4.E: Systems of Distinct Representatives (Exercises)

Ex 4.1.1 How many different systems of distinct representatives are there for (A_1={1,2}), (A_2={2,3}), …, (A_n={n,1})?

Ex 4.1.2 How many different systems of distinct representatives are there for the sets (A_i=[n]ackslash{i}), (i=1,2,ldots,n), (nge2)?

Ex 4.1.3 Suppose the set system (A_1,A_2,ldots,A_n) has an sdr, and that (xin A_i). Show the set system has an sdr containing (x). Show that (x) cannot necessarily be chosen to represent (A_i).

Ex 4.1.4 Suppose the set system (A_1,A_2,ldots,A_n) satisfies (|igcup_{j=1}^k A_{i_j}|ge k+1) for every (1le k< n) and ({i_1,i_2,ldots,i_k}subseteq [n]), and that (xin A_i). Show the set system has an sdr in which (x) represents (A_i).

Ex 4.1.5 An (m imes n) chessboard, with (m) even and both (m) and (n) at least 2, has one white and one black square removed. Show that the board can be covered by dominoes.

Ex 4.2.1 Find the size of a maximum sdr for $$A_1={a,b,c}, A_2={a,b,c,d,e}, A_3={a,b}, A_4={b,c}, A_5={a}, A_6={a,c,e}.$$ Justify your answer.

Ex 4.3.1 Show that there is only one reduced Latin square of order 3.

Ex 4.3.2 Verify that the isotopy relation is an equivalence relation.

Ex 4.3.3 Find all 4 reduced Latin squares of order 4. Show that there are at most 2 isotopy classes for order 4.

Ex 4.3.4 Show that the second set system defined in example 4.3.7 has an sdr as claimed.

Ex 4.3.5 Show that there are no orthogonal Latin squares of order 2.

Ex 4.3.6 Find the two orthogonal Latin squares of order (5) as described in theorem 4.3.9. Show your answer as in example 4.3.10.

Ex 4.3.7 Prove that to construct orthogonal Latin squares of order (2^m), (mge2), it suffices to find two orthogonal Latin squares of order (4=2^2) and two of order (8=2^3).

Ex 4.3.8 An (n imes n) Latin square (A) is symmetric if it is symmetric around the main diagonal, that is, (A_{i,j}=A_{j,i}) for all (i) and (j). It is easy to find symmetric Latin squares: every addition table modulo (n) is an example, as in example 4.3.6. A Latin square is idempotent if every symbol appears on the main diagonal. Show that if (A) is both symmetric and idempotent, then (n) is odd. Find a (5 imes 5) symmetric, idempotent Latin square.

Ex 4.3.9 The transpose (A^ op) of a Latin square (A) is the reflection of (A) across the main diagonal, so that (A_{i,j}^ op=A_{j,i}). A Latin square is self-orthogonal if (A) is orthogonal to (A^ op). Show that there is no self-orthogonal Latin square of order 3. Find one of order 4.

Ex 4.5.1 In this bipartite graph, find a maximum matching and a minimum vertex cover using the algorithm of this section. Start with the matching shown in red. Copies of this graph are available in this pdf file.

Ex 4.5.2 Show directly that that the size of a minimum vertex cover in (G) is the minimum value of (n-k+|igcup_{j=1}^k A_{i_j}|), as mentioned above.

4 Reasons Why You Need to Conduct Disaster Preparedness Exercises

For some organizations, conducting regular disaster preparedness exercises comes with the territory. If you work with chemicals, in a manufacturing facility, or in an industry where your main function is to protect people and property, you’re probably well-versed in why preparation matters. For many organizations, however, the potential dangers are not as obvious and safety exercises are relegated to the mandatory annual fire drill. This approach may be setting your organization and your people up for real trouble.

Why you should be doing more disaster preparedness exercises:

1. You’re not as ready as you think you are.

Conducting disaster preparedness exercises is as much about what goes wrong as what goes right. After an exercise, experts recommend that you evaluate the outcomes, figure out how to improve on what didn’t work as well as expected and conduct additional exercises with new procedures in place.

2. Your people aren’t as ready as you think they are.

A colleague of mine likes to use the phrase “You respond like you train.” Without having been exposed to a situation, workers aren’t going to know how to respond to it. I THINK I know what to do in the event of a gas leak in my building, but I’m not really going to know until there really is a gas leak.

3. Your employees are concerned about their personal safety.

According to a recent article in the New York Times, most Americans report that they are ‘very’ concerned about a terrorist attack. Over half are worried about a mass shooting happening near them [1]. As an employer, conducting regular disaster preparedness exercises can help employees feel more secure and increase their confidence in your ability to respond appropriately in an increasingly unpredictable world.

4. It’s easier than you think.

FEMA offers Emergency Planning Exercises for organizations to use on its website. There are resources for organizations of all types and sizes. Check out FEMA’s Emergency Planning Exercises for details.

Let us know if we can help. The Everbridge team is always here to provide critical communications training and best practices! You can also visit Everbridge University for additional skills, techniques, concepts, and best practices needed in emergency situations.

13.4: Exercises

  • Contributed by Mohammed Dahleh, Munther A. Dahleh, and George Verghese
  • Professors (Electrical Engineerig and Computer Science) at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Sourced from MIT OpenCourseWare

Consider the horizontal motion of a particle of unit mass sliding under the influence of gravity on a frictionless wire. It can be shown that, if the wire is bent so that its height (h) is given by (h(x) = V_(x)), then a state-space model for the motion is given by

(a) Verify that the above model has ((z, x) = (0 , 0)) as equilibrium point for any (alpha) in the interval (-1 leq alpha leq 1), and it also has ((z, x)=(0, pm sqrt<2>>)) as equilibrium points when (alpha) is in the interval (0<alpha leq 1).

(b) Verify that the linearized model about any of the equilibrium points is neither asymptotically stable nor unstable for any (alpha) in the interval (-1 leq alpha leq 1).

Consider the dynamic system described below:

where (y) is the output and (u) is the input.

(a) Obtain a state-space realization of dimension 2 that describes the above system.

(b) If (a_<1>=3, a_<2>=2, c=2), show that the system is asymptotically stable at the origin.

(c) Find a region (a disc of non-zero radius) around the origin such that every trajectory, with an initial state starting in this region, converges to zero as (t) approaches infinity. This is known as a region of attraction.

where (P (x)) has continuous first partial derivatives. The function (P (x)) is referred to as the potential function of the system, and the system is said to be a gradient system. Let (ar) be an isolated local minimum of (P (x)), i.e. (P(ar)<P(x)) for (0<|x-ar|<r), some (r).

(a) Show that (ar) is an equilibrium point of the gradient system.

(b) Use the candidate Lyapunov function

to try and establish that (ar) is an asymptotically stable equilibrium point.

The objective of this problem is to analyze the convergence of the gradient algorithm for finding a local minimum of a function. Let (f : mathbb^ ightarrow mathbb) and assume that (x^) is a local minimum i.e., (f (x^) < f(x)) for all (x) close enough but not equal to (x^). Assume that (f) is continuously differentiable. Let (g(t) : mathbb^ ightarrow mathbb) be the gradient of (f) :

It follows from elementary Calculus that (gleft(x^<*> ight)=0).

If one has a good estimate of (x^<*>), then it is argued that the solution to the dynamic system:

[dot=-g(x) (13.10) onumber]

with (x(0)) close to (x^<*>) will give (x(t)) such that

(a) Use Lyapunov stability analysis methods to give a precise statement and a proof of the above argument.

