M. Houston & O. Davis (Eds.) Centering ourselves: African American feminist and womanist studies of discourse (pp. 21-34). Creskill, NJ : Hampton Press.

1998 Allen, B.J. Black womanhood and feminist standpoints. Management Communication Quarterly 11: 575-586.

1999 Allen, B.J., Orbe, M., & Olivas, M.O. The complexity of our tears: Dis/enchantment and (in)difference in the academy. Communication Theory 9: 402-430.

2009 Ashcraft, K.L., & Allen, B.J. Politics even closer to home: Repositioning CME from the standpoint of communication studies. Management Learning, 40(1), 11-30.

2003 Ashcraft, K. L., & Allen, B. J. The racial foundation of organizational communication. Communication Theory 13: 5-33.

Ideas & Questions?

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I want to hear from you!

DifferenceMatters.info is our resource, so let's build it together. Please send me suggestions or content that you think I should add.  Also, give me feedback on what else I might include.  Thank you very much.

brenda.j.allen@ucdenver.edu