It is clear, by looking at people that we have some obvious differences, body shape, nose width and hair texture are just a few clues that we need to pick up and notice as we interact with others. These differences often get co-opted or mixed with the values we attach to these differences in appearance. In the case of the racial difference, we will refer to them as Racial Associations. These Racial associations are the value, values and attributed like-ability that we assign to an individual or predefined group based on cultural and societal norms.
Clues that we are engage in a pattern or cycle of Racial Association occur when we don't "know" the "Race" of a person and so we try to figure out "Who and What people are". Questions like: "What are you?", "Cute baby, is it a boy or a girl?" or "How long have you been in this country?". Are all attempts to make sense of the the world and the people in it.
This is a natural process, yet we must rise above our human nature and become more that the sum of our parts.
and cooperation in the achievement of our goals will lead to greater engagement, personal productivity, and professional attainment of outcomes.
Andre M. Koen:
May 30, 2013
Good Afternoon AGS Faculty Members
I write today to strongly encourage your support of the work Andre Koen is doing with our students. As we implement a dedicated Diversity Initiative here at the Adler Graduate School, Andre and his work are vitally important ingredients. His "Saturdays With Andre" forums represent exceptional opportunities for stimulating our students (and others, including faculty members, who may choose to attend) to think more about the challenges and privilege of working with a variety of people and issues. Unfortunately, his forums are under-attended, relative to their importance. As faculty members, you can do something to change that.
Encourage your students to attend Andre's forums when they are in class on those Saturdays when Andre is working. Better yet, show your support for Andre's work by appropriating some time for their attendance at these forums. For example, offer a bit more time for the mid-day lunch period so as to facilitate attendance. Believe me, any time you give to Andre, no matter what the course is you are teaching, will add value to the things you are trying to accomplish in your course.
In closing, our Diversity Initiative is a very important priority here at AGS. I (and AGS's Board of Directors) consider it vitally important to AGS's ongoing relevance and, ultimately, our positive influence on the community. We are all expected to contribute to this Diversity Initiative enterprise. As it gathers momentum, once again, I will appreciate your support for Andre Koen and the imaginative work he is doing on our behalf.
A notice concerning his next June 15th forum appears below.
Dan Haugen AGS President
The Picked Heart
Why don't people smile? Hello seems to fall on deaf ears. Why does it seem as though people are so callous? In this session we will explore why hurt people seem to hurt people.
Our discussion will include methods of creating space in our wounded heart to be picked by something beautiful or to be touched by the generosity of another. We will talk about how to nurture a healing heart for yourself and others.
LUNCH PROVIDED FOR ADLER
STUDENTS WHO PREREGISTER
André Koen is an energetic presenter, a powerful communicator, and a dynamic teacher. Now a full-time trainer and facilitator, André most recently served as the EEO/Affirmative Action Diversity Coordinator for Anoka County, educating the community about the law and diversity issues. His master's in Educational Technology from the University of St. Thomas and his improvisational comedy skills make him an engaging speaker. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Adler Graduate School. André believes that people possess the ability to empower themselves, and that belief is made manifest by his unique style of teaching.
What is racism?
Racism is present when racial prejudice is supported by institutions and laws. For example, when Cha, the Hmong neighbor, is arrested and put in jail for killing chickens in the backyard is an example of racism. No attempt was made to understand why he killed the chickens or to explain the laws to him, thus illustrating racism.
What should have been done in this situation? One possibility would be to invite the police chief and other officers to engage in a discussion about how the newcomers to the community are affecting the way law enforcement is enforced and about biases in the law enforcers. It is likely that they have tried to explain the laws to the newcomers in order to put an end to these crimes but it may not be working because of various cultural and language barriers. One might want to try and work closely with both the police and local Hmong leaders to develop a strategy for increasing the police department's cultural competence and, at the same time, increase the newcomers' understanding about the laws in this country. This attempt could result in changes at the institutional level.
While we as a nation can never be realistically be entirely free of racial prejudice, we must be able to accurately identify and address racism in all facets of society, because the system of racism perpetuates the unearned privileges of some and imposes undeserved restrictions on others. The economic well-being of a group of people is intertwined with racism, and unless it is addressed intentionally and thoroughly, a community building effort will not reach its full potential.
