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African American

African American culture is rich in family, social, and spiritual traditions. While there are many realities and experiences that bind us as a people, we are far from a homogenous community. We are joined and separated by faith, age, class, education, and political persuasion. Originally brought to the country as slaves, the history of the African descendants in the United States has been rife with social and political struggle, but this has not hindered our successful contributions to the fields of technology, science, education, music/entertainment, sports, and politics.

This Cultural Detective explores the complexities of African American culture, and examines the values and communication styles of this community in an effort to bridge cultural gaps and support more inclusive groups, communities, and workplaces.

Cultural Detective African American contains the following stories and critical incidents:

  • Assessing Technology Needs:

    Jamal Green has been asked to conduct a company-wide assessment of IT needs, and encounters some resistance from long-time staff members.

  • Blame and Shame:

    Muriel McCarthy, Associate Director of the Future Leaders Program, is at a loss on how to deal with diversity training gone astray.

  • Deafening Silence:

    Ricardo Ramirez and James McKinley, recruiters with Educators for All, are dismayed at the lack of cultural understanding among their European American counterparts.

  • Do Better!:

    Linda Buckley is embarrassed when her friend, Faridah, does not remember someone with whom she previously served on a volunteer committee.

  • Happy Holidays:

    Mable Robinson, the receptionist in a law office for 40 years, and a young attorney originally from Holland, clash over holiday decorations at work.

  • Higher Education:

    Ruby Simons is shocked when her best friend says the reason she was awarded a college scholarship is her race.

  • Unique or Uniform?:

    Lisa Smith, a prominent attorney, reschedules her appointments to deal with her son’s suspension from school due to his “dress code violations.”

  • What Did He Say?:

    Jean-Marc Dikoum, originally from Cameroon, is selected to head a presentation, much to the dismay of a female co-worker.

Cultural Detective African American was authored by Kelli McLoud Schingen, Patricia M. Coleman and Dianne Hofner Saphiere.