(b) System 13.10 is usually solved numerically by the discrete-time system

[x(k+1)=x(k)-alphaleft(x_ ight) gleft(x_ ight) (13.11) onumber]

where (alphaleft(x_ ight)) is some function from (mathbb^ ightarrow mathbb). In certain situations, (alpha) can be chosen as a constant function, but this choice is not always good. Use Lyapunov stability analysis methods for discrete-time systems to give a possible choice for (alphaleft(x_ ight)) so that

(c) Analyze directly the gradient algorithm for the function

Show directly that system 13.10 converges to zero (left(=x^<*> ight)). Also, show that (alpha) in system 13.11 can be chosen as a real constant, and give tight bounds on this choice.

(a) Show that any (possibly complex) square matrix (M) can be written uniquely as the sum of a Hermitian matrix (H) and a skew-Hermitian matrix (S), i.e. (H^=H) and (S^=S). (Hint: Work with combinations of (M) and (M^).) Note that if (M) is real, then this decomposition expresses the matrix as the sum of a symmetric and skew-symmetric matrix.

(b) With (M), (H), and (S) as above, show that the real part of the quadratic form (x^ M x) equals (x^ H x), and the imaginary part of (x^ M x) equals (x^ S x). (It follows that if (M) and (x) are real, then (x^ M x= x^ H x )).

(c) Let (V(x)=x^ M x) for real (M) and (x). Using the standard definition of (d V(x) / d x) as a Jacobian matrix - actually just a row vector in this case - whose (j)th entry is (partial V(x) / partial x_), show that

where (H) is the symmetric part of (M), as defined in part (a).

(d) Show that a Hermitian matrix always has real eigenvalues, and that the eigenvectors associated with distinct eigenvalues are orthogonal to each other.

Consider the (real) continuous-time LTI system (dot(t)=A x(t)).

(a) Suppose the (continuous-time) Lyapunov equation

[P A+A^ P=-I (3.1) onumber]

has a symmetric, positive definite solution (P). Note that (3.1) can be written as a linear system of equations in the entries of (P), so solving it is in principle straightforward good numerical algorithms exist.

Show that the function (V (x) = x^P x) serves as a Lyapunov function, and use it to deduce the global asymptotic stability of the equilibrium point of the LTI system above, i.e. to deduce that the eigenvalues of (A) are in the open left-half plane. (The result of Exercise 13.5 will be helpful in computing (dot (x)).)

What part (a) shows is that the existence of a symmetric, positive definite solution of (3.1) is sufficient to conclude that the given LTI system is asymptotically stable. The existence of such a solution turns out to also be necessary, as we show in what follows. [Instead of (-I) on the right side of (3.1), we could have had (-Q) for any positive definite matrix (Q). It would still be true that the system is asymptotically stable if and only if the solution (P) is symmetric, positive definite. We leave you to modify the arguments here to handle this case.]

(b) Suppose the LTI system above is asymptotically stable. Now define

The reason the integral exists is that the system is asymptotically stable - explain this in more detail! Show that (P) is symmetric and positive definite, and that it is the unique solution of the Lyapunov equation (3.1). You will find it helpful to note that

The results of this problem show that one can decide whether a matrix (A) has all its eigenvalues in the open left-half plane without solving for all its eigenvalues. We only need to test for the positive definiteness of the solution of the linear system of equations (3.1). This can be simpler.

This problem uses Lyapunov's direct method to justify a key claim of his indirect method: if the linearized model at an equilibrium point is asymptotically stable, then this equilibrium point of the nonlinear system is asymptotically stable. (We shall actually only consider an equilibrium point at the origin, but the approach can be applied to any equilibrium point, after an appropriate change of variables.)

Consider the time-invariant continuous-time nonlinear system given by

[dot(t)=A x(t)+h(x(t)) (4.1) onumber]

where (A) has all its eigenvalues in the open left-half plane, and (h(.)) represents "higher-order terms", in the sense that (|h(x)| /|x| ightarrow 0) as (|x| ightarrow 0).

(a) Show that the origin is an equilibrium point of the system (4.1), and that the linearized model at the origin is just (dot(t) = Ax(t)).

(b) Let (P) be the positive definite solution of the Lyapunov equation in (3.1). Show that (V(x)=x^ P x) qualifies as a candidate Lyapunov function for testing the stability of the equilibrium point at the origin in the system (4.1). Determine an expression for (dot (x)), the rate of change of (V (x)) along trajectories of (4.1)

(c) Using the fact that (x^ x=|x|^<2>), and that (|P h(x)| leq|P||h(x)|), how small a value (in terms of (|P|) of the ratio (|h(x)| /|x|) will allow you to conclude that (dot(x(t))<0) for (x(t) eq 0)? Now argue that you can indeed limit (|h(x)| /|x|) to this small a value by choosing a small enough neighborhood of the equilibrium. In this neighborhood, therefore, (dot(x(t))<0) for (x(t) eq 0). By Lyapunov's direct method, this implies asymptotic stability of the equilibrium point.

For the discrete-time LTI system (x(k+1)=A x(k)), let (V(x)=x^ P x), where (P) is a symmetric, positive definite matrix. What condition will guarantee that (V (x)) is a Lyapunov function for this system? What condition involving (A) and (P) will guarantee asymptotic stability of the system? (Express your answers in terms of the positive semidefiniteness and definiteness of a matrix.)

2. Strength training

As we age, we lose muscle mass. Strength training builds it back. "Regular strength training will help you feel more confident and capable of daily tasks like carrying groceries, gardening, and lifting heavier objects around the house. Strength training will also help you stand up from a chair, get up off the floor, and go up stairs," says Wilson.

Strengthening your muscles not only makes you stronger, but also stimulates bone growth, lowers blood sugar, assists with weight control, improves balance and posture, and reduces stress and pain in the lower back and joints.

A physical therapist can design a strength training program that you can do two to three times a week at a gym, at home, or at work. It will likely include body weight exercises like squats, push-ups, and lunges, and exercises involving resistance from a weight, a band, or a weight machine.

"Remember, it's important to feel some muscle fatigue at the end of the exercise to make sure you are working or training the muscle group effectively," Wilson says.


Starting position: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms at your sides.
Movement: Slowly bend your hips and knees, lowering your buttocks about eight inches, as if you're sitting back into a chair. Let your arms swing forward to help you balance. Keep your back straight. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat 8-12 times.

Tips and techniques:

Shift your weight into your heels.

Squeeze your buttocks as you stand to help you balance.

Make it easier: Sit on the edge of a chair with your feet hip-width apart and arms crossed over your chest. Tighten your abdominal muscles and stand up. Slowly sit down with control.
Make it harder: Lower farther, but not past your thighs being parallel to the floor.

1.13: Sn1 and Sn2 Reactions Exercises

  • Contributed by Sergio Cortes
  • Senior Lecturer II (Chemistry) at University of Texas at Dallas

1) Which of the following best represents the carbon-chlorine bond of methyl chloride?

2) Provide a detailed, stepwise mechanism for the reaction below.

3) Rank the species below in order of increasing nucleophilicity in hydroxylic solvents:

4) Give a stereochemical structure of the product from the reaction between (S)-2-iodopentane and KCN in DMF (dimethyl formamide, a good polar solvent for ionic reagents).

5) Consider the reaction of (CH3)3CO - with iodomethane. Will the reaction rate increase, decrease, or remain the same if the concentration of iodomethane is increased? Explain.

6) Which of the following compounds will undergo an Sn2 reaction most readily?

7) What is the major organic product in the following reaction?

8) Would 2-chloropropane or 1-chloro-2,2-dimethylpropane undergo substitution faster with Na + - CCH? Give the structure of the substitution product.

9) t-butyl chloride undergoes solvolysis in 70% water/30% acetone at a rate slower than in 80% water/20% acetone. Explain.

