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Difference Matters

Dr. Brenda Allen

Welcome! This site provides resources for educators, trainers, students, leaders, community groups, and anyone else who seeks to enlighten and educate people about matters of difference, as well as anyone who personally wants to be enlightened, whether you use my book or not.

NEW! Resources list from Exploring Race Matters 2020 Series

COMING SOON: My online course on Inclusive Leadership: Promoting the Power of Workplace Diversity (Coursera.org)

2021 - the 3rd Edition of Difference Matters!

Please contact me if you have questions, ideas, or resources you would like to contribute: Dr.BJAllen@gmail.com.

Visit my YouTube Channel
or check me out on LinkedIn

Best wishes, Brenda J. Allen, Ph.D.

Difference Matters


A Resource on Diversity, Identity, and Communication

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NEW! Check out my video about

Thinking Under the Influence

a concept described in the book.

Buy Now->

Difference Matters: The Book

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Overview

Allen's proven ability and flare for presenting complex and oftentimes sensitive topics in nonthreatening ways carry over in the latest edition of Difference Matters. Her down-to-earth analysis of six social identity categories reveals how communication establishes and enacts identity and power dynamics. She provides historical overviews to show how perceptions of gender, race, social class, sexuality, ability, and age have varied throughout time and place. Allen clearly explains pertinent theoretical perspectives and illustrates those and other discussions with real-life experiences (many of which are her own). She also provides practical guidance for how to communicate difference more humanely. While many examples are from organizational contexts, readers from a wide range of backgrounds can relate to them and appreciate their relevance.

This eye-opening, vibrant text, suitable for use in a variety of disciplines, motivates readers to think about valuing difference as a positive, enriching feature of society. Interactive elements such as Spotlights on Media, I.D. Checks, Tool Kits, and "Reflection Matters" questions awaken interest, awareness, and creative insights for change.

Related Resources

Information and Insight for Teaching

 


 

Websites about Race, Racism, Anti-Racism

Eugenics Archive - Race and Racialism

Race:  The Power of an Illusion
Online companion to RACE - The Power of Illusion, a three-part PBS documentary series produced by California Newsreel. The site contains a wealth of information for educators and the general public, including self-paced interactivities, background readings, a moderated discussion with scholars, a discussion guide, transcripts, and more.

Interactive Websites

Harvard Implicit Association Tests
"Project Implicit blends basic research and educational outreach in a virtual laboratory at which visitors can examine their own hidden biases.   The Project Implicit site (implicit.harvard.edu) has been functioning as a hands-on science museum exhibit, allowing web visitors to experience the manner in which human minds display the effects of stereotypic and prejudicial associations acquired from their socio-cultural environment."  [From the Project Implicit Website:  http:///www.projectimplicit.net/generalinfo.php]

UnderstandingPrejudice.org A web site supplement for a McGraw-Hill anthology entitled Understanding Prejudice and Discrimination. The publishers allow access for anyone "interested in the causes and consequences of prejudice."  Contains a variety of interactive exercises and over 2,000 links to various resources, including searchable databases.

Eugenics Archive
This fascinating site contains a variety of information and photographs about the American Eugenics movement. "Eugenics was, quite literally, an effort to breed better human beings – by encouraging the reproduction of people with "good" genes and discouraging those with "bad" genes. Eugenicists effectively lobbied for social legislation to keep racial and ethnic groups separate, to restrict immigration from southern and eastern Europe, and to sterilize people considered"genetically unfit."" [From the Eugenics Archive website]

The Generation Gap: Talking about Your Generation
This site contains essays and interactive polls related to various age groups in the United States.

RACE: Are We So Different?
A project of the American Anthropological Association's online resource for an interactive educational museum program that explores race in society, history, and science.

Diversity in the Workplace

Workplace Diversity Network Professional Resources
This site lists a variety of articles about diversity in the workplace.

Profiles in Diversity Journal
An ejournal about diversity issues in business, government, non-profit, higher education and military settings.


Resource Websites on Disability

http://www.invisibledisabilities.org/
The Invisible Disabilities Association encourages, educates and connects people and organizations touched by illness, injury and disability around the globe.

https://www.disability.gov/education
The federal government website for comprehensive information on disability programs and services in communities nationwide.

http://www.nad.org/
The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) is the nation's premier civil rights organization of, by and for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States of America.

http://www.ncwd-youth.info/
A Wealth of information about employment and youth with disabilities.

