The View from VISIONS

January 2012

In This Issue
If I Use a Second Language...
On Whose Shoulders I Stand
"On Time" or "In Time"?
Challenging Worldviews
Check These Out!
Devdutt Pattanaik: East vs west -- the myths that mystify
East vs West:
The myths that mystify
A TED Talk
by Devudutt Pattanaik
Native Wisdom
Native Wisdom for White Minds 
by Anne Wilson Schaef



 Essays by Cooper Thompson, VISIONS consultant 


Warmth of Other Suns
by Isabel Wilkerson

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     To start off the New Year, we are focusing this issue on how our worldview plays out in our actions.  

     By worldview we mean: The way an individual perceives his or her relationship to the natural, social, and political world, which is influenced by expectations, assumptions, beliefs, values, interests, past experiences, social location, perceptions and biases

     Make sure you click on the sidebar, Check These Out!, for a fascinating short video on worldview and some other recommendations we hope you'll find interesting.  

     Let us know how you understand this topic of worldview...please contact us!  

If I Use a Second Language... 

Can you really know who I am?

By Cooper Thompson, VISIONS Consultant

"Although I was raised in Europe, I carry with me the culture of my native country in Africa. There, it's an oral and story telling culture. When I was a boy and would visit my relatives, we'd sit around at night and listen to stories. That was both entertainment and education. So when I communicate with people it's important for me to see them and to share some stories.


There is much more to communication than the words that we say. We live in a technological world where cell phones and emails play a big part in how we interact with each other. One-on-one interaction is no longer the norm. You want to talk to your coworker who's only 20 feet away you send him an email or give him a call. To me this is too impersonal and rude." (read on)

On Whose Shoulders I Stand   

 Building a worldview amidst hatred and courage


By Deborah J. Walker, Ph.D., VISIONS consultant 


I am an African-American, a woman, a born and bred Southerner, and a Christian. I'm college educated and a heterosexual baby boomer. I am middle class, temporarily able-bodied, and a citizen of the world. Each identity shapes how I show up in the world. The first four formed the core foundation for my worldview and my purpose in the world.


I grew up in segregated Birmingham, Alabama in the 1960s. My memories of dogs and fire hoses, dynamite Black Women Civil Rtsbombings, and senseless killings shaped my view of the world and my role in it. I too was shaped by the courage of my childhood friends marching in the streets and going to jail and by the fearless determination of the village of adults who tried to create a sense of normality in the face of unabridged hate. I was supported by a faith-filled family who believed that ultimately God was in charge. Against this backdrop, my strongly held fears and my growing rage lived side-by-side. (read on) 

"On Time" or "In Time"? 

Watching the clock with a multicultural eye   


By Carlene Larsson, VISIONS board member 

It never occurred to me that time was a cultural concept, one that could change depending on one's worldview.


I am a middle-class white woman, born and brought up in Abstract clockNew Jersey. The only dispute over time was the one my mother and father continually had--he wanted to be 15 minutes early for any event and my mother was always running at least 15 minutes late. There was on time, and then there was late. Period(read on) 

"In My Opinion..."

The Challenge of Worldviews 


In this issue, we explore one of the most difficult topics in the field of "inclusion" for many US citizens--worldview differences. U.S. mainstream culture is one manifestation of modern Western society. As noted in the pieces included here, this way of being is presented to most of us as if it were the only way to be, or if

not the only, the best.  

Valerie Batts smiling
Dr. Valerie Batts


One of VISIONS' key messages to organizations and groups that want to make sustainable change over time is that incorporating a multicultural lens will also entail uncovering and changing underlying values and unwritten assumptions. These cultural elements determine what is considered "right, beautiful, and true." They impact institutional and interpersonal practices and must also change when they work against stated inclusion goals. Such change takes a long-term commitment--like healing from an injury, growing a plant, learning a new language--it takes time, caring, vigilance, and on-going attention. (read on)  

We hope you've enjoyed our January e-newsletter...feel free to share it with friends. If this was forwarded to you, and you would like to receive future newsletters from us, please subscribe here.  


Please share your learnings with us. Contact us! We are truly inspired by all of you who continue to work for inclusion, equity and fairness. 


Have a peaceful, powerful, and joyful 2012.


Valerie Batts 

Executive Director