10) Provide the major organic product of the reaction below and a detailed, stepwise mechanism which accounts for its formation.

11) Sn2 reactions involving chiral electrophiles usually proceed with: A) inversion of configuration B) slightly more inversion than retention. C) slightly more retention then inversion. D) retention of configuration. E) equal amounts of inversion and retention of configuration

12) Which compound undergoes solvolysis in aqueous ethanol most rapidly and why? Remember: solvolysis refers to ionization of the molecule aided by the solvent.

13) Why does CH2=CHCHBrCH3 undergo solvolysis much more rapidly than 2-bromobutane?

14) Provide the structure of the major organic products which result in the reaction below.

15) What combination of reactants would be best to prepare CH3OCH(CH3)2 by an Sn2 reaction?

16) The reaction between 2-iodohexane and ethanol to give a substitution product most likely follows an ______ mechanism.

17) Which of the following alkyl halides is most likely to undergo rearrangement in an Sn1 reaction?

18) Which compound is most nucleophilic? A) CH3SH B) CH3OH C) H2O D) CH3CO2H E) BF3

19) Which halide has the smallest dipole moment?

20) When 2,2-dimethylbutane is subjected to free-radical chlorination, ________ distinct monochlorinated products are possible and ________ of these contain asymmetric carbon atoms.

A) 4, 2 B) 5, 0 C) 3, 0 D) 5, 2 E) 4, 0

21) Arrange the substrates in order of increasing Sn2 reactivity with NaCN: Bromoethane, 1-chloro-3,3-dimethylpentane, 1-chloro-2,2-dimethylpentane, and 2-bromo-2-methylpentane.

22) Arrange the following compounds in order of increasing reactivity toward ethanol solvolysis: t-butyl bromide, t-butyl iodide, isopropyl chloride, and methyl iodide.

XML Course-Catalog Query Exercises

In these exercises (and the companion data exercises), you will be working with a sample data set drawn from the Stanford course catalog. There are multiple departments, each with a department chair, some courses, and professors and/or lecturers who teach courses. Two different versions are provided: the first (courses-noID.xml) encodes the data without using ID and IDREF(S) attributes, and the second (courses-ID.xml) uses ID and IDREF(S).

For more information on how to test your XPath, XQuery, and XSLT solutions, please see our quick guide to XML validation and querying.

Write each of the following queries using XPath. Write each query twice -- once for each version of the data (courses-noID.xml and courses-ID.xml). We suggest that you work with the noID version first, since some queries are more difficult on the ID version.

1. Return last names of all department chairs.

2. Return all Title elements (of both departments and courses).

3. Return titles of courses with enrollment greater than 500.

4. Return titles of departments that have some course that takes "CS106B" as a prerequisite.

5. Return the course number of the course that is cross-listed as "LING180".

6. Return last names of all professors or lecturers who use a middle initial. Don't worry about eliminating duplicates.

7. Return course numbers of courses that have the same title as some other course. (Hint: You might want to use the "preceding" and "following" navigation axes for this query, which were not covered in the video or our demo script they match any preceding or following node, not just siblings.)

8. Return course numbers for courses taught by an instructor with first name "Daphne" or "Julie".

Write each of the following queries using both XPath and XQuery. Write each query three times -- once in XPath on the noID version of the data, then using XQuery constructs on both the noID and ID versions of the data. (XPath on the ID version is difficult or impossible for some of these queries.) For XQuery, we suggest that you start with the noID version of the data.

9. Return the count of courses that have a cross-listed course (i.e., that have "Cross-listed" in their description).

10. Return the count of courses that have no lecturers as instructors.

11. Return titles of courses taught by the chair of a department. For this question, you may assume that all professors have distinct last names.

12. Return last names of instructors teaching at least one course that has "system" in its description and enrollment greater than 100.

13. Return titles of courses taught by both lecturers and professors, preferably returning each title only once.

14. Return titles of courses taught by a professor with the last name "Ng" but not by a professor with the last name "Thrun".

15. Return course numbers for courses that have a course taught by Eric Roberts as a prerequisite.

Write each of the following queries using XQuery. Write each query twice -- once for each version of the data. Once again, we suggest that you start with the noID version of the data.

16. Return the average enrollment of all courses in the CS department.

17. Return the title of the course with the largest enrollment.

18. Compile a course catalog summary, listing all CS department courses in order of enrollment. For each course include only its Enrollment (as an attribute) and its Title (as a subelement).

19. Create a Professors listing of all professors in all departments, sorted by last name. For this question, you may assume that all professors have distinct last names. Do not include InstrID's in the courses-ID.xml version of the data set. Watch out: middle names may require some special handling.

20. Building on the previous question, create an inverted course catalog: list professors with the courses they teach, sorted by last name. You may still assume that all professors have distinct last names. Make a single "Courses" subelement under each Professor, containing a further subelement for each course number taught by that professor. For an extra challenge, professors who do not teach any courses should have no Courses subelement at all.

Write each of the following queries using XSLT. Write each query once, using only the noID version of the data.

21. Return a list of department titles.

22. Return a list of department elements with no attributes and two subelements each: the department title and the last name of the department chair.

23. Return a list of department elements with no attributes and two subelements each: the department title and the entire Chair subelement structure.

24. Return those courses with enrollment less than 100. Retain the structure of Course elements from the original data.

25. Remove from the data all courses with enrollment less than 100 and all courses with no enrollment listed. Otherwise the structure of the data should be the same.

26. Create a summarized version of the course catalog: for each course, include its number and title as attributes, its description as a sublement, and a subelement for enrollment if provided. Preserve the department structure, but discard all information about department titles, chairs, instructors, and prerequisites.

27. Create a table using HTML constructs that lists all CS department courses with enrollment greater than 100. Each row should contain the course number in italics, course title in bold, and enrollment. Sort the rows alphabetically by title. No header is needed. (Note: To specify quotes within an already-quoted XPath expression, use quot .)

Legislature: Meaning, Functions and Types of Legislature

Of the three organs of the government, the place of primacy belongs to the Legislature. The function of government begins by law-making and is followed up by law-enforcement and adjudication functions. As such, the legislature is the first organ of the government.

The term ‘legislature’ is a generic term meaning a body which legislates. The term ‘ Legg means law and “lature’ the place and etymologically Legislature means a place for law-making. Another term, which is used as a synonym of Legislature, is ‘Parliament.’ This word stands derived from the French word ‘Parley’ which means to ‘talk’ or to discuss and deliberate.

In this way, we can say ‘Parliament’ means the place where deliberations are held. Combining the two views, we can say Legislature or Parliament is that branch of government which performs the function of law­making through deliberations.

The legislature is that organ of the government which passes the laws of the government. It is the agency which has the responsibility to formulate the will of the state and vest it with legal authority and force. In simple words, the legislature is that organ of the government which formulates laws. Legislature enjoys a very special and important in every democratic state. It is the assembly of the elected representatives of the people and represents national public opinion and power of the people.

Functions of a Legislature:

1. Legislative or Law-making Functions:

The first and foremost function of a legislature is to legislate i.e. to make laws. In ancient times, laws used to be either derived from customs, traditions and religious scriptures, or were issued by the kings as their commands. However, in the contemporary era of democracy, legislature is the chief source of law. It is the legislature which formulates the will of the state into laws and gives it a legal character. Legislature transforms the demands of the people into authoritative laws/statutes.

2. Deliberative Functions:

To deliberate upon matters of national importance, public issues, problems and needs is an important function of a modern legislature. Through this function, the legislature reflects the public opinion over various issues. The debates held in the legislature have a great educative value for the people.

