Divers.I.teracy is our diversity awareness program.
Diver.I.teracy is a program of SPAN to promote diversity awareness which is pivotal in developing a more inclusive society.
The idea is to use the mediums of film and literature to expose ourselves to the beautifully eclectic world in which we live so that we can develop a more full appreciation of one another and ourselves.
How do you participate? Easy. For the film, you can rent or buy the suggested film and enjoy it alone, or better yet, you get a group of friends together with a little soda and popcorn (or wine and cheese which ever you prefer). For the literature, you can have a reader’s circle with family and friends and discuss ideas inspired by the reading. Absolutely awesome. You can even use this as a social activity for your organization to help develop and maintain cohesiveness.
Every quarter we suggest books, movies and poetry that promote diversity awareness. You can participate as an individual or group, share the experience with family members or a neighbor, or start a forum here on the website to discuss with others online.
Have a suggestion? Please share in the comments section below!
BELOW IS A SAMPLE OF PREVIOUSLY SUGGESTED WORKS AND DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
WINDER QUARTER 2014
- Movie - "Commonwealth"
- Produced By – DirectTV Audience Channel
- Rating - NR
- Genre – Documentary
- Diversity Focus – Education Reform, Civil Rights
- Description – In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's oldest city, Philadelphia, schools are shut down as prisons are being built. An in-depth look at whether life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are possible in the gritty birthplace of American democracy.
The film can be found on DirectTV for their subscribers. View the trailer below:
Book Lovers' Lane
- Story - "Women, Race and Class"
- Author – Angela Davis
- Genre – Non-Fiction
- Diversity Focus – Class, Race, and Gender
- Description- Longtime activist, author and political figure Angela Davis brings us this expose of the women's movement in the context of the fight for civil rights and working class issues. She uncovers a side of the fight for suffrage many of us have not heard: the intimate tie between the anti-slavery campaign and the struggle for women's suffrage. She shows how the racist and classist bias of some in the women's movement have divided its own membership. Davis' message is clear: If we ever want equality, we're gonna have to fight for it together.
This book may be purchased on Amazon.com, and also hopefully may be borrowed from your local library.
SUMMER QUARTER 2012
- Movie - "A Huey P. Newton Story"
- Directed By – Spike Lee
- Rating - R
- Genre – Docudrama
- Diversity Focus – Civil Rights Movement, African American History
- Description – A Huey P. Newton Story is an intimate portrait of Huey P. Newton, the late co-founder of the Black Panther Party. Director Spike Lee and Roger Guenveur Smith collaborate for the 7th time to bring Newton's thoughts, philosophies, history and flavour to life. Adapted from Robert Guenveur Smith's Obie Award winning off- Broadway solo performance of the same name, Spike Lee brings the play from the stage to the screen as only he could. Shot before a live audience, Spike Lee uses his signature mixture of film and archival footage, to capture Newton's "inner mind." The film is complemented by period material and original compositions from sound designer Marc Anthony Thompson, who received an Obie and Audelco Award for his work. Accompanied by an outstanding performance, starring and written by Roger Guenveur Smith, Nominated for two NAACP Image Awards and for winning the Peabody Award. This film is a piece of history that will bring the meaning to "Without Struggle There is No Life".
The film can be found at Netflix.com, Amazon.com, and PBS.og
- What aspect of Huey P. Newton’s life was most profound?
- Is the explanation of the Black Panther Party as explained by Huey Newton what you originally thought of the BPP? If not, in what ways were your thoughts of the BPP different from what was expressed in the film? Were you previously aware of the sixty plus BPP Survival Programs? (See the PBS link for more info on the Community Survival Programs: http://www.pbs.org/hueypnewton/actions/actions_survival.html)
- J. Edgar Hoover stated that the most dangerous aspect of the BPP was its Survival Programs like the free breakfast it served school children. What are your thoughts on such a statement? (See the PBS link for more on J Edgar Hoover’s probe of the BPP: http://www.pbs.org/hueypnewton/people/people_hoover.html)
Book Lovers' Lane
This quarter we’ll actually be using a short story instead of a book.