Racial prejudices and racism have most been perpetrated in the U.S. by people of European descent against various other groups, such as African-Americans or Latinos. However, because of the shifts in our communities' demographics, some parts of the U.S. contain racial prejudices and forms of racism that create tensions between people of non-European descent, such as conflicts between
African Americans and Asian Americans. As the U.S. becomes more diverse and the world's residents more mobile, we must be prepared to act in a way that reduces the potential for hostility created by differences in our physical traits.
No matter what culture or part of the world one is from, they have seen the results of racial prejudices and racism. The results of racial prejudices and racism can be seen everywhere: in stereotypes, violence, underfunded schools, unemployment, police brutality, shabby housing, a disproportionate number of African-American men on death row, etc. Racial prejudices and racism can be found in many different areas of society: in the media, in service organizations, in the workplace, in neighborhoods, at school, in local government, on a local block -- in virtually every area of daily life.
It is important to reduce racial prejudices and racism because they impede or prevent the object of racism from achieving his or her full potential as a human being.
They impede or prevent the object of racism from making his or her fullest contribution to society. They impede or prevent the person or group engaging in racist actions from benefiting from the potential contributions of their victim, and, as a result, weaken the community as a whole. They increase the present or eventual likelihood of retaliation by the object of racist actions. They go against many of the democratic ideals upon which the United States and other democracies were founded. Racism is hypothetically illegal in many cases but is still present in our system today. Racial prejudice and racism feed on each other. If racial prejudice is not reduced, it could lead to racism, and if racism is not addressed, it could lead to more prejudice. This is why the strategies to address discrimination on the basis of race should be thorough and multifaceted so that both individual attitudes and institutionalized practices are affected.
In addition, here are some examples of why racial prejudice and racism should be addressed in communities:
Every participant in this effort to build community has his or her own understanding of the world and how it works. The European-American residents in the neighborhood don't understand why the new immigrants from Guatemala have to stand at the street corner to get work (they are commonly referred to as day laborers). They think it is because they are either "illegal” immigrants or too lazy to find full-time jobs. However, part of the problem is that these residents have not had the opportunity to debunk these stereotypes through direct interaction and contact with the day laborers and to hear their stories.
Freire 4: Pedagogy of the Oppressed
praxis = reflection and action directed at structures to be transformed
can't undergo transformation for the people, only with the people
importance of dialogue and communication for revolution
turning oppressed as objects into subjects
- used by oppressors on the oppressed in the absence of dialogue
implies conqueror (oppressor) and conquered (possession)
there is an attempt by the conqueror to transform the conquered into a "thing" (167)
present world as problem that must be adapted to
myths presented by oppressors to oppressed through propaganda (ex. TV, radio)
DIVIDE AND RULE
oppressor (minority) must divide up oppressed (majority) to remain in power
ex. "community development", "leadership training courses"
class conflict arises from social divisions
trying to conform masses to objectives of elite
occurs when historical conditions change ("organization" vs. organization)
attempts to anesthetize people so they won't think (thinking = revolution)
ex. welfare programs
oppressors impose their world view, inhibiting creativity of invaded
can be overt or camouflaged (ex. "helping friend")
invaded feel inferior and recognize superiority of invaders
both an instrument and a result of domination
DANGER: effected become causes of domination
revolutionary leaders must initiate "cultural revolution" before actual change can take place
turn objects into subjects through dialogue
- used by revolutionary leaders with the people (directly oppose antidialogical principles)
occurs only among Subjects (those involved in praxis)
only achieved through communication
works through dialogue to achieve authentic adherence (free coincidence of choices)
no one can reveal the world for another
this is in contrast to conquered adherence, where the conqueror prescribes options to the conquered
must involve trust in themselves and in their revolutionary leaders
must involve belief of leaders in the potential of the people, belief that the people are capable of participating in the pursuit of liberation
must involve humility and a capacity to love, especially from the leaders
UNITY FOR LIBERATION
leaders must "dedicate themselves to an untiring effort for unity among the oppressed - and unity of the leaders with the oppressed - in order to achieve liberation"
unity of leadership comes from communion with the people
one becomes a true individual by "sundering the false unity of the divided self." This happens when a person, "begins to integrate as a subject (an I) confronting an object (reality)" (173).
requires class consciousness (consciousness of being oppressed individuals)
revolutionary process must be cultural action (not slogans or myths or mechanistic action which are all divisive action)
methods to achieve unity will depend on historical and existential experience
objective - clarify to the oppressed the objective situation which binds them to the oppressors
Organization is a highly educational process in which leaders and people together experience true authority and freedom, which they then seek to establish in society by transforming the reality which mediates them.
