An Emotional Conceptualization of People and Diversity: Integrating Emotional Intelligence in Human and International Relations for Social Justice

By James Smith.

Published by The Diversity Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

As “sentient” beings, humans translate needs/desires and anxieties/fears through behavioral interactions with the external infrastructure of the social, political and economic world to meet those needs/desires and address those anxieties/fears. Emotions provide information for making evaluative judgments and decisions. They are integral and significant to human interaction and underlie all behavioral motivation, especially for violence and peaceful interactions. Emotionally, we feel insecure, fearing inherent differences in the world community. Socially constructed differences, suggesting structure and security for interactional understanding/predictability with differentiated “others” has the opposite effect, separating, and disenfranchising people from caring connection to our common humanity. Emotional disconnection/distance prevents positive communication across the socially constructed boundaries of gender, race/ethnicity, culture, religion, and national origin, making it easy to justify and engage in biased, discriminatory, prejudicial behavior, injustices, and violence/war. To wrong, hurt, or kill someone is a learned behavior and a key element in this learning is creating an “emotional distance” between killer and victim/enemy. Violence/War and killing is predicated on dehumanizing, demonizing the “enemy”, so one can deny a human is being killed. When positive emotional bonds between human beings are destroyed, the possibilities for dialogue breaks down, sensitive, considerate, benevolent behaviors are lost and aggressive/violence behavior(s) that are fundamental to initiating and sustaining violence/war occurs. Understanding and connecting to the emotions of culturally and socially differentiated others is essential for members of the global community in order
to provide sensitive, receptive interpersonal and intrapersonal diplomatic and one-to-one personal interaction. “Social-emotional-learning” and emotional intelligence can be fundamental to the world community’s ability to interact with peaceful intentions. This article suggests that there can be no meaningful reduction in world violence/war, the practice of peace without an emotional attachment and caring for human beings who are different, such a consideration presents significant implications for reframing diplomacy and international relations.

Keywords: Emotional Intelligence, Emotion, Multiple Intelligence, Diversity, Multi-Culturalism, Social Justice, Ethnicity, Race, Nationalism

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp.1-14. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 670.692KB).

Dr. James Smith

Associate Professor, Department of Social Work, School of Applied Studies, Washburn University, Topeka,, Kansas, USA

Dr. James Smith, MSW, MPA, Associate Professor/Social Work, Washburn University has 33 years of social work practice, program administration/management, development and teaching experience. He is a Licensed Specialist Clinical Social Worker in Kansas, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in North Carolina and Wyoming; a member of Council on Social Work Education, National Association of Social Workers, Academy of Certified Social Workers, Society for Spirituality and Social Work, and a Charter/Life member of the National Council of African American Men. His research interest is emotions, emotional intelligence in behavioral interaction, social work education and practice outcomes; social emotional learning of race and gender, diversity, cultural competency, violence; criminality and rehabilitation. His articles can be found in a special issue of the Race, Gender, & Class, The Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics, Journal of Nursing scholarship, Criminal Justice Review, the International Journal of the Humanities, the International Journal of Learning, the Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table, and the Spirituality and Social Work Forum. He has presented in national and international conferences in Honolulu, HI, the Universities of Granada and Barcelona, Spain, Cambridge and Oxford Universities in the United Kingdom, Queens’s University in Belfast Northern Ireland, and the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

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