3. Custodian of National Finances:

A near universal rule is that “the legislature of the state is the custodian of national purse.” It holds the purse of the nation and controls the finances. No money can be raised or spent by the executive without the approval of the legislature. Each year the executive has to prepare and get passed from the legislature the budget for the coming financial year. In the budget, the executive has to place the account of the actual income and expenditure of the previous year and estimated income and expenditure for the New Year.

Not only the legislature passes the budget but also it alone can approve the imposition, or repeal or collection of any tax whatsoever. Further, the legislature maintains a control over all financial transactions and expenditures incurred by the executive.

4. Control over the Executive:

A modern legislature has the power to exercise control over the executive. In a parliamentary system of government, like the one which is at work in India, for all its actions, decisions, and policies, the executive is collectively responsible before the legislature. It is accountable before the legislature. The legislature has the power to remove the executive by passing a vote of no-confidence or by rejecting a policy or budget or law of the executive.

The Prime Minister and all other ministers are essentially the members of the legislature. They are bound by the rules and procedures of the Parliament.

(b) In a Presidential form of government, like the one which is at work in the USA, the legislature exercises some checks over the executive. It can appoint investigation committees to probe the functioning of government departments. By the use of its power to legislate and pass the budget, the legislature exercises a fair amount of control over the executive. Thus, whether a political system has a parliamentary system or a presidential system, the legislature exercises a control over the executive.

5. Constituent Functions:

In almost every state, it is the legislature which has the power to amend the constitution. For this purpose legislature has to pass special laws, called amendments, in accordance with the procedure laid down in the Constitution. In some states the requirement is that the legislature must pass the amendment with 2/3rd or 3/4th or an absolute majority of votes.

6. Electoral Functions:

A legislature usually performs some electoral functions. The two houses of the Indian Parliament elect the Vice-President. All elected MPs and MLAs form the Electoral College which elects the President of India. In Switzerland, the Federal Legislature elects the members of the Federal Council (Executive) and the Federal Tribunal (Judiciary).

7. Judicial Functions:

It is customary to give some judicial power to the legislature. Usually, the legislature is assigned to act as a court of impeachment i.e. as an investigating court for trying high public officials on charges of treason, misdemeanor and high crimes and remove them from office. In India, the Union Parliament can impeach the President. It has also the power to pass a resolution for the removal of Judges of the Supreme Court and of the High Court’s on the ground of misbehavior or incapacity.

8. Ventilation of Grievances:

A legislature acts as the highest forum for ventilation of public grievances against the executive. Besides representing every interest and shade of opinion, the legislature acts as the national forum for expressing public opinion, public grievances and public aspirations. Parliamentary debates and discussions throw a flood light over various issues of public importance.

9. Miscellaneous Functions:

Some legislatures are assigned specific executive tasks. For example, the US Senate (Upper House of US Legislature) has the power to confirm or reject the major appointments made by the US President. Likewise, it enjoys the power to ratify or reject treaties made by the US President. In India, the

Rajya Sabha has been given the power to establish or eliminate any All India Service. Legislatures also perform the function of approving or rejecting or amending all the policies and plans made by the executive. In the US Constitution, the Congress (Legislature) enjoys the power to declare war.

Thus the legislative organs of the government play a very important and active role in the exercise of the sovereign power of the state. In fact legislature is the legal sovereign in the State. It has the power to transform any decision of the state into a law. Legislature is the chief source of law. It is the mirror of national public opinion and the symbol of the power of the people.

Types of Legislature: Bicameral and Unicameral Legislatures:

A modern legislature is either Bicameral or Unicameral. Bicameralism means a legislature with two houses/chambers while uni-cameralism means a legislature with a single house/chamber. A large number of modern legislatures, particularly of big states, are bicameral i.e. legislatures with two houses (Bi = Two, Cameral = House).

However several states, mostly the small states and provinces of a federal system, have unicameral legislatures, i.e. legislatures with single houses. Where the legislature is bicameral, “the first house is usually called the lower house, and the second house is called the upper house.

India, USA, UK, France, Russia, Switzerland, Australia and a large number of other states have bicameral legislature. 22 states of India have bicameral legislatures.

The unicameral legislatures are working in China, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Turkey, Portugal and several other states. The state legislatures of all the Canadian and Swiss cantons (provisions) are unicameral. In India, 6 states and 2 Union Territories have unicameral legislatures…

Arguments in Favour of a Bi-cameral Or Arguments against a Unicameral Legislature:

1. Second Chamber is a Safeguard against the Despotism of a Single Chamber:

The second chamber of a legislature is essential for preventing the first house from becoming arbitrary and despotic. A single chamber with all the legislative power can become corrupt and despotic. The second chamber is needed for keeping it away from being arbitrary and despotic.

2. Second Chamber is essential for preventing Hasty and 111- Considered Legislation:

Second chamber prevents the passing of hasty and ill-considered legislation by a single chamber. With a view to satisfy mass passions and demands, the single chamber can commit the mistake of passing ill-considered measures in a haste, which can subsequently be a source of big harm to the national interests. The second chamber prevents or at least considerably limits such chances. It exercises a checking and modifying influence on the bill passed by the first house.

3. Second Chamber acts as a Revising Chamber:

The legislative work in the modern welfare state has become highly complex and technical. It demands a deep and careful examination of all aspects of the measures which are to be enacted into laws. The second chamber performs the role of a reviser. “When deliberations have to be done, two heads are better than one.”

4. Second Chamber Lessens the Burden of the First House:

The emergence of welfare state has produced a manifold increase in the scope of law-making. A modern legislature has to pass a large number of laws. Under the circumstances, a legislature with a single chamber can fail to effectively pass all the legislative work. The second house is needed for sharing the legislative work.

5. Two Houses Better Represent Public Opinion:

The two houses can together correctly act as the barometer of public opinion. A single house can grow out of tune and fail to keep in harmony with public opinion. The second house chosen at a different time can help the legislature in overcoming the above defect.

6. Essential for giving Representation to Special Interests:

The second chamber provides a convenient means for giving representation to different classes and interests which need representation. The lower chamber can consist of the elected representatives of the people as a whole, and the upper house can give representation to the minorities and special interests and groups like the Labour, women, scientists, artists, teachers, intellectuals, writers, chambers of commerce.

7. Delay is Useful:

The critics of the second chamber often argue that it is a source of delay in the passing of laws. Undoubtedly, the passing of laws by two houses leads to some delay. However, this delay is very useful. It helps the crystalisation of public opinion on all bills before they become laws. The existence of second chamber acts as a source of delay between the introduction and final adoption of a law and thus permits time for reflection and deliberation.

8. Essential for a Federation:

A bi-cameral legislature is considered essential for a federal system. In such a system, the lower house gives representation to the people of the state as a whole and the upper house gives representation to the units of the federation.

9. Instrument for Utilising the Services of the Able and the Experienced Persons:

A second chamber makes it possible for the state to use the political and administrative ability of such people, who for certain reasons are not in a position, or are not quite willing to enter the lower house through elections. The second chamber can, as such, help the induction of experience and ability into the legislature.

10. Second Chamber is a Source of Stability:

The second chamber can be given a longer and continuous term for securing stability. The lower house, being the representative of the people has to be given a shorter tenure. As against this, the second chamber can be given a longer tenure and a permanent or quasi-permanent character for ensuring some stability. It has been due to such a consideration that a member of Indian Rajya Sabha has six year tenure and this house has a quasi- permanent character—it is never dissolved as a whole and only l/3rd of its members retires after every two years.

11. Historical Support:

History supports the case in favour of bicameralism. The successful working of bicameral legislatures in various states of the world is an accepted fact. No major state, whatever its form of government, has been willing to dispense with the second chamber. “The experience of history has been, in favour of two chambers. It is not wise to disregard the lesson of history.”