A witness results from cooperation and liberation, exhibiting certain traits that do not vary historically:
consistency between words and actions
boldness urging witnesses to confront existence as constantly at risk
radicalization leading witnesses and those who receive them to action
courage to love transforming the world into a place with increasing liberation of humankind
faith in the people
(theory of dialogical action) organization requires authority, so it cannot be authoritarian; it requires freedom, so it cannot be licentious.
Organization is not only directly linked to unity, but is a natural development of that unity.
Cultural synthesis is a mode of action for confronting culture itself, as the preserver of the very structures by which it was formed.
In cultural synthesis it is possible to resolve the contradiction between the world view of leaders and that of people, to the enrichment of both and resulting in the liberation of human beings.
Distinction between cultural invasion and cultural synthesis:
invasion: actors draw a thematic basis for their actions from their own values and ideology
synthesis: actors coming from another world only seek to learn from the people, not to impose anything upon them
Cultural synthesis does not deny the differences between the two views--it is based on these differences and it DOES deny the invasion of one by the other, but affirms the undeniable support each gives to the other.
Cultural synthesis serves the ends of organization; organization serves the ends of liberation.
The people having trust in their leaders is essential to so many of Freire's tenets (especially for cooperation and unity for liberation). How are people able to ensure that a leader can be trusted, especially given the history of Latin American political leaders?
Near the end of the book, Freire provides an example (p. 183) of cultural synthesis that argues for the workers seizing their own labor, for any purchase or sale of labor is an act of slavery. How is such a conclusion compatible with a capitalistic economic and political system?
Pedagogy of the Oppressed Chapter 3
Pedagogy of the Oppressed—Paulo Freire
Translation by Myra Bergman Ramos
Chapter three of Freire’s work is essentially two parts: part one begins with a focus on the words that are the foundation of dialogue, leading into how dialogue creates themes in which humans interact with the world. Part two of this chapter is an example of a collection of guidelines for developing these themes and how to proceed in establishing a viable learning environment for the oppressed.
Dialogue is a form of communication. It is a strategy that employs words to convey and express needs and information between two or more humans. Words have two components, reflection and action, that create a radical interaction; thus they are considered true words. Freire asserts, “to speak true words is to transform the world” (p. 87). If words used in dialogue do not embody reflection and action, they are idle chatter; empty and useless to implement change. Empty words cannot denounce the world and thus support transformation, and there is no transformation without reflection and action. For people to speak true words and engage in true dialogue is the right of everyone. For genuine dialogue to occur, it must be authentic and accomplished by someone, not for someone. According to Freire, “dialogue cannot be reduced to the act of one person’s ‘depositing’ ideas in another, nor can it become a simple exchange of ideas to be ‘consumed’ by the discussants” (p. 89).
Freire continues his case for the importance of dialogue in the transformation of the world and thus the liberation of the oppressed. His perspective includes humanist qualities of compassion, commitment, and love for others as attributes dialogue must contain in order for it to be meaningful. ‘Love’ is not sentimental but must generate acts of freedom for all oppressed people in order for it to be a characteristic worthy of transformational dialogue. There also exists humility and faith in human kind contained in dialogue for meaningful transformation to occur. From all these qualities, mutual trust will develop. In a banking model of education, one where information is deposited in students, the quality of trust is absent. Finally, within education, dialogue must incorporate critical thinking of all participants. This line of cognition is dynamic. Communication is important to true education.
Authentic education is therefore carried on by the teacher with the student when true dialogue is implemented. Teachers must ask themselves what they will dialogue with the students about. Freire points out that educators cannot go to the laborers with a banking style of education to deposit knowledge or impose upon them the notion of a “good man” based on the conclusions of the oppressors. “Many political and educational plans have failed because their authors designed them according to their own personal views of reality…” (p. 94). Leaders and educators must use the language of the oppressed so that they may dialogue with them to learn from them.
