Change: Doni Aldine’s Journey as a Third Culture Kid, Empathy & Courage in DEI and Black History

A World of Difference
A World of Difference
Change: Doni Aldine's Journey as a Third Culture Kid, Empathy & Courage in DEI and Black History

Celebrate the courage to explore, learn and grow with empathy, as TCKs show us how to thrive with multiple dimensions of belonging.

“The biggest tool in our tool bag is something that we’re good at, but we need to focus on more so that we can use it to our advantage, and that would be empathy. So being very open, one thing I find, and I found this to myself, and I have to work on it every day, is we are so multicultural. Right. We do all the things, we’ve been all the places, we think we got it right. But there’s so much…” Doni Aldine

Doni Aldine is a globally mobile, Afro Latina and first generation North American who is passionate about creating community for cross cultural populations. She is the editor and founder of Culturs magazine and a TCK scholar who speaks around the globe on the subject.

Doni Aldine was born in New York City and at two weeks old, she started her international travel. Growing up in seven different cultures on five continents, she developed an immense appreciation for cultural diversity. She became a TCK scholar and Editor-in-Chief of Culturs magazine, which celebrates 21st century cultural diversity. Doni taught her students to break their lenses and think outside of themselves, and she emphasizes the importance of having the courage to learn about different cultures and empathy to understand them. Through her own experience, Doni has learned that we all have the power to choose who we are and to embrace all of who we are.

In this episode, you will learn the following:

1. How TCKs Develop Empathy Through Cross-Cultural Experiences

2. Exploring the Dimensionality of TCKs and Their Families

3. Understanding the Benefits and Challenges of Being a TCK in the 21st Century.


Other episodes you’ll enjoy:

EPS 122

EPS 119

EPS 112

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Chapter Summaries:


The Aworld of Difference is a podcast for those who are different and want to make a difference. This week Lori Adams Brown talks about her new job in Silicon Valley. Change means the good, the bad and the I don’t want to talk about it.


Doni Aldine identifies as a Third Culture kid, a TCK, because of her experiences growing up in multiple cultures. She’s passionate about creating community for cross cultural populations. She brings a nuanced conversation around the beautiful aspects of Black history.


It’s hard sometimes to help monoculturals understand. I focus on dimensionality, something that I realize about being a TCK because everyone’s TCKness is very different. The biggest tool in our tool bag is something we’re good at, but we need to focus on more. That would be empathy.


As a TCK, you have to learn how to observe and learn a culture by watching what people do. There’s so much observation required to fit in or assimilate. You have to have the courage to put your foot in it.


In the last two years, I’ve seen a huge shift in how many people know what TCK is. It’s about belonging. We don’t need to be rooted in one country. Most TCKs love that our identity does not come from one place.


Research shows that TCKs have a break between a physical, mental or emotional break between age 27 and like, 45. Unresolved grief is the thing that causes TCKS the most pain over time. We’ve had to find ways to connect to our people.


We would just like to see more diversity of even Asian American actors. Why is it so often when you have an Asian in a role in a movie or a TV show, so much of it is very cliche and very stereotypical. It takes quite a while before it’s truly mainstream.


How would you say that emotional intelligence is key for diversity and inclusion? People are starting to embrace going more deeply into diversity, inclusion and belonging. There’s also social justice, I feel. Intelligence can help us take it to the next level.


One of the things you love about the Bay Area is a total of TCKs of all varieties. On the World of Difference podcast, one of our highest values is getting as many perspectives as possible. Everyone can be an ally, everyone can elevate, and together we all make a difference.


The hidden diversity is who we are beneath the surface that may not be seen and adds to the conversation. Being a TCK is part of that hidden diversity. What are some of the key parts that really have resonated with you or your students?


Most male, majority female, PC or US Minority. Person of color. Who do you think would be second best? The last one. You are the first to get that.


The person who typically understands the concepts the best is the male, the white male who comes into my class. Versus the worst one is typically the minority US Population. We need to be champions like you and your husband are champions for those things. The pain is in the learning, and the learning is in a quiet moment.


The next year of Cultures is a year of Latin America. Who’s the change maker in your life that you admire? Definitely my parents, my mom and my dad. And my father in death, actually, and as he fought cancer, he really inspired me.


Omi Osaka and Simone Biles have spoken out about mental health. I love that this generation is so concerned about our health. Gen Z and Gen Alpha challenge you for real. That’s the superpower of this generation.


Doni Aldine: In this Change series, we’re going to have some pretty exciting guests coming up. They’ll talk about how to deal with unwanted change, expected and unexpected change. If this show has impacted you, or if any of our shows have, to reach out.

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