On the basis of all these arguments, the supporters of bi-cameral legislature build a very strong case. They reject the case for unicameralism.

Arguments against Bicameral Legislature or Arguments in favour of Unicameral Legislature:

The critics of bi-cameralism and supporters of uni-cameralism, however, reject the thesis that second chamber is essential. They oppose it as a superfluous chamber which always results into more disadvantages than advantages.

Bicameralism is opposed and uni-cameralism is supported on the basis of the following arguments:

1. Two Chambers Confuse Public Opinion:

The critics argue that public opinion is one and can be represented by a single chamber. Sovereignty is one. People are sovereign. Their will is one and cannot be divided. They are best represented by a single chamber. Two chambers confuse public opinion, particularly when one chamber disagrees with the second chamber.

2. Second chamber is either Mischievous or Superfluous:

Abbie Sieyes holds that the second chamber is either mischievous or superfluous. If the second chamber dissents from the first, it is mischievous if it agrees with it, it is superfluous. This argument assumes that the popular will is represented by the lower house.

3. Problem of Organising the Second Chamber:

It is a universal rule that the first house should be a directly elected representative house of the people. However, there exists no consensus regarding the organisation of the second chamber. Different bases have been adopted by different states, but the results have been not encouraging.

The hereditary and nominated character of the British House of Lords has made it a secondary and almost useless house. The US Senate, because of its small size and long” tenure, has become more powerful than the US House of Representatives.

The Indian experiment of striking a balance, by making the Rajya Sabha neither as powerless as the British House of Lords nor as powerful as the US Senate, has also failed to produce the desired results. The Rajya Sabha has not been successful in exercising desired control or in sharing the burden of the Lok Sabha. As such, there exists no sound method for organising the second chamber.

4. No Law is passed in a Hurry:

In the prevailing system of law-making in which a bill has to go through several stages before getting a place in the statutes book, there is no need for a second house. The system of Law-making as it operates today eliminates the chances of ill-considered and hasty legislation by a single chamber. Hence, the second chamber is not needed.

5. Source of Delay in Legislation:

The second chamber is always a source of unwanted delay. A bill has to pass through several stages in the first house before getting passed. When it goes to the second house, it has to again pass through a similar process. It causes unwanted and harmful delay. In this process, the legislation gets unnecessarily delayed.

6. Revision of the Bill by Second House is Unnecessary and Useless:

The critics of bi-cameralism reject the argument that the second house is needed for revising the bill.

(i) The revision is unnecessary because the bill is revised thrice by the first house before it is passed

(ii) The emergence of well organised committee system has made the revision of the bill by second house redundant and

(iii) Since all discussions in the second house too are held on party lines, no really objective or additional revision is done during the discussions. As such, there is neither the need for nor any use of the so called revision done by the second house.

7. The Second Chamber is not in a position to check the Despotism of the First House:

The opponents of bi-cameralism hold, that in actual practice, the second chamber is never in a position to check the so called despotism of the first chamber. It merely works as a delaying house or a slowing-down chamber. The Indian Rajya Sabha can only delay a money bill for 14 days only and an ordinary bill for a little longer duration.

8. Second Chamber is mostly a Conservative and Reactionary Chamber:

It is alleged by the critics of the second chamber that it is generally citadels of reaction and conservatism. It acts as a brake on the wheels of democracy. The practice of giving representation to minorities and special interests makes the second chambers reactionary and conservative houses. The second chamber is usually dominated by the rich businessmen, capitalists, landlords and the ‘elitist’ sections of society.

9. Special Interests can be represented in the First House:

The supporters of unicameral legislatures advocate that the special interests of minorities and weaker sections of society can be given representation in the lower house without any loss. This can be done without disturbing the nature and character of the membership of the house as determined by the people through elections.

10. Second Chamber is not essential for a Federation:

The importance of second chamber as the representative of the units of a federation has also lost its relevance because of the role of political parties in the political system. Political parties now dominate the entire political life of every state—federal as well as unitary or non-federal. Since every election is fought on party basis, the second chamber too represents party interests and not the units of the federation.

11. Increased Expenses:

The existence of two chambers means more burdens on the finances of the state without much use, because the second chamber almost always fails to perform its due role in the legislative process. The second chamber entails heavy expenditure and renders no useful purpose.

On the basis of all these arguments, the supporters of uni-cameralism strongly advocate the case for single chamber legislatures. They reject bi-cameralism as unnecessary, less-useful, and an unwanted expensive system which seriously limits the legislative work.

After examining both sets of arguments, we can conclude that the case in favour of a bicameral legislature or bicameralism is qualitatively stronger than the case for unicameralism.

It can be stated that the national legislatures should be bi-cameral because of the importance of the work that these have to undertake. In the case of a federation also, it is more advantageous to have a bicameral legislature than a uni-cameral one. The second house, as the representative of the federal units serves as a source of strength for the health of a federal state.

Above all, the lesson of history has been clearly in favour of bi-cameralism. Bi­cameral legislatures have proved to be more effective and useful than the uni­cameral ones.

However for small states and for the member units (provinces or states) of a federation, unicameral legislatures can serve the purpose. In India, we have both bicameral as well as unicameral legislatures at the state level.

9 Fun Customer Service Training Exercises

We share nine exercises that help to bring fun into the contact centre, while improving key contact centre skills.

What Are the Keys to Good Training Exercises?

According to Caroline Cooper, a Trainer and Consultant at Naturally Loyal, there are two elements that need to be part of a contact centre training exercise to gain maximum value from it. These elements include a specific and relevant key message and the need for the exercise to be participative.

Caroline says: “Contact centres are notoriously stretched for time, so we need to make sure that there is a key message to each engaging exercise, so that as well as developing advisor skills, and making the learning memorable, advisors can also identify the relevance to their role.”

Too often the more extrovert advisors put themselves forward to do a role play and get everyone to watch. This makes it too easy for shy advisors to sit back and not take anything in.

Caroline Cooper

“We also need to make sure that everyone gets involved. Too often the more extrovert advisors put themselves forward to do a role play and get everyone to watch. This makes it too easy for shy advisors to sit back and not take anything in. So, it’s important to either split teams into groups and allow everyone to role play or to create exercises that involve everyone.”

With this in mind, here are a number of exercises, recommended by Caroline herself, that were designed to be all-inclusive and to develop key advisor skills.

Exercises for Team Building

Team-building activities are great to create a team atmosphere in the contact centre. So here are two examples of team-building exercises, which also include some key learnings.

1. The Ice Breaker

This exercise is a great way to kick off an induction training session, by getting recruits up and talking to their new colleagues and gathering key learnings that they will need to bring into the contact centre.

To get started, ask everyone to stand up and pair up with someone in the group who they don’t already know. If there is an odd number, you – as the trainer – will have to get involved.

There are three rounds to this exercise, each of which will last for a couple of minutes, and will require the advisors to swap partners, so they keep engaging with new people throughout the game.

At the start of each round, ask your advisors to do the following:

Round 1 – Find something you have in common with your partner outside of work (so this excludes working for the contact centre!).

Lesson – When you find something in common with someone, it is much easier to build rapport.

Round 2 – Share with your new partner something that you’re proud of, from any time in your life. It might be something you’ve achieved yourself or someone else you’re proud of.

Lesson – Finding something you are proud of makes you feel good. So help celebrate with advisors, or get them talking about things they are proud of.

Round 3 – Share with your new partner a time you came home from shopping having bought more than you planned to. What prompted you to spend more than you intended?

Lesson – Engaging advisors with great customer service from their own life experience helps get the team thinking about the subject matter.

