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Coals to Newcastle
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I'm off today to a mandatory training session on "Team Building." I don't know whether or be amused or insulted. Probably bemused, now that I come to think of it. The training course is pre-established; I am attending because I got caught in the net when it was spread to catch certain categories of attendees.

Last year the spring course was entitled, "Multiculturalism in the Workplace." I actually walked out of that one during the midmorning break. I refused to listen to stereotyping of ethnic groups and the identification of certain peoples as "other" is anaethma (not that I can spell it, but you know what I mean). Nor will I be made to feel guilty or ashamed of my own ethnic heritage.

At the lunch break I went back to the class. As soon as everyone was assembled I was asked why I had left. I gave my reasons and there was lively discussion, much of which could be boiled down to this: You white people discriminated against us, and now it's our turn.

No use explaining that my own anscestors were involved in the Underground Railroad, our home as a safe house. No use explaining that my graduate degree was in a cross-cultural area. No use describing how I have spent most of my adult life in one way or another in service to 'people of color' and their children. I was judged by the color of my skin, as so many have been throughout history. I feel a connection with them all.

What is it about us humans that we judge a book by its cover? My dog doesn't care about your ethnic background, whether you're rich or poor, whether you're Catholic, Protestant or from another planet. But we humans judge and condemn as "other" anyone who is different.

Speaking of books and covers, I'm reading one now with a lurid and ridiculous cover. I don't dare bring it to work!

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