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The Journal of Higher Education 73.6 (2002) 781-783



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Book Review

Promoting Diversity and Social Justice:
Educating People from Privileged Groups


Promoting Diversity and Social Justice: Educating People from Privileged Groups, by Diane J. Goodman. Sage Publications, 2001. 240 pp. $64.95 ($32.95)

Each year a Winter Roundtable on Cross-Cultural Psychology and Education is sponsored by the Counseling Psychology Program at Teacher's College, Columbia University. This is the longest running annual conference in the United States focusing on race, culture, and ethnic issues in education and psychology. Promoting Diversity and Social Justice is one of the volumes in the Winter Roundtable series. The series editor, Robert Carter, and the editorial board members are among the most respected and renowned cross-cultural educators and psychologists in the country.

Writing about issues related to racism, sexism, heterosexism, anti-Semitism, and homophobia is not an easy task, particularly if the audience is resistant to diversity topics. Goodman states in her introduction that educating individuals about diversity and social justice issues has been her life's work. She notes that she stays apprized of current diversity issues, works on heightening her level of consciousness, explores the significance of her own social identity, and engages in personal reflection regarding how privilege and oppression have impacted her life. These are difficult tasks, and she shares how we can elevate our own levels of consciousness and educate others by reading, reflecting, practicing, and teaching the information noted in this book.

Goodman's emphasis is working with "people from privileged or dominant groups—those who are in the more powerful position in a particular type of oppression" (p. 2). She provides an overview of how privilege and oppression impacts everyone. She does this by sharing teaching and consulting techniques, strategies, activities, and theories when working with "adults from privileged groups on diversity and social justice issues" (p. 3). Goodman states, in Chapter 1, that the book is for practitioners who already have a commitment to social justice and diversity issues. However later in the first chapter she acknowledges that the book is for "anyone who educates others about diversity and equity" (p. 5). I would agree with the latter statement: this book is a useful resource for persons who would like a personal supplemental "workbook" to use when facilitating a discussion or workshop on diversity issues.

Goodman provides an overview of the demographic changes occurring in our society in Chapters 2 and 3. Additionally, an in-depth discussion about privileged individuals and groups is delineated. Concomitantly, identity developmental theories are provided to give readers a behavioral framework for understanding "how people make meaning of their social identities and social reality" (p. 53). [End Page 781]

Chapter 4 details the understanding of resistance and how people "resist information or experiences that may cause them to question their world view" (p. 63). In this chapter the author refers to the application of the stages in various Social Identity Development models, specifically Hardiman and Jackson (1992, 1997) as well as Helms (1992, 1995) for a theory to behavior and practice connection.

The practical information in Chapter 5 will assist educators who are teaching or facilitating a diversity class or program. The author provides strategies to reduce resistance, ideas for designing sessions, guidelines for conversing with and addressing participants, as well as structured activities and videos to enhance the dialogue.

Chapters 6 and 7 are a discussion of the moral and spiritual dimensions of social justice and the reasons why people from privileged groups would support social justice. Table 6.1, entitled "Costs of Oppression to People from Privileged Groups," notes the psychological, social, intellectual, moral/spiritual, and material/physical costs categories and how the effects are damaging for dominant groups. Specifically, intellectual costs means a loss of developing a full range of knowledge, thus one effect is an ignorance of one's own culture and history. This table is a very useful visual tool with which privileged groups can assess how oppression has an overwhelming damaging impact on their personal and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4640
Print ISSN
0022-1546
Pages
pp. 781-783
Launched on MUSE
2002-11-01
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Archived
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