For more exercises like this, which are great for remote contact centres, read our article: 10 Fun Customer Service Activities That Will Make Your Staff Smile

2. Acronyms

Acronyms is a quick, fun exercise to engage new advisors with fundamental contact centre topics, such as service excellence, soft skills and the customer experience.

Once you have a topic in mind, split the team into small groups of three to five people and give each team a word relating to that topic. The teams can either be given the same word or a different word.

A few words that you could use for the topic of “service excellence”, for example, could be “care”, “engage” or “positive”.

With their word or phrase, as well as some pens and paper, give the group two minutes to create an acronym, by coming up with a word for each initial letter that is relevant to the topic. The best acronym could then win a prize, making it a nice game for groups to bond over. Established teams are often competitive enough to make it fun without the carrot of the prize!

To make this game as successful as possible, keep it fast-paced and come up with a few of your own examples before you get going, so you can give prompts to groups if they get stuck.

Find out more ideas for creating the best possible working environment for new recruits, in our article: 8 Ideas to Welcome New Advisors Into the Contact Centre

Exercises to Train Good Listening

The games in these next two fun examples were created to get advisors engaging with the learning principle of listening.

3. Questions and Answers

This game involves asking advisors two questions, to test their listening abilities – although they should not be told that this is the intention of the exercise.

The two questions to ask the team are:

i. How many of each species did Moses take into the ark?
ii. You are driving a bus which leaves Stoke at 8.30 with 23 people on board. It stops in Leicester dropping off 10 and picking up a further 4 passengers. It travels further south to Milton Keynes, where it drops off another 5 passengers and picks up a further 6. It arrives in London two hours later. What was the driver’s name?

These questions seem simple to answer, right? Yet, in Caroline’s experience, advisors nearly always get both of these questions wrong.

i. None, it was Noah
ii. You

So, why do advisors nearly always answer these questions incorrectly. Caroline says it’s because:

  • We hear what we expect to hear so we assumed it was Noah
  • We don’t always catch the most important part of the question and get side-tracked with irrelevant information.

This is a lesson that when communicating with customers, we need to listen carefully and check our understanding. We also must avoid assumptions at any cost, even if we’ve heard the problem before a different solution may be required for this particular customer.

4. Ping Pong

No, not table tennis – but something equally engaging! It starts by getting the advisors to find a partner. Then they count to three, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, etc., but alternating between the two.

Once everyone’s in a rhythm every 15-20 seconds add in the next step.

Step 1 – Now substitute 1 for a hand clap (clap-2-3, clap-2-3)

Step 2 – Now substitute 2 for an action – e.g. wiggle (clap-wiggle-3, clap-wiggle-3)

Step 3 – Next substitute 3 for an action and sound e.g. yeehaw (clap-wiggle-yeehaw, clap-wiggle-yeehaw)

Step 4 – Now back to 1-2-3, 1-2-3

Sounds fun, right? But what does this have to do with listening?

The key message here is that once you are fully concentrating on what the “other person” is doing, it is much easier to create rapport and spot opportunities.

Also, the more we practise, as is the case when active listening, the easier things become.

For more tips on improving listening skills, read our article: Top Tips to Improve Listening Skills on the Telephone

Exercises to Improve Advisor Questioning

Asking the right questions is critical to the role of a contact centre advisor. So, here are a couple of fun games that will help to improve advisor questioning and probing skills.

5. Determine the Scenario

Too often advisors are asked to only use open questions, in order to gain as much information about the customer as possible, so they can then find the solution that works best for them.

However, there is a lot of value in closed questions, so you can confirm the information that you hear and lead the conversation, if the customer isn’t the most talkative. The best advisors are comfortable with both forms of questions.

To get advisors thinking about how to ask the best closed questions, to better lead the conversation, split the team into groups of three or four advisors and play this game!

The advisors, in their groups, are given a clue of a scenario, but not enough to determine what is actually going on. Tell one advisor the full story and give advisors a certain number of closed questions to help fill the gaps.

To better engage the team with the game, offer a prize to the team who take the fewest number of closed questions to understand the full scenario.

One scenario to give the team would be: “A man pushes a car round the corner and waits nervously” and the actual situation would be that you’re playing a game of Monopoly and just landed on someone else’s property with a hotel. You are nervously waiting for the next player to throw the dice, as if you are asked for rent you will go bust! Be careful with this example, though, as if you’re playing this game with multinational advisors, they may not have a good understanding of what Monopoly is.

To better engage the team with the game, offer a prize to the team who take the fewest number of closed questions to understand the full scenario.

6. Over to You

For this exercise, ask small groups of advisors to consider an issue that is fairly common amongst your customer base and ask them how they would handle the matter.

While doing so, Caroline recommends asking the groups to think about the following four questions:

i. If this was your business, what would you do?
ii. If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do?
iii. If you had an unlimited budget, what would you do?
iv. If you had a magic wand, what would you do?

This exercise encourages advisors to start thinking for themselves and enables them to devise creative solutions to customer issues. Your team may just surprise you and come up with some great suggestions that you had never before considered.

As the trainer, move around each group and listen to their thoughts, always trying to give ideas some praise, to avoid stifling future creativity. Remember, even if the advisor’s suggestions are impossible to implement right now, they may spark future development plans.

For more tips on improving advisor questioning, read our article: Practical Tips for Effective Questioning and Probing Techniques

Exercises to Improve Emotional Intelligence

Research shows that emotion has a greater impact on customer loyalty than both resolution and effort. It is therefore becoming a greater focus for customer service industries.

With this in mind, here is a fun game that will help to develop your advisors’ emotional intelligence.

7. Real Play

This activity relies on role playing, a key ingredient to customer service training, especially during inductions and when new processes are brought into the contact centre.

According to Caroline, it can be difficult for an advisor to empathise with the customer if they have never personally experienced the issue before, and it is especially important for new advisors to experience situations from a customer’s perspective. So, having the opportunity to role play and practise how to handle specific situations is great to give new recruits a taster of what working in the contact centre is actually like.

It can be difficult for an advisor to empathise with the customer if they have never personally experienced the issue before… so having the opportunity to role play and practise how to handle specific situations is great to give new recruits a taster of what working in the contact centre is actually like.

Take the pressure off the advisors so they can focus on the learning rather than the stress of ‘role playing’ in front of their colleagues. Split the team into groups of three. One member of the group role plays as the customer, another as the advisor and the final member acts as an observer. It is better to do this than to make everyone watch a single group role play – no one enjoys that!

Each group is given a different customer issue, specific to scenarios that suit your business. They then act out the scenario, as you go around talking to each group, discussing how the advisor tried to find a solution, while asking the observer whether or not they would have done anything differently and what they thought the advisor did well.

8. Customer’s Shoes

To fully understand the emotions a customer is feeling when they call into the contact centre, advisors need to have a good understanding of the customer journey.

So, this activity, which can last for up to an hour, involves giving each group of two to three advisors a different section of the journey and reviewing it through a customer’s eyes.

Focus on every “touchpoint” between when a customer browses the website and any after-sales service, so the advisor is aware of each different emotion at each point on the journey.

With the groups having and experiencing their section of the journey, Caroline recommends asking them the following four questions:

i. What were your own observations?
ii. What did we do well to give customers a great experience?
iii. If this was your business, what would you do differently?
iv. What one thing could you start doing tomorrow to give our customers a better experience?

Experiencing your service first-hand allows advisors to speak to customers from their own experience, improving their authenticity, while they also have the opportunity to consider why certain customers may feel the way that they do. This is the first step to creating genuine empathy.

An Exercise to Improve Advisor Problem-Solving

To finish, here is an example of an exercise that will help to encourage advisors to think outside of the box.

