Facebook - Susan Naimark

What does it mean to teach our youth to "fit in" to the mainstream culture?

Published 02-29-2016

This question recently sparked a thought provoking and lively discussion in my graduate course with teachers-in-training.  I was sharing a framework for cultural proficiency, and remarked that being inclusive of diverse cultures does not dismiss the need to teach children what they need to know to succeed in the mainstream culture. But what exactly is the mainstream culture? A couple of students who grew up outside the U.S. responded that this country’s culture is not monolithic, and that ha...

Do you really want to go there?

Published 02-29-2016

That was the reaction of some community development organizations to NeighborWorks America’s newly launched Race, Ethnicity, Diversity and Inclusion Initiative. Yet, there is also a tremendous amount of good will among community development leaders and staff who recognize the need for, and value of, addressing issues of equity and inclusion head-on. Most agree these issues are critical in the face of stark racial disparities in wealth, continuing discriminatory lending practices, and changing...

The Power of Possibility

Published 11-09-2015

I am honored to be part of a number of other efforts to awaken new possibilities for racial justice in this country. I am excited to have been invited to help shape NeighborWorks America’s new Race, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Initiative. I am hopeful that Community Change Inc. in Boston has recently brought together under its’ banner several dynamic racial justice organizing efforts that engage white people, including an anti-racism meetup and local chapter of Showing u...

Educating the Educators

Published 09-21-2015

I now have 3 years under my belt of teaching new teachers about race, culture, community, and their role in creating a more just society. When my own kids were growing up, I couldn’t figure out why their schools never took on these issues. Even after a shooting in the playground adjacent to their elementary school, the faculty didn’t want to discuss the escalating violence. “It’s too big for us to take on. We’re not equipped to talk about it.” WHAT? Slowly, I came to realize that ...