Embracing Diversity and Avoiding ACRASH by Calling Spades, Progressing Syntaxes, and Affirming Actions

By Ivan B. Turnipseed, Adriel Adon Hilton and Edward Summers.

Published by The International Journal of Community Diversity

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Despite greater awareness that the American population and workforce are increasingly diverse, there is little appreciation for the persistent and discrepant effect of difference on the lived experiences of social outsider groups. Consistent with a history of preference for able-bodied, well off, White, mature, heterosexual, males, for example, most U.S. institutions continue to be hegemonic. Proffering a road map for managing diversity and equalizing life chances across multiple spaces, this paper articulates an innovative conceptual framework called ACRASH. This powerful analogy and acronym (for ableism, classism, racism, ageism, sexism, and heterosexism) denotes the primary dimensions of difference that spawn discrimination, harassment, and prejudice and shape disparate realities for Americans. As well, attention calling, perpetual proportionate affirmative action, and the use of a progressive syntax are posited as effective means for improved relations and the development of more positive socioeconomic and political outcomes in the U.S. and, perhaps, beyond. In response to scholars like Collins (2005), McWhorter (2000, 2005, 2007, & 2008), Patterson (1997), and Rothenberg (2004) and building on concepts introduced in Turnipseed’s (2009) dissertation, this work urges focused, ongoing, and universal acts of social justice.

Keywords: Ableism, Affirmative Action, Ageism, Classism, Heterosexism, Progressive Syntax, Racism, Sexism

The International Journal of Community Diversity, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp.1-15. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 511.359KB).

Dr. Ivan B. Turnipseed

Assistant Professor and Interim Director of Tourism & Hospitality Studies, Department of Geography, Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, Connecticut, USA

Ivan B. Turnipseed earned a Bachelor of Arts in African and Afro-American Studies and American History from Brandeis University and a Master of Science in Tourism and Travel Management plus a certificate of advanced study in Recreation Services and Resources Management from New York University. Ivan holds a Ph.D. in Hospitality Administration—emphasizing social stratification in organizations, strategic human resource management, and tourism marketing—from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Ivan worked as a group lodging coordinator and operations manager with Travel Planners and Quikbook, respectively, in New York City before teaching hospitality at Monroe College in New Rochelle and The Bronx and advancing to pursue his doctorate. He was a Women’s Studies and Afro-American Studies adjunct at UNLV and instructed hotel college courses as part of a graduate assistantship. More recently, Ivan served as Frederick Douglass Teaching Scholar and Assistant Professor of Management at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. Currently, he is Assistant Professor and Interim Director of Tourism & Hospitality Studies in the Geography Department at Central Connecticut State University. A passionate social commentator, researcher, and writer, Ivan is Chief Advisor to the National Black Graduate Student Association and regularly provides diversity, inclusion, general business, and targeted consultancy.

Adriel Adon Hilton

Executive Assistant to the President and Chief Diversity Officer, Office of the President, Upper Iowa University, Fayette, Iowa, USA

Adriel A. Hilton is executive assistant to the President and chief diversity officer at Upper Iowa University in Fayette, Iowa. Dr. Hilton also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Master’s of Higher Education Administration program. Dr. Hilton has been a Frederick Douglass Teaching Scholar at Clarion University of Pennsylvania, in the College of Education and the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. In his young career so far, Dr. Hilton has received numerous accolades. He was featured as one of one of the “Top 40 Inspirers of the Year” by InSpire magazine in 2009 and one of Ebony Magazine’s “2009 Young Leaders Under 30” for his educational achievements, service to the community and leadership. Dr. Hilton has also maintained a presence at professional conferences related to higher education, presenting on issues that reflect his research interests: minorities’ access and achievement in higher education, affirmative action, impact of proliferation of race neutral admission policies, African American male achievement gap, relevance of historically Black colleges and universities, and the recruitment and retention of students of color. Hilton has published his research in several refereed journal outlets including, The Journal of Research in Education, The Journal of African American Males in Education, and The Journal of College Student Development.

Edward Summers

Assistant to the President and Adjunct Professor of Public Administration and Policy, Office of the President, Marist College, Poughkeepsie, New York, USA

Eddie Summers is a full-time member of the President’s Cabinet at Marist College serving as Assistant to the President, an adjunct Professor of Public Administration and Policy and the Program Director for Marist Africa programs. Eddie provides executive-level support to President Dennis Murray and is responsible for maintaining strong ties to the Marist community, alumni, governmental officials, and local community leaders. He works very closely with the Human Resources Department on Affirmative Action issues and diversity. In Eddie’s other capacity, he serves as the Program Director for Marist Africa programs where he is responsible for developing short-term academic service-learning trips abroad. He has led a trip to South Africa for the past five years, where students gained hands-on experience working in underdeveloped communities and with non-governmental organizations (NGOs). His students have raised money and volunteered for a number of organizations that focus on providing housing, healthcare, and education to homeless children and families. Eddie is currently designing a service-learning program to Ghana focused on politics, community development, and entrepreneurship. Eddie graduated from Marist with a B.A. in political science and a M.P.A. degree. He is a Ph.D. Candidate for a degree in Urban and Public Policy at Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy, a division of The New School.