The following feedback comments are  in regards to Dr. Keith Anderson’s presentation “Anti-racism as an Element of Culturally Proficient Leadership” to a Masters’ / Graduate level class of future administrators, for the University of Idaho, March 24, 2010.

Jan S., Meridian School District
Dr. Anderson’s presentation on Anti-Racism for educators and educational
leaders was an invaluable experience for me.  He was such a dynamic speaker,
who had our undivided attention for the entire two and half hour
presentation.  He made some excellent points, and through sharing his
experiences, he has given me some ideas that I would like to implement as a
school leader.  His points and definitions for “Anti-Racism” were new to me,
but made perfect sense.  With the balance of diversity in Idaho schools
changing so rapidly his message is vital to society, with specific interest
to educators.  I really enjoyed his stories of successful students he has
worked with, as well as stories of his personal life that has shaped him
into the person he is today.  I believe if schools and school districts are
lucky enough to have Dr. Anderson speak and present on this issue, Idaho
will make progress towards becoming a more multicultural proficient state.

Dena P., Meridian School District
Dr. Anderson’s presentation sheds light on the difference between being
racist, and the distinction between being non-racist versus anti-racist.  As
educators, we teach and are role models of the importance of accepting
others. As we experience more obvious diversity in Idaho, and our need to
become more worldly as a nation, this is an important message for all to
hear; for how what we believe and how we respond and treat others who are
seen as different to us, will greatly shape our future not to mention
defines our depth of humanity.  Without the knowledge it is easy to be
blindly complacent and by not doing anything about it, is one way of
participating in it. With the knowledge between non-racist or anti-racist,
one needs to choose as to whether you are going to be a party to racism or
not.  If it is the later, then you must act as an anti-racist not just think
that way.
Thank you Dr. Anderson, I am much more likely to take action after
reflection about your words and the message you shared with our graduate

Mura M., Meridian School District

Dr. Anderson is a dynamic speaker whose passion to help students reach their fullest potential as people is infectious. His insight, and experience regarding how to reach and teach students from varied backgrounds make him an invaluable resource for educators. We are fortunate to have access to such an inspiring, knowledgeable, and caring educational leader right here in the Treasure Valley. Feel free to use my name.

Jeannie C., Mountain View High School
I totally enjoyed Dr. Anderson’s presentation. I could have stayed and listened to him even longer. His information was very informative and interesting. I even took the information back to our school and told my administration what a great job he did and how we should have him for an in service. He really did a great job bringing the audience into his presentation and welcomed our questions and comments. I would love to here him speak again sometime.

Donna H., Meridian School District
What an inspiring visit with Dr. Keith Anderson!  He is truly a man who walks the talk.  He believes in the power of being real, yet encouraging.  Kids are so smart.  They can see right through someone who is talking at them rather than talking with them.  Dr. Anderson knows that what kids perceive is often reality to them.  So, he works hard at changing their incorrect perceptions so that their reality is accurate.  He has a passion for helping those who don’t believe they have the power to help themselves.  I think he loves watching doors open for these students.      Dr. Anderson said a few things that really stuck with me . . . *Speaking to educators: If you wanna teach ‘em . . . you gotta reach ‘em.  Go where they are and go get ‘em.  They’ll do anything for you if you care. I have found this to be true in my 28 years of teaching/counseling. *Speaking to students: You have nothing to do with poverty in your family, but you have everything to do with how you will live.

What an empowering statement for kids!  Know what you cannot control.  Control what you can.  Your life is yours to live.  Make it count!

Dr. Anderson spoke to the importance of being anti-racist rather than a non-racist.  Take action . . . don’t ignore . . . try to undo it!  I totally agree with him in his thought that school leaders need to spend professional development $$$ on diversity and multiculturalism.  He’s right – it is intangible, but that doesn’t mean it is not needed.  It is critical that all students and families know they belong in our school communities.  We are charged with the task of making this happen.

Dr. Anderson has an impactful way of reaching out and drawing the audience in.  He is entertaining, yet believable.  He used personal experiences that were relevant and enhanced his credibility.  He has experience in the business world as well as the educational field.  He draws upon this wide range of experiences as he talks with his audience.  Dr. Anderson also was a wealth of information regarding opportunities for students from poverty who keep their GPA high.  I had no idea of the college opportunities available.  I did not have knowledge of the Gates Millennium Scholarship.  What an amazing opportunity for students each year!!!

I went home, after class, and visited with my husband for well over an hour about what we had discussed.  I was impacted by Dr. Anderson’s message.  I would love for him to come to visit with my school staff . . . actually the entire district’s staff.  I can see that he has played a large part in helping students change their lives for the better and contribute to better our society.

The following feedback comments are in regards to Dr. Keith Anderson’s presentation “Anti-racism as an Element of Culturally Proficient Leadership” to a Masters’ / Graduate level class of future administrators, for the University of Idaho, March 23, 2011.

John A.
He is a very engaging speaker.  It was good to hear his background this made things not only interesting but relevant.  Dr. Anderson seemed very approachable.

Shelley Y.
I was very impressed with last night’s speaker.  Dr. Anderson was very informative about diversity training.  He allowed me to see diversity from another view point which is so valuable.  I really like his comment about being an American, which made him very approachable with questions and answering candidly.  I like that he could see ways that he needed to improve so that he could see an even bigger picture when it comes to diversity.

Thanks for having such an amazing speaker, I really enjoyed it!

