| Program: || US and THEM: The Challenge of Diversity, Detroit, MI |
| Contact(s): || Dr. Steve Fabick, Project Coordinator: (248) 258-9288 or, Anne Anderson, Coordinator, Psychologists for Social Responsibility: (202) 745-7084 |
| Purpose: || To promote understanding and reconciliation among diverse groups through education about the psychological dynamics common to prejudice and intergroup conflict |
Psychologists for Social Responsibility (PsySR) is a U.S.-based nonprofit international network of psychologists who draw upon the research, knowledge and practice of psychology to promote peace. With members in 47 states and 39 other countries, PsySR is building a cross-cultural network to facilitate communication about the complex and multi-disciplinary problems of fostering peace. In 1995, members of the Michigan Chapter of PsySR started US and THEM: The Challenge of Diversity to help participants appreciate the dynamics common to prejudice and conflict along a variety of dimensions, including race, ethnicity, gender and religion.
US and THEM: The Challenge of Diversity provides resources on leadership skills for psychologists, teachers and other professionals. There are three phases of the program; In the first phase, participants meet in a workshop that intersperses brief talks with audience participation exercises. The number of participants varies from a minimum of 10 to as many as 80. Workshops range in length from one hour to one day, and are led by either members of PsySR or community leaders working from the US and THEM handbook, including ministers, teachers, social organizers and community activists. Workshops focus on self-awareness, awareness of others, and bridging the gap among different ethnic groups. Participants study different problems, such as black/white gang conflicts in Detroit high schools and ethnic strife in Bosnia, to discuss how to apply the concepts and exercises they learn in the workshops. In phase two of the program, dialogue groups are formed, and subsequently meet about once a month. In phase three, a joint project is developed and carried out by workshop participants from the different groups.
Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments
Post-workshop evaluations have been encouraging and requests for workshops and materials are growing steadily. Joint projects continue to address issues of diversity and race relations. In Detroit, these projects focus on the question of affirmative action, with an emphasis on the recent debate about affirmative action at the University of Michigan. Over 500 people have gone through the program in Detroit. The program has also begun to be implemented in Ohio. The US and THEM Presenter's Manual includes directions for the audience participation exercises and is accompanied by overhead materials. Visit the Psychologists for Social Responsibility Website at www.rmc.edu/psysr.