Freire next offers the concept of themes in education, which can be as tools to liberate the oppressed. Generative themes are the components of the thematic universe of all peoples and these themes arise from dialogue. Generative themes are educational, political, or social topics important to the people whom they affect. These themes are important because, as humans, people have an historical existence and therefore can work to alter their world. Freire also describes limit situations within these themes. These limit-situations are identified as obstacles to ones’ liberation. People need to use the resources revealed through dialogue to work to surmount these limits.
These themes and an understanding of them give people a perspective of their reality. Themes exist when people interact with their world with reference to concrete facts, with generative themes intersecting and creating a thematic universe. Freire explains, “To apprehend these themes and to understand them is to understand both the people which embody them and the reality to which they refer” (p. 107). Once the reality is understood and recognized, people can begin to dialogue and work to liberate themselves and thus end oppression.
In problem-posing educational situations, Freire asserts that the students’ view of the world is what organizes the structure and creates the generative themes to be appraised. Through dialogical methods, teachers must work to “re-present” the universe revealed to the makers of that universe as a problem, not as a lecture to “deposit” information to the students.
In the second half of Freire’s chapter three, he provides an example of how to structure an adult education program. This model is for a literacy campaign with a post-literacy stage to address the illiteracy rates of a group of adults. It begins with the need to form a generative word that will be the focal point of the generative theme. Detailed and complete descriptions are given for each step in this crusade, and support much of what Freire has presented in his first two chapters.
The first stage is one where the investigators identify the area or group of constituents the campaign will address and the items which need to be explored. Objectives of the investigators must also be acknowledged, along with any difficulties and risks that may be encountered. Investigators should maintain a position of sympathetic observer while continuing to build understanding of the participants; they must disclose to the members of the group to be taught their intentions. This is done through informal dialogue between all participants. During this initial contact, there must be an establishment of mutual trust and understanding. Once a positive platform has been created, investigators must seek volunteers among the group participants to become active assistants in the entire endeavor.
When establishing the criteria for the project, it is imperative that investigators chronicle every aspect of life in the area including the language used by the people: their expressions, vocabulary, syntax, and especially how they construct their thoughts. This act of recording daily life should be shared by each investigator with others. True dialogue will develop from the shared awareness, and there may even be an opportunity to organize program content at this early stage.
During the second stage, Freire describes the evolution of codification and how it is used for thematic investigation. These codifications must be familiar to the people whose themes are being examined so they can relate to them and participate in establishing the process of recognition of their own reality. Codifications should not be too general or too explicit and “should be simple in their complexity and offer various decoding possibilities in order to avoid the brainwashing tendencies of propaganda” (p. 115). There should also be opportunities for codifications to expand in the direction of other themes. By employing the true thoughts and language of the participants, engaging them will be less of a struggle. From this process, materials for the campaign can be prepared to be implemented.
Stage three of the undertaking includes investigators returning to the people and conducting taped discussions decoding the prepared material in what Freire calls thematic investigation circles. These discussions should be recorded for an opportunity for examination by the team, offering them a chance to reflect on the project as a whole and their own view of their own reality. This process can assist with the investigators remaining objective and not revert to the role of oppressor. Not only do all participants need an objective perception of the situation, but their actions must assist in the struggle of people against the obstacles to their humanization.
The final stage Freire describes is where the investigators commence a systematic interdisciplinary study of their findings. He suggests that information gathered be classified into various categories of social sciences. These classifications should not be seen as the end of the investigation, but as general themes that are interrelated at many levels. These themes are never approached rigidly, in isolation, but considered in the reality of the people. After all the materials have been explored and discussed, the identified themes which have come from the people are returned to them, not as deposits in a banking education situation but as problems to be solved. At this point, the post-literacy stage and the education of the group of people can begin. Freire asserts that with libertarian education, the people come to “feel like masters of their thinking by discussing the thinking and views of the world explicitly or implicitly” (p. 124).