Bridgit A.
A few things stand out in my mind about Dr. Anderson’s presentation.  The most prominent is the fact that, without having the difficult conversations, there will never be significant systemic change.  It takes a lot of work to undo centuries worth of prejudices against different races, cultures, and countries; the fact is that the work is hard and sometimes uncomfortable–so many people try to avoid the work.  Educators, whether teachers or administrators cannot avoid this work.  In fact, they are on the front lines as they help students to find their own voices and beliefs…and emphasize the value of social justice and equity.

I particularly enjoyed the exercise with the different beads.  Even though I wasn’t at the table filling a ziploc baggie, I was mentally creating my circle of friends & acquaintances out of the different beads.  I can see that being an interesting activity at a staff development or diversity training as a way to start discussions.  I also appreciated that Dr. Anderson made sure to emphasize that no collection of beads is wrong; it is just an exercise designed to make us think. Dr. Anderson was an engaging speaker; I enjoyed his presentation.

Anissa B.
I sincerely appreciated Dr. Anderson’s viewpoint and perspective on culture sensitivity.  He allowed me to view myself in relation to how I address cultural awareness.  I was able to step back and really see how I react to the even the most subtle of racist comments.  What I especially feel like I learned the most was the difference between “nonracist” vs. “antiracist”.  A nonracist person does nothing to stop the negative comments and an antiracist person speaks up to stop the hatred they hear.  I am so glad I got the chance to meet and listen to Dr. Anderson.

Andrea D.
Dr. Anderson’s discussion about poverty and racism was impactful for me both personally and professionally, as it caused me to reflect on my current practices as a citizen, teacher, and future leader.  Especially impactful was Dr. Anderson’s admonition that we as educators and future leaders are not doing our students any favors by viewing them through the same lens, regardless of ethnicity, race, or background.  It is interesting that I have followed this advice in raising my own children who have very different needs, and in teaching children with special needs, including those from poverty, but did not reach that ah-ha moment with race until now.

Perhaps my educational background in the elementary and high school years has shaped my views about race and racism.  I experienced desegregation and was required to leave my home school to go to another school that involved  a 45 minute bus ride.  The school’s demographics consisted primarily of African-American and Filipino populations.  I was considered the minority, but made friends of all races.  I prided myself on the fact that I treated everyone the same and was able to assimilate into a highly diverse environment.  I felt that was what constituted a good, non-racist person; however, looking back on my elementary, junior high, and high school years, I realize that I didn’t develop any deep or lifelong friendships with students of different races.  As a student, if I had allowed myself to view others through different lenses or if they had done the same, perhaps I would have developed deeper relationships.  My idealistic views have followed me through adulthood, carrying with me the philosophy that good people don’t treat people differently based on race and that race does not impact opportunities in life.  I viewed discussions about racism and feeling wronged as a sign of weakness.  What I didn’t take into consideration was higher proportions of African-American and Hispanic populations live in poverty.  We cannot compartmentalize poverty and race, as differing backgrounds and experiences greatly impact the ability to be successful in school and life.

Ever-increasing diversity in the United States has significantly impacted our democratic system by requiring the nation to make changes in order to strive for the American ideal of justice for all.  The current push for uniform student standards, high stakes testing, and accountability within our public school system is an excellent example of democracy at work.  These measures were instituted in an effort to uphold democratic principles.  Unfortunately, federal legislation did not outline the recipe or provide sufficient financial resources to meet the needs of our ever-increasing demographics.  It is up to us as educators and future leaders to make it happen, as most  students from poverty will require additional time and money resources to meet their social-emotional and academic needs.  Dr. Anderson’s presentation reminded me that we as educators and future leaders cannot view our students all through the same lens, as equality is not the answer, equity is.  It was also a great reminder that democracy means that resources are not always equal and do not have to be, as long as they do not impede the adequate education of students.  Andrea Desaulniers

Lola J.
Thank you for having Dr. Anderson as a guest speaker for class.  He is such a dynamic, likeable person.  He is honest, tells it like it is, and is so sincere and strong in his beliefs. His examples create an easy to understand vision.  His comparison on non-racist and anti-racist to a situation that demonstrated non-violent and anti-violent was eye opening and cemented the idea that simply being ‘blind to color’ does not do anything to further human rights or acceptance of one another in our society.  I also enjoyed the jelly bean exercise.  Even though I felt a little self-conscious because I do not have a very diverse group of people that I interact with frequently, it was yet another visual, concrete way to understand where I am on my cultural proficiency journey.


August 11, 2011

To Whom It May Concern:

Dr. Keith Anderson was the co-facilitator for the ‘Racial Justice and Multicultural Understanding’ training sessions designed for Boise Cascade’s Division Headquarters (Wood Products) employees.  Through activities and discussions the participants developed a shared language of racial justice issues as well as examined how our diverse identities and experiences are shaped by both privilege and oppression.

Keith is passionate about assisting his audience with understanding and disassembling racism. His exceptional talent at communicating provides a platform for participants to analyze tough topics in a safe environment.

Dr. Anderson was also able to connect the workshop goals to the business environment.  The connection of ‘what’ we learned with ‘how’ to utilize that knowledge in the workplace was invaluable.

For a group or organization wishing to explore racial justice, diversity and multicultural understanding, Dr. Keith Anderson should be one of the facilitators on the top of your list.


Jean U.
Sr. HR Specialist
Boise Cascade