Ethos Path to Change
Background | Problem | Philosophy | Operations | Solutions
P-CoC Inc approaches the combat of colorism and racist ideologies from a place of understanding and not blame, yet lifts to the surface elements that reinforce racism and colorism to advocate for change.
P-CoC Inc | Parenting Children of Color, an Education-Advocacy group, embarked on its journey on June 19th, 2020, coinciding with Juneteenth, a date symbolizing the emancipation of the last enslaved individuals. The inaugural meeting, hosted at the residence of Dr. Damaris-Lois Yamoah Lang, the Founding President of P-CoC Inc, set the stage for addressing race, color, and ethnicity inequities. Leveraging her expertise in the neurobiology of behavior, Dr. Lang emphasized that comprehending the neurological origins of social behaviors is imperative for effectively combating these social pandemics.
P-CoC Inc identifies a significant challenge in equity work—the insufficient emphasis on proactively addressing the aftermath of racial, color, and ethnicity inequities with actionable measures from a place of understanding rather than blame. Recognizing the limitations of mere awareness-raising in social movement efforts, P-CoC takes an active approach to delve into the roots perpetuating such harmful practices and reinforcing ideologies of racism, colorism, and ethnic othering. The explorative effort spans work in Neuroethology, Cognitive Psychology, and Racial Education.
Neuroethology in this work, explores the neural basis of natural behavior, investigating facial skin-tone recognition and its impact on race-color-ethnic identity development from early human brain development stages into adulthood. An adverse behavioral shift based on unfamiliar anatomic physic linked to attributes of race-color-ethnic interplay results from decreased activation in the fusiform area for facial recognition familiarity development and increased activity in the amygdala—the fear center. Cognitive psychology promotes the active unlearning of racial-color-ethnic bias perpetuated by negative societal and social reinforcement, while Racial Education and Advocacy work help mitigate its societal effects.
For instance, the association of social constructs and abstract representations between blackness and whiteness perpetuates unequal treatment, with a global extension to skin tones. Positive attributes are predominantly linked to whiteness, and negative stereotypes are assigned to blackness, resulting in the privileging of whiteness and bias against blackness. Therefore, negative societal stereotypes associated with individuals with darker skin tones reinforce fear centers in the brain, exacerbating biases in colorism and other harmful stereotypes ascribed to other race-color-ethnic elements. Persons of color are often part of the race-color-ethnic marginalized groups facing unjust scrutiny and unfair treatment compared to non-persons of color. Biased criticism diminishes the worth of marginalized individuals, impeding their progress as documented in several facets of their lived experiences.
In addressing these challenges, P-CoC Inc aims to dismantle ingrained biases and promote genuine equity through education, practical advocacy, and outreach that bring frameworks built on authentic understanding of the mechanisms of race-color-ethnicity inequity for effective combating.
P-CoC Inc.'s established ethos is rooted in the understanding that equity work related to race, color, and ethnicity must remain independent and free from coercion, aligning with other interests. The organization recognizes Interest Convergence as a significant obstacle, leading to dilution, overshadowing, and susceptibility to exploitation. Maintaining a singular focus on these Human Protective Rights (HPR) - race, color, and ethnicity - is deemed crucial to ensure dedicated attention and avoid risks such as relegation to the shadows, perpetuation of tokenism, and the creation of a superficial façade of progress. The analogy of "doggy bone treats" highlights the concern that subordinate causes may only receive superficial and non-substantive actions.
To address these challenges, P-CoC Inc. intentionally cultivates ethnographic settings within its venue-specific events and programming. This strategy creates distinct spaces where the work on race, color, and ethnicity stands undiluted and uncompromised. This intentional approach allows the organization to gain authentic observations, informing impact evaluation practices and propelling its work forward.
Ethnography, a qualitative design approach, involves immersing the organization in specific settings to closely observe interactions, behaviors, and unique characteristics. It provides a focal lens with the goal of critically informing P-CoC's work and addressing the singular problem statement being explored: race, color, and ethnicity. P-CoC is a dedicated organization with an unwavering commitment to a specific and critical perspective on race, color, and ethnicity. To maintain the integrity of its process and avoid mission creep arising from power dynamics and interest convergence, often mislabeled as intersectionality, P-CoC focuses primarily on a strategic engagement process centered exclusively on the theoretical lens of race, color, and ethnicity issues. To ensure authenticity and effectiveness, P-CoC will employ ethnographic settings in its venue-specific event spaces and programs. These settings provide the necessary environment for genuine observations, informing the Impact Evaluation process and guiding the organization's direction. This includes but is not limited to its signature annual Juneteenth-Federally recognized celebration, tabling engagements, programs, or similar events. P-CoC's Venue-Specific Engagement Spaces and programming concentrate exclusively on social cues, symbols, and signage associated with the awareness, celebration, liberation, acknowledgment related to race, color, and ethnicity, disregarding other intersectionality dynamics.
The committed Governing Board, comprising Board Officers, a Board Member, the Chair of the Advisory Board | Council, and Directors, acts as a safeguard against mission creep. Operating with a collegial, collaborative, solution-oriented, and assertive approach, P-CoC utilizes an integrated engagement logic and organizational structure. The work involves direct engagements by the Governing Board and operations conducted through ad-hoc committees.
Issues surrounding race, color, and ethnicity stem from the impact of human behavior within social frameworks in our societal structures. Understanding human behavior, therefore, requires exploring various dimensions of what encompasses human endeavors and experiences, such as shared existence across the social, natural, spiritual, cognitive, and conscious aspects. Recognizing that individuals perceive the varied dimensions of our world through unique lenses shapes each person's individualistic experiences, influencing perception and behaviors that impact societal interactions. These dimensions serve as the building blocks of one's philosophical stance or ethos, with individuals adopting one or more as foundational principles. With this in mind, and understanding that individualistic choices define one's perspective on existence, providing the essence of diversity. Our differences should unite us, not set us apart; that is the true essence of diversity- Puzzles fit together because of their differences. Understanding these differences and tangibly navigating the path of diversity, rather than relegating it to a checkbox event, can be achieved. Thus, P-CoC as an organization emphasizes coexistence across the work on race, color, and ethnicity, portraying its unique differences yet unifying human existence as one finished tapestry product of a singular human race.
P-CoC Inc focuses on the race, color, and equity lens aspects of human protective rights work, helping to promote the collective work to confront the enforcers of racism, colorism, and ethnicity othering. One of P-CoC's focused works, for instance, explores how persons of color often encounter stereotype threats contributing to academic challenges, with emotional interference negatively impacting academic achievement, particularly during adolescence when cognitive and metacognitive states undergo significant changes. To address this issue, the education system must eliminate biased and stereotypical portrayals of individuals of color and integrate greater ethnic diversity into curricular materials. Achieving a comprehensive and inclusive education necessitates a broader representation of individuals of color across societal systems, including positive portrayals in media and entertainment. These efforts aim to combat and reduce unconscious biases and stereotypes influencing perspectives, actions, and decision-making abilities. Furthermore, ensuring that individuals of color see themselves reflected in educational materials, not from a deficit lens, and encountering race-color-ethnically diverse educators will foster greater engagement and academic success for persons of color. Crucially, it is essential to actively and intentionally develop racial-color-ethnically diverse curricula to overcome the lack of representation in current scholarly literature and academic text developed for student academic engagements.
Educating the general public about these issues and increasing not only awareness but also challenging ideologies perpetuating color or ethnic dominance over others are essential steps toward cultivating an anti-racist mindset in society for a more inclusive and equitable academic and societal environment.