Money, Health, and Other Things

Educational Blog in the Area of Family and Consumer Sciences for the Middle Peninsula

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Three-Part Discussion on Diversity and Inclusion: Part III – Is “Privilege” a Dirty Word?

This week, we’ll conclude our three-part series on diversity and inclusion and discuss whether or not the word “privilege” is a dirty word.


The word privilege, particularly as it relates to social equality and diversity, has become a polarizing word, but should it be? Privilege, in this context, is defined as unearned access to resources or benefits available to some people as a result of their advantaged social group identities. Often this takes the form of exclusion to barriers experienced by those belonging to social groups that are commonly the target of discrimination. It’s also important that we talk about what privilege isn’t, the existence of privilege does not mean that successes and failures are only due to privilege; it does not mean that work ethic isn’t still a critical component. Instead, privilege means that Travis, a white male, would likely experience fewer barriers in life than Ebony, a black female, even if they worked equally as hard in school and in their careers. For instance, Travis is less likely to be turned down for a job interview because the employer assumes he won’t be smart enough given biases about his assumed race, nor will he likely be passed over for promotions because of biases about his leadership quality given his gender. Sadly, a number of studies have shown the impact these biases, often implicit/unconscious, can have. This includes a Harvard study where 1600 Black and Asian applicants had their resumes “whitened”, changing their name to one more commonly associated to a white individual, and removing any references to their race, resulting in the call-back rate for interviews more than doubling. Princeton also conducted a study, in which 127 applications for a laboratory management position were sent to university professors. Applications were identical except for the name – half with traditionally male names, and half with traditionally female names. Professors were asked to rate the competence, hireability, and merit for mentorship, along with a proposed starting salary. Male students were rated as significantly more competent, hirable, and deserving of mentoring, and offered a 14% higher starting salary. If we are to work towards a truly equitable society, the first step is to acknowledge that these inequalities and privileges exist; only then can we reduce or remove them altogether.

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Three-Part Discussion on Diversity and Inclusion: Part II – Implicit Bias


This week, we’ll continue our three-part series on diversity and inclusion and discuss implicit bias.


What is “implicit bias?” An implicit bias is an unconscious association that causes us to have feeling and attitudes about people based on things like race, age, gender, appearance, and ethnicity. Implicit biases can be favorable or unfavorable, and most importantly, they exist without any awareness or intent. These biases often develop throughout a lifetime, starting at a young age, and continuing to develop through relationships with our families, social circles, media exposure, and other life experiences.

First and foremost, does having implicit biases make you a bad person? Absolutely not! While we may not realize it (and we may not want to acknowledge it), virtually all of us have at least some implicit biases, having either preferences or subconscious negative views for people based on certain characteristics. However, if these implicit biases go unacknowledged, they can lead to unintentional unfair or unequal treatment of other individuals. So, what can we do? The first step is to try and unravel what unconscious biases we may have. This can be a particularly uncomfortable experience, but remember, growth in anything is virtually impossible if you remain in your comfort zone! One possible option to look into our own implicit biases is through Project Implicit (, an online project by Harvard University. From there, we can double check that any decisions we make and views we develop are based on objective measurements and ensure that our subconscious biases are not guiding our evaluation of others. It’s important that we not allow our personal biases to get in the way of how we treat our co-workers, clients, or our communities!


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Three-Part Discussion on Diversity and Inclusion: Part I – Inclusive Communication

For the next three weeks, we’ll change it up a bit and have a three-part discussion on diversity and inclusion. This week well discuss inclusive communication!


Whether it’s in the workplace or in social settings, it’s important that we’re conscious of how we communicate to diverse audiences and understand that the things we do and say may be interpreted differently by different groups of people. For instance, if you were to make the “peace sign” backwards, did you know that’s virtually the same gesture as extending your middle finger for some people from the UK? Did you know that if you were to make a gesture, attempt to shake hands, or hand something with your left hand to people from certain nations, that may be construed as an insult?


While we may not be able to address every communication concern, it’s important that we do the best we can. In addition to making the time to look into the cultural norms, practices, and communications for the audiences we interact with, we should be conscious of “people-centric” language. People can often feel marginalized or dehumanized when their condition or trait becomes the major label defining them. For instance, instead of saying a “disabled person” say a “person with a disability.” Instead of “alcoholic” or “diabetic”, say “person with alcoholism” or “person with diabetes.” Also, do your best to use positive language; “person living in recovery” instead of “ex-addict,” “had a setback,” instead of “relapsed”. The more we make a concerted effort for positive and inclusive communication, the better we can productively interact with diverse audiences!


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Five Things to Know about Colorectal Cancer

 Today we’ll discuss five things to know about Colorectal Cancer:

  1. Despite being one of the more preventable forms of cancer, colorectal cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer death in the US, at about 50,000 deaths a year


  1. Risk of colorectal cancer increases with age and is most common among adults age 50 and older and those with a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or polyps


  1. Several lifestyle factors increase the risks of colorectal cancer, including lack of exercise, diets low in fruits and vegetables, low-fiber and high-fat diets, being overweight or obese, heavy alcohol consumption, and tobacco use


  1. Cancer screenings, such as colonoscopies and sigmoidoscopies, are essential for early detection of colorectal cancer and the potential removal of cancerous polyps


  1. About 50% of colorectal cancer cases are preventable through lifestyle changes, such as regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, decreasing alcohol, red meat, and processed meat consumption, and increasing dietary fiber, calcium, and fruit and vegetable consumption.