Title: Lakeside University Cover Up
Author Name: Charles A. Taylor
Advice for Parents to give their kids entering into college about diversity
by Charles Taylor
First and foremost I would hope that parents would tell their kids that diversity benefits everyone. It is something to be celebrated, embraced and not feared. But let’s take one step back and assume that parents have already had this conversation with their children long before they entered college. I know that’s being overly optimistic but just for a moment let’s pretend that parents are having these serious conversations with their kids. Here’s what I hope they are telling their children to help prepare them for the new world they will face.
Acquire Cultural Competency Skills
I’m sending you off to college with the expectation that you will engage intellectually and socially with all types of people. I don’t want you to live your life in fear of others. I want you to become culturally competent and that’s different from just being tolerant of differences.
Tolerance has no healing power in society. It means little more than leaving one another alone. It leads to indifference, not understanding. Besides, no one wants to be just tolerated-we all deserve to be celebrated! Red, black, brown, yellow or white we’re all precious in God’s sight. When all of the cream is allowed to rise to the top, the butter is bound to be better.
Cultural competency is what you’ll need to understand others’ points of view and to replace tolerance with. Cultural competency is the ability to engage people in ways that respect and honor their culture. So take advantage of any opportunity you get to learn cultural competency skills.
Understand that both Diversity and Inclusion are needed
Remember that the true definition of diversity is broad enough to include all of us and takes into account differences in religion, race, gender, disability, sexual orientation and other areas of differences. But diversity by itself is nothing without inclusion. An inclusive college intentionally creates a culture and fosters a welcoming environment where everyone is valued for the skills and talents they bring to the table and where they are involved and empowered in decision making. Diversity describes "the who we are" – while Inclusion describes "the how and what we hope to become." They are related yet distinct concepts. Advocate for both!
Know that Diversity Benefits Everyone
Son, remember that we’re all connected. I need you to understand that when the environment on campus is improved for some students, it’s improved for you as well.
Let me give you an example--One of the things that the federal disability act did was make campuses more accessible for disabled students. Students in wheel chairs no longer have to worry about opening doors—all they have to do is push a button and the door swings open. What that means is that any student who has his/her hands full can push that same button. Although the automated doors were designed to benefit students with disabilities, they in fact benefit everyone including you.
When you improve the environment for some students, you improve it for all students. When a critical mass of black students was admitted to our colleges during the 60s, for the first time in this country, many working class white students were allowed in too. Diversity benefits everyone or as Jesse Jackson says, “a rising tide lifts all boats.”
Learn about your classmates histories
Daughter I want you to learn about your classmates histories and their stories and I want you to share yours. We are all products of our history, and in these histories we carry our DNA, all the time, passed on to us through generations. To deny this history, is to deny part of ourselves, our beings, for indeed we are very much shaped by the history lived by our forebears.
Diverse racial and ethnic groups have a different history in the United States, and therefore traveled very different paths to becoming part of the American Society. Lumping all minorities together is tantamount to stripping them of their collective histories, rich cultural heritage and unique experiences.
Consider the history of the U.S. as composed of multiple narratives, where glory for some might have meant poverty, disenfranchisement and oppression for others. I encourage you to search for the historical truth wherever that search might lead. You see daughter the world that you will inherit will be vastly different from the one that I grew up in. It is your generation that will have to find a way to live in peace in our multicultural world.
Parents can make a difference
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if parents had this type of conversation with their kids? I’m confident that if they did our campuses would be transformed overnight. If there was ever a place where students should be encouraged to leave their comfort zone, that place has to be a college campus. Institutions of higher education can be described as laboratories for learning. Students have multiple opportunities to explore, debate, engage, date, visit, room with—you name it—with people who are culturally different. We should encourage them to grow and to expand their knowledge about others. That is what college is all about.
You see I believe that parents must set an example. They must not only believe they can make a difference, they must choose to do so. Given the changing demographics in this country diversity is one of our greatest challenges, which also makes it one of our greatest opportunities. Diversity enriches the educational experience, promotes personal growth and it’s simply the right thing to do.
Parents can play a vital role in planting the seeds so that someday diversity and inclusion are just taken for granted. But they must start the conversation to make that reality possible.
Author Bio: Dr. Charles “Chuck” Taylor, author, speaker and diversity expert is currently a professor in the school of education at a Midwestern college. Although he has written and edited over 10 books, this is his first novel. Chuck has also written a full-length children’s musical, a highly acclaimed documentary on the Milwaukee, Wisconsin civil rights movement and continues to serve as a national consultant to college campuses in the areas of racial diversity and inclusion. Please visit his website for additional information: http://drcharlestaylor.com/about/
Author Links -
Book Genre: Mystery Thriller
Publisher: Roar Enterprises, Inc.
