Olympic College Diversity Conference – Great Job!
Olympic College’s first Diversity Conference was very well done,
with so much good thought provoking information I am still
processing it all.
What I enjoyed most about the conference were the two keynote
speakers: Dr. Joy DeGruy and Yoshiko Harden.
The first keynote speaker was
From her website: “Dr. Joy DeGruy is a nationally and
internationally renowned researcher, educator, author and
The topic of her presentation was Post Traumatic Slave
From the Olympic College Diversity Conference Program “The theory
of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome suggest that centuries of slavery
followed by systemic racism and oppression have resulted in
mutigenerational adaptive behaviors – some of which have been
positive and reflective of resilience, and others that are
detrimental and destructive.”
I was enlightened by her presentation and have bought her book
on the subject, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, America’s Legacy
of Enduring Injury and Healing.
The second keynote was given
by Yoshiko Harden, Vice President for Diversity at Bellevue
Her speech title was “Good Intentions Aren’t Enough; The
Damaging Effects of Microaggressions”
Microaggression was a new concept to me, and some of you may not
be familiar with it either.
From Wikipedia – “Microaggression is a theory that
hypothesizes that specific interactions between those of different
races, cultures, genders or sexual orientation can be interpreted
as small acts of mostly non-physical aggression; the term was
coined by Chester M. Pierce in 1970.”
From the Olympic College Diversity Conference Program: “Often it
is well intended, “nice” people who tend to perpetuate
According to the speech description “Participants will learn to
identify both individual and institutional forms of
microagressions, and learn practical and useful strategies to
address, interrupt,a nd dismantle them.” Yoshiko Harden’s Keynote
speech did all of that for me.
The topic of microaggressions found its way into a couple of the
sessions, and I attended two of those.
One of the things I like about the idea of microagressions is it
helps make sense of something I have seen and felt, but couldn’t
find a way to describe. One thing that comes to mind for me is how
I feel when someone says to me “Wow, you are an engineer?!
Good for you!” (Usually interpreted as ‘you are smart for a
woman’) I also like that the concept helps break down our
overwhelming anti-inclusion systems into bits we can makes sense
of, and find ways to each make a real difference.
There were two videos presented at the conference that showed,
in a humorous way, some examples of microagression.
Kind of Asian Are You? (this video was posted just over a hear
ago and has over 7 millions hits)
100 – Things White People Say to Black People
There were so many good sessions, and I was impressed by the
I look forward to attending the Olympic College Diversity
Conference next year!