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Share with us in no more than 300 words, and a picture or two, a great diversity experience that you have had; professional or personal and let’s engage in a dialogue on what exactly is diversity. Please submit your views for publication to

Submissions that are derogatory to any one given viewpoint or speak against, incite or threaten any one view point or any persons will not be considered.


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For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf was a 1975 experimental play by Ntozake Shange. Initially staged in California, it has been performed Off-Broadway and on Broadway, and adapted as a book, a television film, and a theatrical film. The 1977 Broadway production was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play.

Famed television and film producer Tyler Perry has adapted the play into a movie that has received rave reviews and much attention. Recently, Women’s Studies students at Howard University participated in a seminar on Shange’s work and Perry’s movie. Presentations included theoretical and academic discussions, as well as modern dance and dramatic readings.  We present the flyer from the program at Howard University to give you a short synopsis of a wonderful event that generated excitement and discussion from student and faculty participants.      

Women’s Studies on the Media:
An Examination of For Colored Girls

Howard University
29 November 2010

For Colored Girls

Introduction:        Dr. Rebecca Reviere


Elana Denise Anderson, Department of African Studies
Savior, Not Sinner:
Africana Female Redemption in Contemporary Cinema
This presentation will specifically explore the role of dance as catharsis in Tyler Perry’s feature film, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow is Enuf.  It will focus upon the lady in yellow, as portrayed in the film by Anika Noni Rose.

Adria Y. Goldman, Mass Communication and Media Studies
Let Them Speak and Ye Shall Learn:
A Postmodernist Analysis of Rape (and Its Victims) as Portrayed in the Movie, For Colored Girls.
Fueled by postmoderism, this presentation will analyze Yasmine/Lady in Yellow--the dancer featured in  For Colored Girls who becomes a victim of date rape. By identifying rape victims as a "silenced group", the presenter will show how the movie paints Yasmine as a rape victim who loses and then slightly finds her voice, which helps to educate the other characters and audience members about rape.

Dana T. Marshall, Department of Sociology
Incest is a Tale We Tell:
Fictional Expressions of Incest within the Culture of Black Media.
This presentation will attempt to frame the discussion of the taboo of incest, within the African American Family via fictional accounts.
Natasha R. Howard, Mass Communication and Media Studies
“But It's Your Fault I'm This Way”:
A Feminist Critique of Promiscuity and Sexuality in For Colored Girls
 Using Patricial Hill Collins' Black Feminist Thought framework as the theoretical basis, this presentation will explore how the topics of sexaulity and promiscuity are explored in For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide: When the Rainbow is Enuf and the film adaptation, For Colored Girls.  Focusing specifically on the character Tangie from the film, the presentation will explore the double standards, problems, and possible solutions regarding African-American women and their expressions of sexuality.

Kendra Parker, Department of English
“Somebody Almost Walked Off Wid Alla My Stuff”:
Domestic Violence and Black Female Subjectivity in For Colored Girls
For Colored Girls voices draws on the radical feminist concept of "the personal is political" as it concerns itself with the lives of "colored" women throughout the United States, especially as it concerns domestic violence. These stories illuminate the lives of colored women throughout the United States; these are stories of laughter, joy, pain, and survival.

Judy Mulusa, Department of Political Science
Gender Perspective of HIV/AIDS:
Linking the African and the African American Experience
The paper picks the HIV/AIDS theme in the movie to compare the vulnerability of African and African American women to HIV/AIDS and based on the links identified it hypothesizes that application of the GAD approach towards ensuring economic security for African women would reduce their vulnerability to HIV/AIDS.

Rikesha L. Fry Brown, Department of Psychology
That Low Down Down Low:
A Womanist Theory Case Conceptualization
Using a therapeutic/psychological perspective, this presentation will focus on Jo/the Lady in Red. A theoretic conceptualization, therapeutic prognosis and treatment plan will be discussed from the Womanist theoretical standpoint.

Mackenzie Jordon, Mass Communication and Media Studies
Where Difference Begins:
An Analysis of Race and Class in Organizations based upon Representations in
Tyler Perry's For Colored Girls
Black women in organizations undergo frequent challenges to adjust to the workplace. In addition to the issue of race, there are also very important distinctions in how they navigate based upon class. This presentation will examine the standpoints of the women in Tyler Perry's 2010 movie For Colored Girls to understand some of the obstacles Black women face as they communicate and interact in the workplace.