Release Date: January, 2012
Buy Link(s): Lakeside University Cover Up,; http://www.amazon.com/Lakeside-University-Cover-Charles-Taylor/dp/0935483535?tag=amazoniediscount01-20
Book Description: A cross is burned in the yard of two black Lakeside University students. When campusofficials call the incident a harmless prank, both black and white student organizations, launch a series of protests to force the administration into conducting a full investigation.
Instead, the administration devises a divide and conquer scheme to create a rift between black and white students. Feel the tension mounting as the students react to the Administration’s response to the incident. As black students turn up the pressure, the campus stands on the verge of a racial explosion. Campus leaders must find a way out of the crisis so they seek the help of Dr. Wendell Oliver, the country’s leading expert in diffusing racial tension.
Watch Dr. Oliver as he masterfully guides the feuding students into looking beyond themselves on a weekend retreat that is filled with action, danger, sexual attraction, and racial conflict. Discover the hidden lessons that students learn about friendship, betrayal and forgiveness. Follow the love story as the plot unfolds. Experience this roller coaster ride of emotions for yourself! Learn the secret behind the cross burning as the leading character Gloria finds her voice.
Students come to realize that the cross burning is more than just about racism. Its wicked flames shed light on corrupt cops, complicit college administrators and misguided attitudes that point to a major cover up. When students finally piece the puzzle together, justice is served but it comes with a steep price. Lakeside University will never be the same again.
Enough was enough. Dean of Students, Todd Severson stormed into President David Horning’s office and slammed the door. “Sir, we need to do something!” Severson said, lowering himself into the chair across from Horning’s antique desk. “Your divide and conquer strategy is backfiring—we have to do something and do it fast, or this university will explode!”
President Horning glanced up from his coffee. “That’s a bit dramatic, Todd, don’t you think?”
Severson leaned forward in his chair and pressed his palms against the desktop. “A black student has just been attacked!” he said. “Classes are being disrupted. The police are running themselves ragged, trying to keep everything under control. Now we have threats of a major civil rights demonstration being held on our campus!”
Horning looked at Severson and frowned. “Why don’t you just calm down,” he said. “We’ve weathered crises before. This isn’t any different.”
Severson stared back, his jaw askew. “Sir, I beg to disagree! We may have been able to smooth things over in the past, but this is very different. This could turn violent—even more violent than it already has become. And it's just a matter of time before the media plasters this mess all over the front page.”
Before Horning could respond, his phone rang. As he reached to answer it, Severson stood to leave. “Hold on Todd. Let me get this. This might be the call that will get us out of this damn mess,” Horning said, as Severson paced the floor.
Three Weeks Earlier
It was a cool, cloudy Sunday night in early autumn. Two figures huddled in the shadows next to a small house, near the Lakeside University campus. They set to work quickly, and soon a sharp chemical odor drifted through the air.
“Man, this shit really stinks,” said the first one, muffling a cough in his gloved hand. “Are you sure this will work?”
“It has to,” said the second. “You heard what they said. We’ve got to take care of this tonight.” “Okay, okay,” said the first. “Just light the damn thing so I can make the call and we can get the hell out of here!”
Inside the small house, Lakeside University student Ashante Melashe was working on a recording for her broadcast engineering class. Just as she hit the record button, the shrill ring of the telephone echoed through the house. "Oh, no!” she moaned, “I forgot to turn off the ringer!” She pushed her chair back from the table. “Well, that’s another sound bite down the drain."
"I'm coming," she grumbled as the phone continued its loud summons. "Hello?"
"Look outside,” said a gruff, male voice. “You’ll see how we feel about niggers at Lakeside University."
"What did you just say? Who is this?"
"Just look outside, bitch."
“Is this some kind of joke?” Ashante asked, but the only answer was the dial tone.
Shaking her head in disgust, she took a deep breath and stepped out into the front yard. The shock of the flames sucked the air from her lungs in a choked gasp. A strange smell burned her eyes and throat. She stood frozen, glaring at the blaze of bright red and orange fire burning against the cold, black starless night.
Then the realization hit her with as much force as if someone had kicked her in the stomach. Suddenly she knew what she was staring at: a huge cross, whose wicked flames lit up the yard and filled her with soul wrenching horror.
"Oh, my God," Ashante whispered.