Pedagogy of the Oppressed Chapter 2
Pedagogy of the Oppressed—Paulo Freire
Translation by Myra Bergman Ramos
Problem in Education
The main focus of the second chapter of Freire’s work is educational systems and the teacher-student relationship. This relationship between the Subject (teacher) and the student (object) is one that perpetuates the oppression model. According to Freire, teachers narrate content to students with no opportunity for students to react or respond other than reiterate and duplicate material. Even the content presented to students is “detached from reality, disconnected from the totality that engendered them and could give them significance” (p. 71). Students repeat facts or situations given to them without even knowing what the facts mean or represent. As objects, students memorize the narrated content and become receptacles that teachers fill rather than engage. Thus education becomes the act of depositing information.
Freire maintains that there are distinctions regarding the process with which students are educated. The teacher does; the student is done to. The teacher is the possessor of knowledge; the student has no knowledge to contribute. The teacher thinks; the student is thought about. The teacher is the Subject of learning; the students are only objects of learning. Teachers and others in powerful positions project ignorance onto others, a quality of oppression, and negate education and the process of inquiry as a means of demonstrating knowledge. Freire labels this approach as the banking model of education. He asserts that this model is oppressive in that it annuls students’ creative powers, thus relegating students to being objects of oppression. The more students memorize, the less they develop critical consciousness and do not intercede to transform their world. On the part of the oppressed, thinking is stopped and there is no questioning of the processes of learning.
Within the banking method of education, there are two stages. The first involves teachers and their consideration of what to teach. Many times, this content is given to the teacher by other oppressors. The only thinking about the content as lessons are prepared, is done by the teacher on his or her own. The second stage occurs when the teacher presents the content to students, deficient of thought or input from the students on the matter or even what material is important to demonstrate. Freire maintains that “in the name of the ‘preservation of culture and knowledge’ we have a system which achieves neither true knowledge nor true culture” (p. 80). When people and their own thoughts and intelligence are not considered in educational processes, they are alienated as human beings, void of decision-making and transformed them into objects.
Throughout chapter two, Freire reiterates the assertion that the actions of the oppressors, no matter their intentions, continue to oppress others. He states that the oppressed are seen as a pathology of healthy society and that one strategy to manage this pathology is to use the banking concept of education so that the oppressed are integrated and incorporated into a suitable social order.
Solution for Education
According to Freire, the solution is not to integrate the oppressed into the structure of society but to encourage them to transform the structure “so that they become beings for themselves” (p. 74). In a problem-posing educational method, material for consideration is presented to students who reexamine it and present their own considerations. Teachers also engage or are invited to participate in the consideration of the material and to consider their own position. Once the participants understand and acknowledge their reality and see that reality is a process undergoing constant transformation, for them humanization will occur. They will not merely be in the world, but with the world and others. The transformation cannot be through oppressive measures such as violence, but must be conducted utilizing dialogue between the oppressed and those who support them in solidarity. In an educational setting, the teacher cannot think for the students nor impose thoughts on them. The teacher must encourage and support students by thinking with them. Education must become an act of inquiry on the part of both the Subject and the object. To begin this process, there must be a solution of the teacher-student contradiction by repositioning participants to work on inventing and reinventing knowledge. Students and teachers must learn about the world with each other and the world. Teachers must reject the role of the person who teaches and become a learner and engage in dialogue with students, allowing themselves to continue to be taught.
To achieve this transformation, Freire states that those truly committed to the liberation of the oppressed must replace the educational system of banking concept with a system that creates and maintains problem-posing educational practices that involve a constant unveiling of reality. He reinforces this point by delineating the conflict of these two educational concepts. Banking education considers students objects in need of intervention whereas problem-posing makes students critical thinkers. Banking education conceals certain facts that may describe how humans are in the world, while problem-posing education illuminates the realities of humanity. Banking education is a one-sided discussion imparted to students whereas problem-posting utilizes dialogue to encourage thinking on the part of all participants. In totality, “banking theory and practice…fail to acknowledge men and women as historical beings; problem-posing theory and practice take the people’s historicity as their starting point” (p.84). Through problem-posing educational practices, the world of the oppressed becomes the point of transforming action by the oppressed that results in their humanization.