Discussants:                      Dr. Vernetta Young, Department of Sociology/ Anthropology
                                                Dr. Lila Ammons, Department of Afro-American Studies



A Diverse Experience In Learning

Service Learning in Senegal and Kenya with Engineers Without Border’s – Howard University Chapter


John Tharakan, PhD
Professor and Interim Chair, Department of Chemical Engineering
Faculty Advisor, Engineer’s Without Border’s, Howard University Chapter
Senior Fulbright Scholar
College of Engineering, Architecture and Computer Sciences
Howard University, 2300 6th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20059, USA

Service learning (SL) has been formally defined as engagement of students in course-based, credit bearing educational experiences in which students participate in a service activity and are also provided a framework and context within which to engage in guided reflection on the service activity.  In this presentation, Professor Tharakan examines how we learn and how we teach, arguing that a pedagogy based on community-focused, project-based service-learning is the most likely to engage students and enhance learning while contributing to the general good. Following a brief excursion into the developments in engineering education and pedagogy, he takes us on a tour of service learning projects in Senegal and Kenya where the Engineer’s Without Border’s-Howard University Chapter (EWB-HU),conducted site and project assessment and implementation visits. In Senegal, faculty and students assisted in the design, construction and installation of a solar energy supply system for a remote rural community which, until then, had had no electricity. In Kenya, students partnered with a rural community school and orphanage to assist in infrastructure renovation, water supply assessment and development, public health education, and technology and communications capabilities development.

The service learning visits were an interesting and somewhat unusual experience in diversity. All the students that were taken on these site visits were African American and many were experiencing Africa for the first time. As Black students visiting Africa for the first time, many came with their own preconceived notions about the people and places, and with their own different expectations. Some were excited, some were wary and all were nervous to some degree. Nevertheless, the reception the students received always tended to be warm and welcoming with increasing amazement expressed as our hosts learnt that the students were African American, followed inevitably with chants of “Obama” erupting from somebody in the crowd, always in a warm and friendly way.  The interactions always served to broaden perspectives, with the US visitors trying to learn and understand how something was done while explaining to their hosts how the same might be done while in America.  In the end, the activities and experiences served to bring the students closer to the culture.

Dr. Tharakan gave a presentation on the above Service Learning experience at the Faculty Author’s Appreciation Day Lecture at Howard University in April 2009.  A slide show of the presentation is available at:


Please check back later.


Diversity can be almost anything…whichever way one’s imagination can take us and howsoever one’s belief system guides us.  Below is a short, imaginative write up on the value of non violence which, one day, even the different weapons recognized! Perhaps that will happen in real life one day??

The day weapons refused to kill
A  Nonkilling  Fable


Francisco Gomes de Matos, a peace linguist from Recife,Brazil

Author of Nurturing Nonkilling:a Poetic Plantation,published by the Center
forx Global Nonkilling,Hawaii
Professor Emeritus,Federal University of Pernambuco
President of the Board,Associação Brasil America, A Bi national Center


One day  weapons representatives decided to meet at the Global Weapons Assembly(GWA) in Nonkillingland. After a brief  discussion, they decided to launch a Weapons for Nonkilling Day, an initiative which was unanimously approved and to be implemented upon the representatives` return to their ecosystems.  The decision was acclaimed  by global media and by all forms of government. Persons, families, communities rejoiced over that unprecedented addition to their yearly calendar.  What was the practical consequence of that creatively imagined day?  That day, all types of weapons would not kill, so human beings, animals, plants and other life forms would be free from killing.  

At that history-changing session, some weapons delegates were asked to speak.  Among weapons used in pre-historical times, a stone had the privilege of being the first to take the floor.  Inspiringly, it said that on that day, whenever used for deadly purposes…it would change into a flower.  Then, a gun, representing a large group of deadline weapons, stood before the multilingual-multicultural audience and proudly stated: Today, all bullets shot from me will fall in their victims` hands as delicious banana pieces. Another weapon spokesperson was asked to address the already enthusiastic audience.  This time, a suicide-bomb appeared on the stage and in a most tranquilizing manner assured its viewers and listeners (there was radio broadcasting coverage, too) that  "Any human being who uses me  lethally will immediately see its weapon changed into a burst of laughter".  A torpedo picked up the microphone and said that if a submarine used that weapon, it would become a playful dolphin, who would swim in all oceans.  There followed a statement by a missile: When they fire me, I´ll become a beautiful peace dove who will fly all over the world.  Finally, the representative for the most destructive deadliest weapons - a nuclear bomb -   came before the strategically placed global TV cameras  and read this  proclamation ,endorsed by  weapons invented throughout History: "On Weapons for Nonkilling Day, all weapons  pledge not to kill  and to celebrate Peace, Nonviolence, and Nonkilling in every possible way.  All of us, sadly invented to cause lethality, will create a unique day in the History of Humankind, a day when weapons will be  the most powerful peace building, peace preserving, peace supporting force on Earth.  In short, all of us weapons with dignity pledge to de-weaponize the world.  Although we have been created for dehumanizing purposes, in such shameful condition we refuse to stay. 

And the GWA session came to a close, with its convener´s leading a harmonious chorus singing Weapons unite: let´s declare PEACE . Let´s serve PEACE. Let´s show Humankind the only way to live peacefully, nonviolently, nonkillingly.



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Are You Having An Event Related To Diversity?

If your school has/is putting up a play, dance, poetry competition, conference, and workshop related to diversity issues or having a diversity/multicultural day, please tell us about it in no more than 150 words and send us pictures and information about your school and we shall publish it.

Please submit your experience for publication to Please see additional details under Submissions.

Submissions that are derogatory to any one given viewpoint or speak against, incite or threaten any one view point or any persons will not be considered.


For older posts, please click here


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