Video Resources on Communication and Difference/Diversity

Videos about Identity

LINKS TO SHORT VIDEOS ABOUT SOCIAL CLASS

Class Dismissed: How TV Frames the Working Class video clip
Seven-minute clip from the documentary Class Dismissed: How TV Frames the Working Class, based on the book by Pepi Leistyna. Examines narrow working class representations across the history of U.S. television. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIJENf-s6r4

Tammy’s Story
Clip from the PBS documentary “People Like Us: Social Class in America.” Tells the story of Tammy Crabtree, a working-class woman who lives in rural Waverly, Ohio. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8VXrHeLqBA

Bill Moyer's Journal - Rising Inequality in America
Moyer interviews “Nickel and Dimed” author Barbara Ehrenreich on rising inequality in America http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvcvdC2d0So&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PL68FB33945A347CF4

Social Class in America (1957)
“Sociology” video from 1957 asserts that America offers vertical mobility, which not only achievable in our society—but one that “is particularly characteristic of the United States.”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHACox2UamQ&playnext=1&list=PL0C30C20A977E537F

FILMS

Generation Next - Speak Up, Be Heard (2007)
One-hour documentary (aired on PBS) about 16-25 year olds in the United States. For more information, see: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/generation-next/documentary/

Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible (2006)
Features experiences of white women and men who have worked to gain insight into what it means to challenge notions of racism and white supremacy in the United States. (50 minutes). World Trust Educational Services, Inc. Oakland. http://www.world-trust.org/videos/visible.html

Race - The Power of an Illusion 2003 [VHS or DVD]
Three-part documentary (56 minutes each) which "questions the very idea of race as biology, suggesting that a belief in race is no more sound than believing that the sun revolves around the earth." For more information, see: http://www.newsreel.org/nav/title.asp?tc=CN0149

Skin deep 1995 [videorecording]
An Iris Films production ; producer, director, Frances Reid ; writers, Sharon Wood, Frances Reid.
A diverse group of college students reveals their honest feelings and attitudes about race and racism. Students are interviewed alone, and then discuss the issues in a group setting.

In whose honor? 1996 [videorecording]
Indian mascots and nicknames in sports / written, produced and edited by Jay Rosenstein.
Discussion of Chief Illiniwek as the University of Illinois mascot, and the effect the mascot has on Native American peoples. Graduate student Charlene Teters shares the impact of the Chief on her family. Interviewees include members of the Board of Regents, students, alumni, current and former "Chiefs" and members of the community.

Publications by Brenda J. Allen

2017 Allen, B.J. Women as inclusive leaders. In: C. Cunningham, H. Crandall, & A. Dare (Eds.) Gender, Communication, and the Leadership Gap (pp. 13-23). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

2016 Allen, B.J. Optimizing technology’s promise. EDUCAUSE Review, 56, 28-42.

2016 Allen, B.J. & Garg, K. Diversity matters in academic radiology: Acknowledging and addressing unconscious bias.Journal of the American College of Radiology, 13, 1426-1432.

2016 Allen, B.J. Difference matters. Spectra, The Magazine of the National Communication Association, 52,1, 8-13.

2011 Allen, B.J. (When and how) do I tell?:  Disclosing social identity in personal relationships. In: D. Braithwaite and J. Wood (Eds.). Casing interpersonal communication: Case studies in personal and social relationships (pp. 173-179). Kendall/Hunt.

2010 Allen, B. J. Critical communication pedagogy as a framework for teaching difference. In: D. Mumby (Ed.) Organizing difference: Pedagogy, research, and practice (pp. 103-125). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

2010 Allen, B.J. Social constructions of a black woman's hair: Critical reflections of a graying sistah. In: R. Spellers and K. Moffitt (Eds.). Blackberries and redbones: critical articulations of Black hair/body politics (pp. 66-77). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.

2009 Allen, B. J. "With you we got a twofer": Challenging the affirmative action hire stereotype. In: E.L. Kirby and M. C. McBride (Eds.). Gender actualized: Cases in communicatively constructing realities (pp. 139-140). Dubuque, IO: Kendall/Hunt.

2007 Allen, B.J. Theorizing communication and race. Communication Monographs 74, pp. 259-274.

2006 Allen, B.J. Communicating race at WeighCo. In J.T. Wood and S. Duck (Eds.) Composing relationships: Communication in everyday life (pp. 146-154).

2005 Allen, B.J. Social constructionism. In: S. May and D. Mumby (Eds.). Engaging organizational communication theory and research: Multiple perspectives (pp. 35-53). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

2004 Allen, B. J. Sapphire and Sappho: Allies in authenticity In A. Gonzales, M., Houston, & V. Chen: Our voices: Essays in culture, ethnicity, and communication (4th Edition) (pp. 198-202). Los Angeles: Roxbury Publishing Co.

2002 Allen, B.J. Goals for emancipatory communication research on Black women. In M. Houston & O. Davis (Eds.) Centering ourselves: African American feminist and womanist studies of discourse (pp. 21-34). Creskill, NJ : Hampton Press.

1998 Allen, B.J. Black womanhood and feminist standpoints. Management Communication Quarterly 11: 575-586.

1999 Allen, B.J., Orbe, M., & Olivas, M.O. The complexity of our tears: Dis/enchantment and (in)difference in the academy. Communication Theory 9: 402-430.

2009 Ashcraft, K.L., & Allen, B.J. Politics even closer to home: Repositioning CME from the standpoint of communication studies. Management Learning, 40(1), 11-30.