Pedagogy of the Oppressed Chapter One Summary
Pedagogy of the Oppressed—Paulo Freire
Translation by Myra Bergman Ramos
Humanization and Dehumanization
Freire weaves the concept of humanization throughout the majority of chapter 1. Humanity includes qualities that make us human such as understanding, freedom, and integrity. Freire stresses the point that not only do people need to demonstrate those qualities toward others, but also toward themselves. He mentions that in order to recognize humanization, we must also acknowledge dehumanization. With dehumanization, a person’s humanity has been stolen; thus that person has become oppressed. For oppressors, to be is to have and constant control over the oppressed is what they need to have. People who oppress others see these oppressed people as things or objects, not humans to be treated with integrity. Oppressors also feel the oppressed are in their situation because they are “lazy” and ungrateful to the generous overtures offered by the elitist class.
However, Freire also recognizes that those who steal the humanity of others are themselves dehumanized through “an unjust order that engenders violence in the oppressors” (p. 44). As the oppressors engage in oppression, they violate the rights of others and they themselves also become dehumanized. To restore the humanity of both, the oppressed must struggle to change their situation but must not become oppressors in the process.
Oppressed become Oppressors?
Why don’t the oppressed do anything to change their situation? Freire mentions the feeling of the “fear of freedom” (p. 46) that many of the oppressed possess. This fear prohibits the oppressed from being proactive regarding their situation partially because they have adopted the guidelines of their oppressor. Freire goes on to state that “Freedom is acquired by conquest, not by gift. It must be pursued constantly and responsibly” (p. 47). The oppressed have become accustomed to the structure of domination of the oppressors and have become resigned to it. In order to overcome the oppression, the oppressed must work together. Freire points out that the oppressed “prefer the security of conformity” (p. 48) over the action needed to pursue liberation. That is where the need for pedagogy—learning a new strategy to overcome the injustices frequented upon them and others like them—is necessary.
However, the caution of the oppressed of becoming oppressors is emphasized by Freire in that oppression is what has been modeled for them as a structural situation. Identifying with those who keep them subjugated, the oppressed risk not changing the structure of the situation for all oppressed but working to liberate only themselves. This individualistic focus will do nothing to change the cycle of oppression.
Where to begin to liberate the oppressed
Freire’s text offers some aspects of what should occur in order to free the oppressed. He stresses that a pedagogy must be forged with the oppressed and not for them. According to Freire, the central problem is that the oppressed must participate in the development of the pedagogy of their own liberation. As long as the oppressed view the process of liberation through the structure of how their situation is currently organized, they cannot contribute to the pedagogy of change.
There are two stages to this humanist and libertarian pedagogy in which the oppressed must participate. The first is to recognize the structure and its components of oppression and to commit to the transformation of the structure. So as not to maintain the model for which the structure has been originally created by oppressors, the oppressed must confront their perception of their world. They must surmount their fear of freedom and begin to be proactive about changing the components of oppression for all, not just individuals. The second stage, once the reality of oppression has been transformed, involves relinquishing the pedagogy so that it becomes a pedagogy for all people in the process of permanent liberation. Once the “expulsion of the myths created and developed in the old order” (p. 55) has been enacted, the oppressed can begin to embrace freedom. These two stages are essential to Freire’s theory because “as long as the oppressed remain unaware of the cause of their condition, they fatalistically ‘accept’ their exploitation” (p. 64).
Freire details how the development of pedagogy should progress. He states that reflection is essential to action. One must first reflect upon and ponder the circumstances in which one finds him or her self. The action taken must be carefully considered for all people who will be impacted by this pedagogy. The progress should involve dialogue and avoid violence in any fashion. Action and dialogue must come from the oppressed with consideration of oppressors who may recognize and align themselves with the pedagogy. Again, there must be proceedings in which liberation is the focus and not the possibility of the oppressed becoming the oppressors.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age. The ADEA’s protections apply to both employees and job applicants. Under the ADEA, it is unlawful to discriminate against a person because of his/her age with respect to any term, condition, or privilege of employment, including hiring, firing, promotion, layoff, compensation, benefits, job assignments, and training. The ADEA permits employers to favor older workers based on age even when doing so adversely affects a younger worker who is 40 or older.
