Happy New Year! My Top 7 blogs of 2021

This is now one of my blog traditions! Every year for the past several around New Year’s, I share my top 7 most read blogs of the year. It is really fun to go back and pull my website stats to see what people read the most. And for the first time ever, all of the top blogs were published before this year, and people found them via google search.

Quick stats about his year’s list:
• Five of the 7 dealt with some general aspect of diversity
• Two of the 7 dealt with diversity within sports
• For four of the 7, I had a collaborator assisting me with the content

Here are the seven most read of 2021, starting with number 7 and working up to number one. At the bottom I will give an honorable mention to the top blog published in 2021

7) This year’s number 7 was written in 2019 – a book review titled A new fantastic book in inclusive leadership: “How to be an Inclusive Leader” by Jennifer Brown. I often use industry leading consultant Jennifer Brown’s material when I teach about inclusive leadership.

6) A guest blog written in 2018 by my cousin Brandon, who has a masters degree in social work and now works in the Federal Prison System – Five Misconceptions about Atheists from my Experience: A guest blog by Brandon Garrick.

5) “Five Things Never to Say to Hispanic People” is a companion piece to this year’s number one blog, guest written by my part-time bilingual consultant on staff, Elsa Maria Jimenez Salgado. It probably hit the top 7 list for the first time since people could link to it from the top blog.

4) My fourth most popular blog was also 2019’s number 4, but it did not make the list last year – “Three Wonderful Recent Examples of Diversity and Sports,” in which I provide short summaries with links about an NFL football player with one hand, an WNBA player who is a new mother with her wife, and a college track star who overcame a harsh abusive upbringing in Africa.

3) I received excellent assistance from local activist and Muslim woman Zainab Baloch for the third most read blog (with over 2,000 hits) and published in 2018, “Five Things To Never Say To a Muslim.”

2) Last year’s number one is now number 2. With over 4,500 hits across the two blogs were 2018’s Seven More Fabulous Out Gay Men of Figure Skating (and One Bisexual Woman) and my 2016 personal labor of love which included several personal photos that I took, “Seven Fabulous Out Gay Men of Figure Skating.” With 2022 being an Oympic year, I plan to write my third installment of this series in January.

1) With the growing number and visibility of Hispanic Americans, Number 2 for the previous three years now made it to number 1 in 2021 with over 6,500 hits! “Seven Misconceptions or Stereotypes of Hispanic People”, a guest piece written in 2016 by my part-time bilingual consultant on staff, Elsa Maria Jimenez Salgado.

Since none of the few dozen blogs I wrote in 2021 made it into the top seven, I will give honorable mention to the top 2021-written blog, a book review – A Diversity Book Truly for EVERYONE – “Empowering Differences” by Ashley T. Brundage.

I wish all of my faithful readers a happy and hopefully COVID-free 2022.

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Five Things to Never Say to a Muslim

I thank Zainab Baloch for her excellent assistance with this blog (see short bio at the end of the post.)

About four years ago, I read a blog called “5 Things to Never Say to a Black Person” and that inspired me to write “5 Things to Never Say to a Gay Person” which was my first blog to go viral. I thought – wow, how cool! So, I later followed with “5 Common Misconceptions about Gay People” and “5 Things to Never Say to Transgender People”.

Then two years later my Hispanic colleague Elsa Maria Jimenez Salgado wrote “5 Things to Never Say to an Hispanic Person” and “Five Misconceptions about Hispanic People.”

Now it is time to write this same series about a truly misunderstood and often demonized group in the USA – Muslims. So, for these next two blogs I have collaborated with Zainab Baloch, a young local Muslim woman here in Raleigh, NC who ran for Raleigh City Council and got close to winning, and one of her friends who I recently met, Desire Clemons. I thank both of them, and additional information about Zainab is at the end of this blog.

So, 5 Things to Never Say to a Muslim:

1) “Did you know Osama Bin Ladin?” With 2 billion Muslims in the world, there is little chance the Muslim you meet ever met Osama Bin Ladin or knows anyone near him. It would be like asking a Catholic if they personally know the Pope.

2) “Don’t you feel responsible for 9-11?” “Why can’t you stop them?” It is unfair to ask anyone in a group to take responsibility for and to stop the horrid behavior of an extremely small minority. It’s not like the 2 billion Muslims in the world have a “Whatsapp Group.” Can you make a group chat that big?
3) To a woman wearing a hijab or scarf: “Don’t you feel hot under that thing?” “Do you wear it in the shower?” “You would look so much prettier without that thing.” And the worst thing yet to say, “Could you take that off, I’d like to see what you look like without it.” The wearing of a scarf or hijab is a very personal and private decision made by a Muslim woman and should be treated with reverence and respect.

4) “Aren’t you hungry during Ramadan? OMG – you don’t eat for an entire month?” Actually, practicing Muslims only fast between sun-up and sun-down and can eat after dark. Plus, there are exemptions, i.e. pregnant women, those with medical conditions, etc. Like point 3 above, the decision of fasting during Ramadan is a personal and private decision, and you may just want to be aware if a Muslim friend or co-worker is fasting so you don’t try to frequently offer them food. Plus, they may be slightly irritable or sluggish toward the end of the day. (Link to info about Ramadan)

5) “Why don’t you believe in God? You need to find Jesus – come to church with me!” Actually, Muslims do believe in God and call Him “Allah.” Plus, Jesus is a beloved Prophet within Islamic history and many of the tenants of Islam are very similar to those of Judaism and Christianity.

I would encourage all readers of this blog to familiarize themselves with Islam, make some friends with Muslim people and perhaps attend a community or educational event held by your local mosque.

And now here is part 2 – “Five Misconceptions of American Muslims”

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A little about Zainab Baloch

Zainab is a Raleigh native, first generation American, and ran for Raleigh City Council in 2017. She is an advocate for issues facing our city and has a long-standing foundation of community service in various leadership positions. She is the third vice chair of the Wake County Democrat Party, and serves on various boards including WakeUP Wake County, The Islamic Association of Raleigh (link) Board, etc. She works in quality management for the Divison of Mental Health and is almost done with her Masters in Public Administration from UNC-CH (she’s a die hard wolfpack fan though).

Website: votebaloch.com
Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Snapchat: @votebaloch

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Three earlier blogs I have written about Islam and Muslims:

Islamaphobia – a Growing US Diversity Issue

Workforce Diversity – Islam (Muslims) in the American Workplace

The Intersection of Islam and LGBT