2003 Ashcraft, K. L., & Allen, B. J. The racial foundation of organizational communication. Communication Theory 13: 5-33.

About the Author
Brenda J. Allen

Author Brenda J. Allen

Bio

Professor Emerita Brenda J. Allen (Ph.D., Howard University) is the former Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion (Chief Diversity Officer) at the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus. During almost 30 years in the University of Colorado system, Dr. Allen developed a track record for scholarship, teaching, service, mentorship, and training related to organizational communication, social identity, and leadership, with an emphasis on higher education. Among her numerous publications is a groundbreaking book entitled Difference Matters: Communicating Social Identity, 2nd. Ed., (2011, Waveland Press). She offers highly-rated workshops, consultations, facilitations, and keynote speeches on topics such as inclusive leadership, anti-racism, strategic planning, and diversity recruitment/retention practices.  

Dr. Allen has received many awards and accolades for her efforts, including: the first Annual Award for Outstanding Achievement for Commitment to Diversity at CU Denver; the Women in Leadership and Management Award; the first Annual Ally of the Year Award from the GLBT Alliance at CU Boulder; the first Annual Award for Excellence in Mentoring from CU Denver; an Excellence in Leadership Award from the CU System; and, a Leadership in Public Higher Education Award. Also, her colleagues at CU Denver have established a leadership award and scholarship in her name. As part of her ongoing radical self-care plan, Dr. Allen enjoys listening to audio books, and bingeing on Netflix. 

Publications by Brenda J. Allen

2017 Allen, B.J. Women as inclusive leaders. In: C. Cunningham, H. Crandall, & A. Dare (Eds.) Gender, Communication, and the Leadership Gap (pp. 13-23). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

2016 Allen, B.J. Optimizing technology’s promise. EDUCAUSE Review, 56, 28-42.

2016 Allen, B.J. & Garg, K. Diversity matters in academic radiology: Acknowledging and addressing unconscious bias.Journal of the American College of Radiology, 13, 1426-1432.

2016 Allen, B.J. Difference matters. Spectra, The Magazine of the National Communication Association, 52,1, 8-13.

2011 Allen, B.J. (When and how) do I tell?:  Disclosing social identity in personal relationships. In: D. Braithwaite and J. Wood (Eds.). Casing interpersonal communication: Case studies in personal and social relationships (pp. 173-179). Kendall/Hunt.

2010 Allen, B. J. Critical communication pedagogy as a framework for teaching difference. In: D. Mumby (Ed.) Organizing difference: Pedagogy, research, and practice (pp. 103-125). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

2010 Allen, B.J. Social constructions of a black woman's hair: Critical reflections of a graying sistah. In: R. Spellers and K. Moffitt (Eds.). Blackberries and redbones: critical articulations of Black hair/body politics (pp. 66-77). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.

2009 Allen, B. J. "With you we got a twofer": Challenging the affirmative action hire stereotype. In: E.L. Kirby and M. C. McBride (Eds.). Gender actualized: Cases in communicatively constructing realities (pp. 139-140). Dubuque, IO: Kendall/Hunt.

2007 Allen, B.J. Theorizing communication and race. Communication Monographs 74, pp. 259-274.

2006 Allen, B.J. Communicating race at WeighCo. In J.T. Wood and S. Duck (Eds.) Composing relationships: Communication in everyday life (pp. 146-154).

2005 Allen, B.J. Social constructionism. In: S. May and D. Mumby (Eds.). Engaging organizational communication theory and research: Multiple perspectives (pp. 35-53). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

2004 Allen, B. J. Sapphire and Sappho: Allies in authenticity In A. Gonzales, M., Houston, & V. Chen: Our voices: Essays in culture, ethnicity, and communication (4th Edition) (pp. 198-202). Los Angeles: Roxbury Publishing Co.

2002 Allen, B.J. Goals for emancipatory communication research on Black women. In M. Houston & O. Davis (Eds.) Centering ourselves: African American feminist and womanist studies of discourse (pp. 21-34). Creskill, NJ : Hampton Press.

1998 Allen, B.J. Black womanhood and feminist standpoints. Management Communication Quarterly 11: 575-586.

1999 Allen, B.J., Orbe, M., & Olivas, M.O. The complexity of our tears: Dis/enchantment and (in)difference in the academy. Communication Theory 9: 402-430.

2009 Ashcraft, K.L., & Allen, B.J. Politics even closer to home: Repositioning CME from the standpoint of communication studies. Management Learning, 40(1), 11-30.

2003 Ashcraft, K. L., & Allen, B. J. The racial foundation of organizational communication. Communication Theory 13: 5-33.

Ideas & Questions?

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I want to hear from you!

DifferenceMatters.info is our resource, so let's build it together. Please send me suggestions or content that you think I should add.  Also, give me feedback on what else I might include.  Thank you very much.

brenda.j.allen@ucdenver.edu