It is also unlawful to retaliate against an individual for opposing employment practices that discriminate based on age or for filing an age discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or litigation under the ADEA.
The ADEA applies to employers with 20 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and labor organizations, as well as to the federal government. ADEA protections include:
It is generally unlawful for apprenticeship programs, including joint labor-management apprenticeship programs, to discriminate on the basis of an individual’s age. Age limitations in apprenticeship programs are valid only if they fall within certain specific exceptions under the ADEA or if the EEOC grants a specific exemption.
Job Notices and Advertisements
The ADEA generally makes it unlawful to include age preferences, limitations, or specifications in job notices or advertisements. A job notice or advertisement may specify an age limit only in the rare circumstances where age is shown to be a “bona fide occupational qualification” (BFOQ) reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the business.
The ADEA does not specifically prohibit an employer from asking an applicant’s age or date of birth. However, because such inquiries may deter older workers from applying for employment or may otherwise indicate possible intent to discriminate based on age, requests for age information will be closely scrutinized to make sure that the inquiry was made for a lawful purpose, rather than for a purpose prohibited by the ADEA. If the information is needed for a lawful purpose, it can be obtained after the employee is hired.
The Older Workers Benefit Protection Act of 1990 (OWBPA) amended the ADEA to specifically prohibit employers from denying benefits to older employees. Congress recognized that the cost of providing certain benefits to older workers is greater than the cost of providing those same benefits to younger workers, and that those greater costs might create a disincentive to hire older workers. Therefore, in limited circumstances, an employer may be permitted to reduce benefits based on age, as long as the cost of providing the reduced benefits to older workers is no less than the cost of providing benefits to younger workers.
Employers are permitted to coordinate retiree health benefit plans with eligibility for Medicare or a comparable state-sponsored health benefit.
Waivers of ADEA Rights
An employer may ask an employee to waive his/her rights or claims under the ADEA. Such waivers are common in settling ADEA discrimination claims or in connection with exit incentive or other employment termination programs. However, the ADEA, as amended by OWBPA, sets out specific minimum standards that must be met in order for a waiver to be considered knowing and voluntary and, therefore, valid. Among other requirements, a valid ADEA waiver must:
be in writing and be understandable;
specifically refer to ADEA rights or claims;
not waive rights or claims that may arise in the future;
be in exchange for valuable consideration in addition to anything of value to which the individual already is entitled;
advise the individual in writing to consult an attorney before signing the waiver; and
provide the individual at least 21 days to consider the agreement and at least seven days to revoke the agreement after signing it.
If an employer requests an ADEA waiver in connection with an exit incentive or other employment termination program, the minimum requirements for a valid waiver are more extensive. See Understanding Waivers of Discrimination Claims in Employee Severance Agreements" at http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/qanda_severance-agreements.html
Andre and our staff at a.m. horizons are committed to promoting the principles of equal opportunity, affirmative action, and multiculturalism where all individuals are valued, respected, provided the opportunity to flourish, and unobstructed in their pursuit of excellence. Our goal is to educate, training and facilitate processes that create workplaces and classroom experiences that promote academic excellence through cultural diversity and are free of intolerance and coercive behaviors. Multiculturalism promotes an understanding that the human experience includes, but is not limited to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, or sexual orientation..
Defining diversity: Diversity is understood as the fact of human difference that makes a difference in how we interact with one another, communities, institutions and
ourselves, relative to developing and respecting human potential, creating a supportive, nurturing climate and environment, and acknowledging legal responsibilities to historical inequalities.
Geographical, political, economic, intellectual and cultural diversity are all intertwined. To heal the harms of the past, to improve our current conditions and provide a future free of bias and discrimination we must look for and offer the dignity and honor in what it means to be human, even when we don't live up to our best selves.
Workshop, it was fabulous. But I'm tired and I just want to go home. And so, apparently, there's some kind of storm activity or some mechanical problems. So that evening, I go to catch my flight, they say it's canceled and that I have to fly the next day. And so, I'm really bummed out because home is where I want to be. And so, I'm a little bit frustrated, but I can handle that. So they give me a voucher to go to a hotel. I go to a hotel just to have a night's sleep and prepare for the next morning. My flight's supposed to leave at 7:10. And so, I get up the next morning about 5:30 because I have to return the rental car. So I didn't get a whole lot of sleep, and sleeping in smoky hotels isn't necessarily the best way to start your day.
