Ellen Degeneres takes Bic pens for women to task

Ellen Degeneres uses her sharp wit to critique Bic pens new line for women. I am always amazed when major companies can have results like this given their enormous decision-making chains. Understanding gender norms is a complex thing, but this seems so basic as to not even be believed.

One of my favorite things about this is how Ellen uses video and social media for social critique and change. Are our students prepare to do the same things to combat steretypes? If Ellen's 1.4 million views (as of 11/3/12) are any indication, they should be.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Discussing Race

Jay Smooth is host of New York's longest running hip-hop radio show, the Underground Railroad on WBAI 99.5 FM. Here he shares a better worldview on conversations on race. It's not about being a racist vs. not being a racist. There is real, inbetween, space. From TEDxHamshireCollege.

Preventing racist Halloween costumes

I am thankful for the work of Ohio University's Students Teaching About Racism in Society (STARS) who came up with this poster campaign. It's a small group that has suddenly become a bit of an internet sensation (Colorlines).

They are college students making strong statements about how we can each make healthy choices over hurtful choices for Halloween. While keeping race and ethnicity in mind, it is important to talk to students about provocative costumes, and how objectification of women (in particular) is equally problematic.

How does your school go about getting into a mess with costumes?

Gender Transformative ABC's - incredible resource for breaking traditional gender norms

Rigid, narrow codes of tradition masculinity and femininity drive poorer reproductive health outcomes, homophobia and gender-based violence. This is especially true among at-risk youth, like those who are of color or LGBT.

To improve outcomes, there has been an increased focus and commitment on "gender transformative” interventions and policies. Gender Transformative approaches question, challenge and change rigid gender norms and inequities. Major international donors–like PEPFAR, UNAIDS, USAID and WHO–have already endorsed Gender Transformative interventions.

Truechild.org is a wonderful resource for grappling with the issue of combating traditional gender norms for young people. This is essential reading/understanding for all educators. Use TrueChild's "learn the facts" section to get yourself up to speed, fast. Our kids need us on this issue as much as any other.

Thinking about #DiversityScorecard at ed conferences like #tedxnyed. Audre Lorde's words are pressing on me.

Audre Lorde's seminal piece about using patriarchy to upset patriarchy (read it below) is stirring in me as I think about how we as educators need to think about diversity of attendees/presenters at educational innovation conferences like TEDxNYED. On Saturday I found myself reconnected to a familiar conference past time...where are all the people of color?

So I called for a lunch meeting to fire up a new idea of addressing the issue. I thought, let's create a diversity scorecard. In my mind the scorecard is a little widget that conferences would put on their site that would show their "diversity grade." This initself is a somewhat preposterous idea. As an informed person, I know that you can't give diversity a grade on an A-F scale. It's too complicated. But, knowing who is present is a start to dialog. And in fact, it forces you to face the reality of who has access to the space. So, over 20 minutes after a wonderful lunch dialog with some smart folks, we banged out a survey dealing with identity of those at TEDxNYED, and here are the results thus far (or see images below). @bkolani, one of the TEDxNYED curators said that he would include the survey in the post-conference e-mail, that so that will help get more data. There is much work to do on this, and if you're interested (and capable) of helping me build the diversity scorecard widget, do let me know! My programming skills just aren't up for this one right now.