- Story - "The Lesson"
- Author – Toni Cade Bambara
- Genre – Fiction, Short Story
- Diversity Focus – Comparisons in different socioeconomic classes
- Description- In “The Lesson,’’ Miss Moore has moved into young Sylvia's neighborhood. Miss Moore is unlike the other African Americans in there. She wears her hair in its natural curls, she speaks proper English, she goes by her last name, she has attended college, and she wants to teach the neighborhood children about the world around them. One day Miss Moore takes the children on a field trip. Their destination is the famous Fifth Avenue toy store, F. A. O. Schwarz. Before the group enters, they look in the store windows. They see very expensive toys—a microscope that costs $300, a paperweight that costs $480, and a sailboat that costs $1,195… so begins the day’s lesson.
Click this link to view the story online http://cai.ucdavis.edu/gender/thelesson.html
- Why do Sylvia and Sugar hesitate to go into the expensive children’s store? Is it significant that Mercedes is the most composed of all the children at the store?
- Why does young Sylvia dislike Miss Moore so much? What is Miss Moore’s attitude towards Sylvia?
- How realistic a picture of black inner city youngsters does the author give? What do you think of Sylvia and her cousins?
- How many different socioeconomic differences can you identify in “The Lesson.”
- Poem - "Night Song of the Los Angeles Basin"
- Author - Gary Snyder
- Genre – Free Verse, Nature and Cityscapes
- Diversity Focus – Nature, Animals, Landscapes & Pastorals, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life
- The Poem:
pollen dust blows
Swirl of light strokes writhing
knot-tying light paths,
calligraphy of cars.
Los Angeles basin and hill slopes
Checkered with streetways. Floral loops
Of the freeway express and exchange.
Dragons of light in the dark
sweep going both ways
in the night city belly.
The passage of light end to end and rebound,
—ride drivers all heading somewhere—
etch in their traces to night’s eye-mind
calligraphy of cars.
Vole paths. Mouse trails worn in
On meadow grass;
Winding pocket-gopher tunnels,
Marmot lookout rocks.
Houses with green watered gardens
Slip under the ghost of the dry chaparral,
shrine to the L. A. River
The jinja that never was there
Where the river debouches
the place of the moment
of trembling and gathering and giving
so that lizards clap hands there
come pray, saying
“please give us health and long life.”
Slash of calligraphy of freeways of cars.
Into the pools of the channelized river
the Goddess in tall rain dress
tosses a handful of meal.
Gold bellies roil
mouth-bubbles, frenzy of feeding,
the common ones, the bright-colored rare ones
show up, they tangle and tumble,
godlings ride by in Rolls Royce
wide-eyed in brokers’ halls
lifted in hotels
being presented to, platters
of tidbit and wine,
snatch of fame,
churn and roil,
meal gone the water subsides.
The calligraphy of lights on the night
freeways of Los Angeles
will long be remembered.
Gary Snyder, “Night Song of the Los Angeles Basin” from Mountains and Rivers Without End. Copyright © 2008 by Gary Snyder
- Is the poet successful at describing nature and city-scape in a way that causes you to feel you are actually experiencing the space?
- What social commentary is the author making with use of word choice and phrases such as: "Where the river debouches the place of the moment of trembling and gathering and giving" and "godlings ride by in Rolls Royce wide-eyed in brokers’ halls lifted in hotels being presented to, platters of tidbit and wine, snatch of fame"?
- Some people find this poem has transcendental qualities. Do you agree? If so, what is transcendental about it?
- Some people, regardless of their religious conviction, find transcendental experiences to be a spiritual one. Have you ever had such an experience? At the beach? City Park? On a camping trip?
