N.A.H. Rewind: Top 20 Notes in 2013

As the clock gets closer to the new year, I’m looking back with my own countdown of the Top 20 most visited Notes in 2013.

20An Exercise in Media literacy: Superbowl Bingo

It’s Superbowl time again. You know what else comes with Superbowl time? The commercials. For years, the super bowl commercials have been a big draw to many. However, sometimes an attempt at marketing can further an idea or belief that contributes to the marginalization of others.


19. A Valuable Resource: The Social Worker as a Consultant Series

For any of you who might be interested in getting into consulting, and using your passion and skills to work for social justice in an entrepreneurial way, I’m very happy to share this great resource with you: The Social Worker as a Consultant Series.


18. From Codeswitch: The Questions People Get Asked About Their Race

Yesterday’s note: “Ok, But Where Are You Really From?” highlighted an assumption that can reinforce notions of people of color as being the “other”.  I’m appreciative of the dialogue it sparked with some of my social work friends from the United Kingdom via twitter about how stereotypes can put people in “boxes” that don’t really fit.


17. On Being Black and Non-Christian: Sometimes “Keeping It Real” Goes Wrong

As a person of color who does not identify as Christian, I’ve come to recognize the power behind that question. There’s power in the assumption, and power to dole out negative consequences depending on the answer, even in communities of color.


16. On Communication: Debate vs. Dialogue

Here is a resource I use in engaging and teaching others the skills to foster another, more collaborative kind of communication: Dialogue.


15.“Ok, But Where Are You Really From?”

For this person, who was born and raised in the United States, it was as if responding by mentioning the state, hometown, or both just wasn’t enough when recalling one of those experiences.

“Ok, but where are you really from?”


14. 7 Productive Ways to Manage Yourself When Times Get Rough

The stresses of life can sometimes cause conflict within us internally, and externally in our work and relationships. Although some things may truly be beyond our control, exercising some control over how we respond can be useful in helping us to deal with, and work through challenging times.


13. Respecting Diversity in The Classroom & Beyond: Multicultural Guidelines

I’m re-posting these from a course I took on Facilitating dialogue for Social Justice. The guidelines below are ones that I found useful in creating a space to establish safe environments for discussing and acknowledging issues of diversity, privilege, and oppression not only in the classroom, but in our daily interactions with others.  I try to incorporate them into my work, as well as my life.


12. “How Does it Feel to be a Problem?”

“To the real question, How does it feel to be a problem? I answer seldom a word….being a problem is a strange experience, — peculiar even for one who has never been anything else”—W.E.B. Du Bois from The Souls of Black Folk.


11. 4 Ways to Stay Mindful of Social Justice Issues in Group Work Practice

Social Workers and other social justice advocates can be found serving in a variety of areas, one of which can include doing group work. In my own work with groups, sometimes I encounter the sentiment that group work automatically eradicates experiences of power and privilege, because “everyone is treated the same”.


10. A Resource for Dialogue: White Privilege Denial Bingo

I found this on tumblr today and I wanted to share it here because I thought it could be both a tool for people of color to use in safe spaces to console each other and process common experiences with racism, as well as a resource for dialogue with people who are white to begin to examine the thought processes behind these statements, as well as their impact on the real lives of the people who hear them.


9. Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian (N.A.H.)

My experiences have shown me that in the process of working for social justice outwardly, it is also important for me to continue to critically examine myself; shedding attitudes/behaviors that are oppressive, to make room for those that are more inclusive and humanitarian.


8. Dr. King’s Final Speech: “I Have Been to the Mountaintop”

Many may be familiar with the last few minutes of his famous final speech given on April 3rd, 1968, but you can listen to the speech in its entirety below.


7. Re: “Can I Touch It?” The Fascination with Natural, African American Hair

In terms of beauty and appearance, I still encounter the conscious and unconscious assertion that lighter is better, whiter is better and the closer one is to that ideal, the greater the value they will have in society.


6. It’s Not a Compliment, It’s Harassment

Allies are needed to fight against every type of oppression. We must use our privileges to level the playing field.  Just as people of color should not be solely responsible for ending racism, just as people in the LGBTQ community should not be solely responsible for ending homophobia, women should not be solely responsible for ending sexism in its many forms.


5. Reader’s Share: The Glorification of White Crime

“When you see black or brown people committing crimes on screen, you are to see them thugs and criminal masterminds and people to be beat down.
“When you see white people committing crimes on screen, you see a three-dimensional portrait of why someone might commit that crime, how criminals are people too, and how you should even love them for the crimes that they commit because they’re just providing for their families or they’ve wronged or they’re just people and not perfect. This is particularly a luxury given to white male characters, since there few white female criminals as protagonists.”

4. I will Not Let An Exam Decide My Fate: Spoken Word

Check out this thought-provoking piece on education by poet Suli Breaks.

[hr] 3. 12 Topics About Social Media That I Hope You Write About

Are you a person who is passionate about improving the lives of others in some way, and combines that passion with social media? Starting tomorrow, I’m going to begin to answer these questions myself, but I want to hear from you too.

There is room at the table for all of us. Some of these questions are tailored for Social Work, but feel free to change them to suit your own area(s) of interest or service.


2. 13 Compelling Social Work Blogs

For Social Workers, recognition can often be hard to come by. The successes are often private, while failures can often be public. Sometimes, those who are unfamiliar with the profession can be left with a one-dimensional, stereotypical view of who Social Workers are or what they do.  Now more than ever, it has become increasingly important to tell our own stories, and there are many Social Workers who have taken to the web to use technology to fulfill this end.


1. From RIISE: “Five Myths of Talking About Race With Your Child”

I encourage you to read the article in its entirety because the author goes into more detail about each of these myths, and offers suggestions that could be useful for working against them.


What were your favorites?

Thanks for a great 2013!


From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins, MSW



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Written by

I'm a Social Justice Educator and Aspiring Humanitarian who is interested in conflict resolution, improving intergroup relations, and building more equitable and inclusive communities. "Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian" is my blog, where I write about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

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