9. Nine Dots

To start this exercise, give each advisor a plain sheet of paper and ask them to draw a square in the centre approximately 8cm x 8cm.

Then, request that each person draws three lines of three dots in the middle of the square, so all the dots are lined up. Advisors should end up with a square that looks like this:

Then, set the group the challenge of joining all nine dots with four lines or fewer, without taking their pen off the page.

In all probability, advisors won’t be able to do so, as they will automatically assume that they have to stick to the confines of the box, while you can only complete the challenge by joining up the lines outside of the box, as shown below.

If anyone knows how to do this already, set them the challenge of joining the dots with three lines or fewer. This can be done like so:

In fact, it can even be done in one line, as we never said that the line had to be straight or even thin, did we?

This exercise is more than just a brainteaser, as Caroline points out two key learnings that can be taken away from it.

Learning 1 – Just because you can’t find a solution doesn’t mean one doesn’t exist. We often assume certain rules which don’t necessarily exist. For example, in this exercise many advisors would have assumed that the lines had to be straight, when they didn’t.

Learning 2 – Even when we come up with one solution, it doesn’t necessarily mean to say it’s the best solution, and normally there will be alternatives. So don’t assume your existing way of doing something or the first solution you find for a problem is the best one. For example, we found a solution with four lines first, but eventually we found a better way that just required the one.

In Summary

These exercises are all tried and tested within the contact centre industry and the teamwork involved with each is a first step in creating a great working environment.

However, this is not their main focus. These exercises have all been devised to engage advisors with key advisor soft skills that will hopefully help the team improve their performance further.

Thanks to Caroline Cooper of Naturally Loyal for recommending each of the training exercises that have been included on this list.

To find more examples of bringing fun into the contact centre, read our articles:

Published On: 21st Jan 2019 - Last modified: 6th Nov 2020
Read more about - Call Centre Life, Coaching, Editor's Picks, Fun, Games, Training

How can you reduce racial prejudice and racism?

While we try in the Community Tool Box to offer easy, step-by-step instructions for community work, changing a group of people's prejudiced attitudes and an institution's racist actions isn't so simply carried out and it doesn't happen overnight. Reducing racial prejudice and racism is a complex task that varies from community to community, so it doesn't lend itself well to simple, 1-2-3 solutions that can be adopted and applied without having a thorough understanding of the context and environment. Something like this takes knowing your community well and choosing strategies that best fit your community's needs, history, context, energies, and resources.

With that in mind, we offer a variety of activities and strategies you can conduct in combating racial prejudice and racism so that you can decide which of these tactics might work best in your workplace, school, neighborhood, and community.

Note: None of these activities or strategies alone will lead to sustainable change at the individual, institutional, or community levels. In order for such change to occur, you have to take actions that will allow you to consistently affect the different levels over a long period of time.

Before you decide on the best activities and strategies, do the following:

  • Learn about your community (e.g., what groups live there, what has been the nature of their relationships, what incidents have occurred in the past due to racial prejudice or racism).
  • Document activities in your community that reflect racial prejudice or racism. Documentation will show proof that there is a problem, especially when the community is in denial that racism exists.
  • Invite a group of people to participate in the planning process, if appropriate (e.g., the advocates who always take action, the representatives of each group, the people who are affected).
  • Understand the depth of the problem (e.g., it's a new problem because of a group of newcomers, or it's an old problem that won't go away).
  • Identify and understand the kinds of policies that may need to be challenged.
  • Determine the short-term and long-term, if any, goals of your strategy (e.g., change people's attitudes and/or change an institutional policy).
  • Consider how far the selected strategy(ies) will take your community (e.g., as far as initial awareness, or all the way to electing officials from the under-represented groups).
  • Consider what existing resources you can build on and what additional assistance or resources you may need (e.g., anti-racism training, funding, or buy-in from the mayor).
  • Consider how much time you have (e.g., are you responding to a crisis that needs to be dealt with immediately, to the need to curb a festering issue, or to the desire to promote the value of diversity).
  • Review your strategies to ensure that they deal with racial prejudice and racism at the individual, community, and institutional levels, and they link dialogue to action.

Note: Appropriate structures and processes need to be set up in the community to implement these activities

Things You Can Do In The Workplace: From Reducing Racial Prejudice To Reducing Racism

Actively recruit and hire a racially and ethnically diverse staff.

While it's not enough just to fill your staff with a rainbow of people from different backgrounds, representation from a variety of groups is an important place to start. Contact minority organizations, social groups, networks, media, and places where people of different ethnic and cultural groups congregate or access information. If you use word-of-mouth as a recruitment tool, spread the word to members of those groups, or key contact people. Also, consider writing an equal-opportunity policy for hiring and promoting staff.

Actively recruit culturally and ethnically diverse board members, executives, and managers.

Racial prejudice can be reduced if the staff becomes diverse and raises the awareness of each other, but racism is reduced when power is shared by the leadership.

In order to move beyond racial prejudice and ensure inclusiveness, your organization’s board members and executives should reflect the communities or constituencies it serves. For instance, one group decided to reserve a certain number of slots on its governing board for representatives of the cultural and ethnic groups in the community.

Talk to the people of color on your staff and ask them what barriers or attitudes they face at work. Examine your newsletter or other publications and look out for negative portrayals, exclusion, or stereotypes.

Find out how you can improve your workplace for members from diverse racial and ethnic groups that work there. This will not only give you some practical ideas about what you need to work on, but it will also signify that the needs of every group is taken seriously. Look around at any artwork you have in your offices. Are any groups represented in a stereotypical way? Is there diversity in the people portrayed? For example, if all the people in the clip art used in your newsletter are European Americans, you should make an effort to use clip art that shows a bigger variety of people.

Form a permanent task force or committee dedicated to forming and monitoring a plan for promoting inclusion and fighting racism in your workplace.

Racial prejudice is reduced by developing relationships and ensuring that materials are culturally sensitive, but racism is reduced when there is a permanent task force or committee that becomes part of the governance structure to ensure inclusive and just institutional policies.

Things You Can Do In The Media: Reducing Racial Prejudice To Reducing Racism

Write letters to the editor of your local newspaper or contact your local TV and radio station when the coverage is biased or when there is no coverage at all.

The media plays a powerful role in conveying messages to the public. Racial prejudice exists in the media if, for instance, the reporters always reveal the cultural or ethnic background of a group of loitering youth when they are persons of color, but not otherwise. Writing a letter or contacting the local media stations will help increase their staff’s awareness about the implications of the prejudiced way in which they cover the news.

Organize a coalition of leaders from diverse communities and from the local media groups to discuss how they can work together to address the way people from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds are presented in the media.

Having a long-term vision of how the community and media representatives can work together will help address racism at the institutional level. In order to do this, it is advisable to organize the community leaders and media representatives separately to discuss their issues and then facilitate a meeting between them. This will provide you and the facilitator a chance to know about the concerns and challenges before convening everyone.

Contact the local media and organize presentations.

You can contact and organize presentations to educate the staff about the values and traditions of diverse groups and help them understand the negative implications of their coverage related to race and ethnicity.

Pressure the local media organizations to develop and enforce policies for hiring staff from different racial and ethnic background.

You can help broker relationships between the media organizations and organizations that serve a specific cultural or ethnic group (e.g., NAACP, National Council of La Raza) so that networks can be developed to distribute job announcements.

In order to get information about how to cover different cultural and ethnic groups, media representatives can seek advice from the following:

Things You Can Do in the Schools: Reducing Racial Prejudice to Reducing Racism

Form a diversity task force or club. Recognize holidays and events relating to a variety of cultural and ethnic groups.