SPRING QUARTER 2012
Book Lovers' Lane
- Book - "Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes and Black Women in America"
- Author - Melissa Harris Perry (Yes, the lady from MSNC and one of Louisiana's very own)
- Genre - Non-fiction, Mental Health
- Description- Jezebel's sexual lasciviousness, Mammy's devotion, and Sapphire's outspoken anger -- these are among the most persistent stereotypes that black women encounter in contemporary American life. Hurtful and dishonest, such representations force African American women to navigate a virtual crooked room that shames them and shapes their experiences as citizens. Many respond by assuming a mantle of strength that may convince others, and even themselves, that they do not need help. But as a result, the unique political issues of black women are often ignored and marginalized. In this groundbreaking book, Melissa V. Harris-Perry uses multiple methods of inquiry, including literary analysis, political theory, focus groups, surveys, and experimental research, to understand more deeply black women's political and emotional responses to pervasive negative race and gender images. Not a traditional political science work concerned with office-seeking, voting, or ideology, Sister Citizen instead explores how African American women understand themselves as citizens and what they expect from political organizing. Harris-Perry shows that the shared struggle to preserve an authentic self and secure recognition as a citizen links together black women in America, from the anonymous survivors of Hurricane Katrina to the current First Lady of the United States.
Note: This book available at Amazon.com
WINTER QUARTER 2012
- Movie - "The Laramie Project"
- Directed By - Moisés Kaufman
- Rating - NR (Not Rated)
- Genre - Documentary, Crime, Independent Dramas, LGBQT
- Description- On October 6th of 1998 Matthew Shepard was beaten and left to die tied to a fence in the outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming. He died 6 days later. His torture and murder became a watershed historical moment in America that highlighted many of the fault lines in our culture.
A month after the murder, the members of Tectonic Theater Project traveled to Laramie and conducted interviews with the people of the town. From these interviews they wrote the play The Laramie Project, which they later made into a film for HBO. The piece has been seen by more than 30 million people around the country.
10 years later, Moisés Kaufman and members of Tectonic Theater Project returned to Laramie to find out what has happened over the last 10 years. Has Matthew's murder had a lasting impact on that community? How has the town changed as a result of this event? What does life in Laramie tell us about life in America 10 years later? And how is history being rewritten to tell a new story of Matthew Shepard's murder, one that changes the motivation of his killers from homophobia to a "drug deal gone bad" despite all evidence to the contrary?
- Discussion Questions -The film's webpage has it's own discussion materials for download:http://www.laramieproject.org/resources/
Note: Netflix has copies of this film.
Book Lovers' Lane
- Book - "The Sum of My Parts: A Survivor's Story of Dissociative Identity Disorder"
- Author - Nada L. Stotland
- Genre - Non-fiction, Mental Health
- Discussion Questions
- In three words - either as three separate thoughts or three related words - describe your initial response to Olga's experience.
- Have you or a loved one ever had a trying time resolving traumatic experiences?
- Are there things we can do as a society to better accept and assist individuals like Olga?
Note: This book available at Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Sum-My-Parts-Survivors-Dissociative/dp/1572249919
- Poem - "I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud"
- Author - William Wordsworth
- Genre - Existentialism, Spiritualism beyond religious borders
"I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling leaves in glee;
A poet could not be but gay,
In such a jocund company!
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils."
- Discuss the theme of memory as it runs through this poem. How have previous experiences effected how we perceive that which is spiritual?
- Wordsworth portrays an experience with nature as something that reaffirms his being. Have you had such experiences? Walks along the beach or relaxing moments by the lake? Moments while camping or vacationing in the mountains?
- Are such experiences as equally important as religious experiences you may have had at church (or a mosque, or temple, etc)?
FALL QUARTER 2011
- Movie - "Arranged"
- Directed By - Diane Crespo and Stefan C. Schaefer
- Rating - NR (Not Rated)
- Genre - Dramas, Faith and Spirituality, Independent Movies, Independent Dramas
- Description - When Rochel (Zoe Lister Jones) and Nasira (Francis Benhamou) -- an Orthodox Jew and a Muslim, respectively -- meet as new teachers at a Brooklyn school, co-workers and students expect friction. But the women discover they have a shared expectation of entering into arranged marriages. As they experience tension between their traditional cultures and life in contemporary America, Rochel and Nasira form a special bond.
