IDC Continues Its Social Justice Focus: Dialogue and Strategies to Eradicate Bigotry

Anthony G. James, Jr., Ph.D., CFLE, IDC member
Fall 2017 NCFR Report

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When this article goes to press, we will be approximately two months out from the 2017 NCFR Annual Conference in Orlando. Therefore, we want to use this opportunity to inform you on how IDC plans to continue our practice of directly engaging membership on how race and racism has an impact on family life. Without dismissing, or even diminishing, the importance of these discussions when we first started the sessions in Vancouver at the 2015 annual meeting (NCFR members can listen to a recording of the panel at, it is unlikely that many could have predicted what the racial landscape, or at least its more salient expression, would be some two years later. Much like Martin Luther King Jr. noted in his 1963 speech at the March on Washington, “the fierce urgency of now” is upon us to continually provide space and opportunity to equip Family Scientists with tools, tips, and practices that create and maintain the existence and well-being of families, but particularly those marginalized as a result of racism and other forms of bigotry.                                                                                              

This year’s IDC session has particular significance, considering that it will occur “in the backyard” of the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting that resulted in the death of more than 50 members of the LBGTQ community, most of whom were Latinos. Although it may be common to point out individual stories from such tragedies, these events cannot be decontextualized from their absolutely devastating impact on families and communities. Nor can this event be decontextualized from continued negative interactions between African American families and racist legal systems, or the continuous threat of deportation of Latino individuals and families (among other ethnic groups; read the NCFR response to President Trump’s Executive Order on Immigrants and Refugees at, or the historical (and continuous) trauma facing Native American families. Further, this session will take place in the context of an environment that has witnessed exponential growth of hate crimes (see the Southern Poverty Law Center’s report at and hate group membership. In all, racial/ethnic and minority families are trying to exist and thrive in racialized environment that includes a critical mass of people who intentionally seek to harm and further marginalize them, along with a critical mass of individuals who engage in unintentional actions that contribute to this experience of harm and demise. Thus, members of the IDC would be derelict in our duty if we did not respond with equal (com)passion and urgency by engaging the membership in a way that supports the mission of NCFR to promote family well-being. Please join us as we seek to continue our social justice-oriented work to support this critical mission of NCFR.

The IDC special session will take place on Friday, Nov. 17, 1:45–3 p.m. The discussion topics for each table are listed below. Our aim is to ensure that Family Science professionals, again, leave with tangible tools, tips, and strategies that will aid in the work of helping all families feel valued and respected. As a reminder, the strategies from last year’s session can be found in the spring 2017 edition of NCFR Report and online at The discussion topics and table leaders for the 2017 IDC session are as follows:

  1. Racial Discrimination, Colorism, and African American Families’ Interactions With Legal Systems (e.g., Police, Prisons)
    • Dr. Antoinette Landor, University of Missouri
  2. Asian American Families and the Model Minority Myth
    • Dr. Kristy Shih, Central Michigan University
    • Dr. Soyoung Lee, Soo-Bin You, and Dr. Lyndal Khaw, Montclair State University
  3. Latino(a)  Families and Immigration
    • Dr. Diamond Bravo, Harvard University
    • Dr. Chelsea Derlan, Virginia Commonwealth University
  4. LGBTQ Latino(a)  Families’ Experiences of Racism and Sexual Minority Prejudice
    • Shawn N. Mendez, University of North Carolina–Ashville
  5. Muslim Families and Islamophobia
    • Drs. Manijeh Daneshpour and Iman Dadra, Alliant University
  6. Native American/Indigenous Families and Historical Trauma
    • Dr. Le Anne Silvey, Michigan State University
  7. White Families and White Privilege
    • Dr. Miriam Mulsow, Texas Tech University
    • Dr. Bethany Letiecq, George Mason University
  8. Experiences of Trauma, Persecution, and Racism by Refugee Families
    • Dr. Bahira Sherif Trask, University of Delaware
    • Dr. Vanja Lazarevic, San Diego State University
    • Damir Utrzan, University of Minnesota
  9. Trans-Identified Individuals’ Experiences of Racism
    • Dr. Monique Walker-Riley
  10. Teaching About Race in a Class About Gender
    • Dr. Ramona Faith Oswald

Additionally, we want to take time to introduce a new award that will be granted for the first time at this year’s conference. The IDC Social Justice Award for Contributions to Family Science is to recognize a mid- to late-career NCFR member, with at least 10 years in the Family Science profession, for outstanding work in the area of social justice as it relates to his or her work with families. The IDC defines social justice as “individuals and organizations actively identifying the dynamics of socially structured and institutionalized oppression and privilege; self-reflecting on our own socialization linked to social locations (e.g., race, class, gender, sexual orientation, ability); and acting on systematic and hidden disparities with meaningful leadership in the field of family science.” The winner of the award will be announced at the IDC special session, and will be awarded a plaque and an opportunity to lead a roundtable discussion at the special session.

Thanks for your time and interest. Let continue to build on tips, tool, and practical strategies to help family science professionals engage in this social justice work. We hope to see you in Orlando!


Additional Reading

 Jenkins, J. (2017, February 10). ThinkProgress has been tracking hate since Trump’s election: Here is what we found. ThinkProgress. Retrieved from:

Majumder, M. (2017, January 23). Higher rates of hate crimes are tied to income inequality. FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved from

Southern Poverty Law Center (2017, February 15). Annual census of hate groups. Retrieved from:

Slate Staff (2017, June 1). Hate in America: An updating list. Retrieved from:

Other members of the IDC include: Sandy Bailey, Christi McGeorge, Vanja Lazarevic, Tom Blume, Shann-Hwa Hwang, Miriam Mulsow, and Jennifer Kerpelman (NCFR Board Liaison)