This can be done in a school or university setting. Your diversity group can sponsor panel discussions, awareness activities, and cultural events to help prevent racism. Observing and conducting educational activities about events like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, Juneteenth, and other dates of significance to minority groups provides an opportunity for students to learn about the history of different cultural and ethnic groups and reduce misinformed or inaccurate perceptions.

Conduct field trips to historical places that represent struggles against racism or places that embody the values and traditions of another group of people.

Work to include anti-racism education in your school's curriculum. Develop a strategy to change racist policies in your school.

Recognizing the traditions of other cultural and ethnic groups and developing intercultural relationships will reduce racial prejudice. Examine and change school policies that perpetuate exclusion of some cultural or ethnic groups.

Develop procedures for dealing with racist acts and provide incentives (e.g., extra credits, special recognition) for efforts to promote cross-racial understanding.

Lobby your school board to make changes or additions to the curriculum to teach anti-racism and to provide seed grants to teachers or instructors to help them conduct research and activities about racism and to promote anti-racist values and principles.

Examine the recruitment, application, and admissions process for students, teachers, and staff from different racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Things You Can Do in Your Neighborhood: Reducing Racial Prejudice to Reducing Racism

Welcome all newcomers. Make "safe zone" signs or stickers.

Form a committee to welcome anyone who moves into your neighborhood regardless of what they look like. Send representatives from your committee or neighborhood association over to the new person's house with flowers, a fruit basket, or some other small gift and say, "We're glad you're living here. We welcome you." Some neighborhoods have made small signs or stickers for their homes that read, "We welcome good neighbors of all traditions, backgrounds, and faiths." These stand in contrast to the small signs in many yards that warn would-be intruders of the particular security system they've had installed.

Write articles about different cultures and their traditions in the neighborhood newsletter or newspaper. Place advertisements about different cultural celebrations.

Identify and change policies that are exclusive and maintain the status quo.

Making someone feel a part of your neighborhood helps to reduce racial prejudice. Addressing redlining (the illegal practice of a lending institution denying loans or restricting their number for certain areas of a community) reduces racist policies.

Organize a committee of lawyers, real-estate agents, lending institutions, and community and civil rights leaders to conduct a study and present the facts to the local government. If there is a neighborhood association or council, consider if it is representative of the neighborhood's demographics and diversity. If not, develop strategies for engaging leaders (formal and informal) from the underrepresented groups.

Things You Can Do in Your Community: Reducing Racial Prejudice to Reducing Racism

Organize a cleanup or rebuilding campaign to erase racist graffiti or eliminate vandalism. Put up "Hate Free Zones" signs in the community.

Doing something as a community to repair physical damage done by racism shows that the people in your town won't stand for such displays of hatred. It also can attract media attention to your cause and put a positive spin on a negative situation.

Organize a city-wide coalition of community leaders made up of representatives from the different cultural and ethnic groups, as well as different community sectors (e.g., police, schools, businesses, local government) to examine their existing policies and determine what needs to change.

Doing something as a group of residents demonstrates the individuals' commitment to reduce prejudice. Creating a governing body that represents institutional leaders helps to reduce racism at the institutional level.

Reviewing hiring and contracting policies in the city government will help change institutional norms that could be perpetuating economic disparities.

Identify and support new candidates from different racial and ethnic groups to run for city council and other community-wide governing bodies.

Conducting candidate forums and voter registration drives will increase residents' knowledge about the candidates and what they stand for, and increase the candidates' accountability to their constituents should they win.

  • Opposing a ban placed on Filipino youth from entering a local mall
  • Working with the Somali community to oppose harassment by security guards and landlords at a housing complex
  • Mobilizing the public through forums and actions in defense of immigrant and refugee rights
  • Supporting the Tamil Resource Center as it struggled to rebuild its library and office after a firebombing in May 1995

Put together a community forum or town event on racism.

Give citizens a chance to talk about how racism affects your community can give you insight into how people feel on the subject, ideas on what you and others can do to combat racism, a chance to let people who share similar concerns to network with each other, and to publicly let racists know that your community will not stand for racism in its midst.

Create an intentional strategy that engages local government, business, education, media, and other leaders to demonstrate the commitment to eliminate racism in the institutions in your community.

Conducting public forums and events will increase awareness and reduce racial prejudice. Working in a coalition made up of cross-sector leaders and developing a clear plan will move your community towards a more sustainable effort to eliminate racism.

Bringing together leaders to create a strategy that deliberately, systematically, and explicitly deals with racism will enable your community to have a longer-term vision for a just and healthy community. Each institution should find a way for how it can contribute to eliminating racism in its policies and practices. The media should be involved to help get the word out. Credible leaders need to take a public stand to promote and validate the effort. Work to ensure that diversity is valued and included in the city government's mission statement

Make an effort to support events that celebrate the traditions of different cultural and ethnic groups.

This can be as simple as including such events on the community calendar and actively publicizing them. Your organization can also co-sponsor these events to show its support.

Organize vigils, anti-racism demonstrations, protests, or rallies.

If a racist group or incident occurred in your community, organizing a vigil, demonstration or public protest will not only give you and others some effective way to respond, but also help give hope to your community by having everyone come.

After September 11, various immigrant communities held vigils to express their sympathy for the World Trade Center and Pentagon victims and their families, speak out against anti-Muslim acts, and show their commitment and loyalty to the United States.

The Center for Healthy Communities in Dayton, Ohio hosted a community forum titled "Race, Ethnicity and Public Policy: A Community Dialogue" in the fall of 1997. This community forum gave a panel of local expert as well as members of the audience the chance to ask mayoral and city commission candidates questions about the impact of racism on the Dayton community and the role it plays in local public policy decisions. More than 150 people attended, including state and local officials, community organizers, clergy, citizens, and students.

South Orange/Maplewood Coalition on Race's long-term vision for an integrated community
The Coalition developed strategies at the individual, community, and institutional levels to foster and support an integrated neighborhood. The Coalition is planning to conduct study circles to provide residents an opportunity to build relationships. A community-wide activity was to invite Beverly Daniel Tatum to a community forum to talk about racism and how it affects our children's education. The Coalition worked with local bookstores to first sell Ms. Tatum's book at a reduced cost and to publicize the community forum. During the community forum after Ms. Tatum's presentation, small group discussions were held by facilitators that the Coalition provided. At the institutional level, there is loan program for homebuyers that is designed to encourage and improve neighborhood diversity in particular areas of the community where one race is underrepresented. They also worked closely with the school district to "reinvent" a school to become a "Lab school," which has attracted a more diverse student population to the school, and increased demand among people of different races for the neighborhood around the school.

Things You Can Do As An Individual: Fighting Racial Prejudice to Fighting Racism

You don't have to form a group to do something about racism. As an individual, there are many steps that you can take to reduce another person's prejudice, including:

  • Make a commitment to speak up when you hear racial slurs or remarks that signal racial prejudice.
  • Take advantage of events and other informational materials during Black History Month or Hispanic Heritage Month and make it a point to learn something new about different cultures.
  • Think about ways to improve your workplace to promote racial understand and equity. Be proactive about making suggestions.
  • If you are a parent, give your child opportunities to attend events about other cultures. Integrate different traditions about parenting and children's festivals into your parent teacher association and your child's school. Work with the teachers to coordinate such opportunities.

Changing people's attitudes and institutional practices is hard but necessary work. A commitment among individuals, organizations, and institutions to valuing diversity is essential for healthy communities. Changes will not happen overnight, but you can begin to take small steps towards making a difference, as suggested in this section. These small steps build the foundation for more organized, deeper, and larger efforts to build inclusive communities, a topic that will be discussed in the next section of this chapter.

Watch the video: 1952 Day In The Life Of A 1950s Small Town (October 2021).