- Discussion Questions -
- What do the natures of Rochel and Nasira's arranged marriages reveal about them as individuals?
- Were Rochel and Nasira powerless?
- When you compare Rochel and Nasira's cultures to one another, what are the differences and similarities you see? Do the similarities outweigh the differences?
- When you compare their cultures with your own, what are the differences and similarities you see? Do the similarities outweigh the differences?
- Culturally speaking, which of their co-workers do you relate to the most? Or do you relate to the main characters the most? Why?
- Note: Netflix has copies of this film.
Book Lovers' Lane
- Book - "Nickel and Dimes: On (Not) Getting by in America
- Author - Barbara Ehrenreich
- Genre - Non-fiction
- Description - Essayist and cultural critic Barbara Ehrenreich has always specialized in turning received wisdom on its head with intelligence, clarity, and verve. With some 12 million women being pushed into the labor market by welfare reform, she decided to do some good old-fashioned journalism and find out just how they were going to survive on the wages of the unskilled--at $6 to $7 an hour, only half of what is considered a living wage. So she did what millions of Americans do, she looked for a job and a place to live, worked that job, and tried to make ends meet.
- Discussion Questions
- Have you ever experienced working in jobs such as Ehrenreich describes?
- Are her findings what you expected?
- Are there other expenses that come with being poor? Additional expenses from an inability to afford fees or fines? An example might be mandatory car insurance, including the fines associated with not maintaining it.
- Does Ehrenreich's portrayal of her experiences reveal prejudices of her own?
- What do you think of her decision to take "breaks from poverty" during her investigation?
- Poem - "Hard Rock Returns to Prison from the Hospital for the Criminally Insane"
- Author - Etheridge Knight
The poem in its entirety, uncensored :
"Hard Rock / was / "known not to take no shit
From nobody," and he had the scars to prove it:
Split purple lips, lumbed ears, welts above
His yellow eyes, and one long scar that cut
Across his temple and plowed through a thick
Canopy of kinky hair.
The WORD / was / that Hard Rock wasn't a mean nigger
Anymore, that the doctors had bored a hole in his head,
Cut out part of his brain, and shot electricity
Through the rest. When they brought Hard Rock back,
Handcuffed and chained, he was turned loose,
Like a freshly gelded stallion, to try his new status.
And we all waited and watched, like a herd of sheep,
To see if the WORD was true.
As we waited we wrapped ourselves in the cloak
Of his exploits: "Man, the last time, it took eight
Screws to put him in the Hole." "Yeah, remember when he
Smacked the captain with his dinner tray?" "He set
The record for time in the Hole--67 straight days!"
"Ol Hard Rock! man, that's one crazy nigger."
And then the jewel of a myth that Hard Rock had once bit
A screw on the thumb and poisoned him with syphilitic spit.
The testing came, to see if Hard Rock was really tame.
A hillbilly called him a black son of a bitch
And didn't lose his teeth, a screw who knew Hard Rock
From before shook him down and barked in his face.
And Hard Rock did nothing. Just grinned and looked silly,
His eyes empty like knot holes in a fence.
And even after we discovered that it took Hard Rock
Exactly 3 minutes to tell you his first name,
We told ourselves that he had just wised up,
Was being cool; but we could not fool ourselves for long,
And we turned away, our eyes on the ground. Crushed.
He had been our Destroyer, the doer of things
We dreamed of doing but could not bring ourselves to do,
The fears of years, like a biting whip,
Had cut deep bloody grooves
Across our backs."
- Did the language of the poem cause offense? Why or why not?
- Does the potentially offensive language of the poem fit the nature of what the poem decribes?
- What does the poem reveal about the treatment of inmates who are identified as criminally insane? Though lobotomies are no longer a prescribed method of treatment for mental illness, has treatment of the criminally insane improved?
- Does the other inmates’ description of Hard Rock reveal that Hard Rock was criminally insane prior to the lobotomy?
- What are other ways in which submission is forced in society among races, genders, classes, etc?