Embracing Diversity – Part II

What are we going to do with this Friday?!?  Not only enjoy it but appreciate it … and every day!  TGIF!  ¡¡Feliz “Cinco de Mayo”!!

Over the years of my professional life, I’ve experienced some incredible “learning techniques”.  One of those techniques is “acceptance”.  Now, no … I’m not going to sit there while an insane shooter is about to murder me and the students in my class (merely hypothetical), but I try not to be too judgemental when I hear a “story” different from the usual one or mine.  I look at the person and use my people skills that I’ve developed in classrooms from White Plains, NY to Cali, Colombia, South America and Sunrise, FL at AMEX and City College in Ft. Lauderdale!  I’ve had my opportunities to learn about differences which I still employ today.  It’s worth learning that all people are somewhat different …. and yet similar.  Embrace diversity!

One of my toughest “jobs” with the best working environment was at an international call center for American Express!  (And yes, I’m a product of my times and  my Dad and I didn’t want me to steal or sell drugs … so … I went to work!)  I got hired there as a “telephone service center” (TSC) representative for English speaking clients.  When the human resources department inquired about who in our group of new hires spoke Spanish, I raised my hand.  Shortly after, a small group of the “new class” was transferred to “the Spanish gate” where all calls that came in were in Spanish!  I did well … I worked hard!  I even got a few “complimentary calls” when Spanish speaking clients told management that they were very happy with my customer service … in Spanish! They had the best cafeteria at AMEX that I had ever seen with gourmet foods, vegetarian plates, outstanding beverages, and a gorgeous environment.  Ken Chenault was the CEO of American Express at that time!  They also had these teams and committees for employees to join to enhance the ambiance of the facility in Sunrise, FL.  It was like a city in and of itself.  I found my way to the “Diversity Team” and we got time off of the phones to plan events at the facility to educate our co-workers on the diverse elements in our society and our work place in particular.  I had met a Cuban saxophone player – Ed Calle – and we became friends on the jazz scene in Ft. Lauderdale and Las Olas Boulevard.  We (The Diversity Team at AMEX) hired Ed and his incredible Latin band to enhance our environment during an event for “Cinco de Mayo”.  It was great to see people “mixing and learning” about each other, our differences and similarities.  I took notes that I carry in my head to this very day!

Accepting others who are actually doing their best is important for all parties involved.  One may have an opportunity to learn about the challenges we face and share methods and techniques of overcoming such challenges.  My Dad – Big Ike – who had NO formal education and taught me how to read my first newspaper while sitting with him in his easy chair informed me of the importance of “learning about others”.  Every time I think of how he had “scooped up” my Mom, got on an Amtrak train to New York and never looked back except when he moved his mother from Florida to a room across the street from our building in “The Projects”, I am amazed at his abilities and interpersonal skills!!

When I meet people for the first time, I try to give them the benefit of the doubt FIRST!  Of course, if they burn through about three “doubts”, I move on.  I have learned that some people will lie in your face to appear larger than life.  I’ve learned to find my way through those charades most of the time.  I occasionally get “snagged” by a liar or bully until I find my way out of their web!!  Then, I never look back!

As I thumb through the pages of daily modern history, it saddens me that “the masses” are often turning on each other instead of on the “lying leaders” who steal from us right in front of our faces!  Can’t you see the enemy?!?  It ain’t us …  Ask Clarence Thomas and his corrupt “Mrs.” if they are feeling “fat and protected” by the billionaire that they have cozied up to over the past 20 years!!  Can you say, “Get out, Clarence … and take your wife with you!!”

In my pieces, I try to emphasize the importance of coming together to “save ourselves” and OUR home, Planet Earth!!  We won’t be able to blame anyone except OURSELVES for not coming together!  I still have hopes that this newer generation of leaders (vote wisely!) may be able to correct the quandary that these selfish previous and current leaders have us in!!  I’m just sayin’ …


John I. Cook, Director

Thank you for reading!! I love humanity!!

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Barry Stevens
    May 05, 2023 @ 18:59:55

    Looks like you’re doing well, John!



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