But at any rate... So I go to the hotel. I took the rental car back. I'm going back to the airport, and my 7:00 flight is canceled. Now, it was canceled the night before, and now it's canceled again at 7:00 am. And so, the next flight out that I can take to Milwaukee is at ten o'clock. So having no other choice, I go there. Now, I really want to get home, and I'm starting to get a little hot into the collar. But then I remember the thing that I always talk about. Right?
So I'm practicing what I preach at this point, because this is where the rubber meets the road, that people are doing the best they can with what they have to do their job and that there's dignity and honor in being human. I always say that. That's like my mantra. Right? I mean, you've heard me say that here, as well as other places. Right?
So I say that all the time, "There is dignity and honor in being human." But here is an opportunity for me to... I'm being challenged on this. Right? So how do I deal with this craziness of being stuck? So my flight leaves at 10:00. I get on the flight and I'm going to Milwaukee, and I'm saying this whole mantra of, "There is dignity and honor of being human."
So we land in Milwaukee, and the Milwaukee flight to Minneapolis is also canceled. So now, I'm in Milwaukee, I finally made it out of Indianapolis. I'm in Milwaukee, it is currently now 11:00. The next flight doesn't leave until 4:00. Now, I don't know about you, but these long layovers drive me crazy. So now I have to wait until 4:00.
Well, as it gets closer, they actually delayed the flight because there is another flight from California that needs to catch this flight. So now we are not leaving until 6:00 pm. Now, at this point, everything that I have in me is being tested. Right? I'm really frustrated. I don't have any food coupons, all of the stuff. So I just wait around. 6:00 comes, board the plane, get to Minneapolis and they're holding. I mean, they really put you...
You can feel the G forces. Your face is like Botox central or something. So we're blazing on the trail to Minneapolis. We get to Minneapolis and we are ahead of schedule. The only problem is, there is somebody at our gate. We got there too early. So we have to spend about an hour on the tarmac before we could get off the plane to Minneapolis.
Now, by this time, everything... I've been tested and tried and I've really been trying to keep a good attitude. But I get a little bit snippy and I request two bags of pretzels and a full can of soda. I'm getting back at them. Right? So I have that stuff and I finally get off the plane, and my first inclination was to give everybody at AirTran a piece of my mind.
And that would have been my reward. Had I given everybody a piece of my mind, they would have known how dissatisfied I was, how much they inconvenienced me and all that kind of stuff. But then, that still small voice at the back of my head said that they were doing the best they could with what they had to get you to your destination.
And so, I listened to that voice and I didn't say anything. I didn't say anything. I just kind of... I said, "That was a learning experience. Something great may happen out of this, or maybe I was supposed to learn patience." Because that is how you learn it, by practicing. Right? And so, I just kind of left that alone and didn't talk about it to a whole bunch of folks.
And then I got a letter from the mail from AirTran. Now, these were the folks who kept me waiting and all of this kind of stuff. So I got this letter from AirTran and the letter said, "We apologize for the inconvenience that we have caused you." Now, I didn't say anything. Right? So they sent me this letter, "We apologize for the inconvenience. We understand the importance of you getting home, blah, blah, blah..."
These were all things I'm thinking and they are saying them to me. Right? "And because we want to keep you as a valuable customer, we want to send you on a round trip flight with a ticket to any place that AirTran travels, any place. Within the next year, you can go anywhere." Now, my first inclination would have been to tell these people off and give them a piece of my mind. And that, probably, would just get extra peanuts.
And it is really interesting that I would have got the satisfaction of giving them a piece of my mind. That would have been my reward. But I held my peace and I understood that they were doing the best that they could. And I got a totally different and more beautiful and more special reward.
Pause today, pause today. And when you have that first inclination to make that move, pause and just sit back, take a deep breath and think about what lessons could be learned and what's your reward. I'm Andre Koen, until next time.
Andre's purpose is to reconnect people to their Dignity and Honor in Being Human.