Tammy Hodo’s two different Americas

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Dr. Tammy Hodo, founder/president of All Things Diverse, LLC

Living in a biracial body created two Americas for Tammy Hodo as a child, adult, and especially in the workplace as a Navy Yeoman. 

Hodo says that growing up with a Black father and white mother created an immediate dilemma for her as a child. She explains: “I was born in Milwaukee and lived on the white side of town. At first, I didn’t understand what the problem was because I was an innocent child, but I soon learned that I was biracial. I was the darkest of all of my biracial siblings but light complexed. I was called mulatto, half-breed, Light-Bright Dam Near White. As an adult, I was called the aggressive Black woman and of course, the N-Word. The One-Drop-Rule was always present in my workplace and Black people didn’t understand my lived experiences either because I wasn’t Black enough! When I joined the Navy, I truly learned what being biracial meant …I had to defend myself against being the aggressive Black woman, being too assertive, and being the angry Black woman.” 

Hodo identifies as Black/African American. She says: “I made a conscious decision to attend Albany College and to pledge to the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Also, my mother recommended that I go to a HBCU as I had grown up in a white community all of my life in Milwaukee. I was in the first class (1977) to graduate from Albany University after the name changed.”

After college, Hodo joined the United States Navy. She reports: “When I was sent to the Meridian Naval Air Station in Meridian, Mississippi…I truly learned what White Privilege is and how it is used to put marginalized people, Black and Brown people, in their place and to keep them in their place. All Black sailors were told that it was best and safe to stay on base because racism was very open in 1989 in the town of Meridian.”

After completing her eight-week training in Meridian, Hodo transferred to San Diego North Island Naval Air Station. Hodo recounts that this “base was very racialized” but that she encountered the least resistance because she is biracial. During her four years of active duty from 1989 to 1993, Hodo participated in Operation Tail Hook, Tailgate, and Desert Storm. Following her honorable discharge, she spent three years serving in the Reserve.

In addition to her Reserve service, Hodo earned from the University of Wisconsin a Ph.D. degree in Urban Studies with a concentration in Race, Class, Gender, and Ethnicity. After receiving her doctorate degree, Hodo spent 18 years in academia as faculty and as an administrator. 

As a scholar, Hodo has developed course content and authored a textbook entitled How To Engage in Difficult Conversations on Identity, Race, and Politics in Higher Education: A Practical Guide for Faculty.

She currently serves as a lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian New York College. Additionally, Hodo has numerous publications, has conducted workshops on race/diversity, and given TEDx speeches on “Small Great Conversations About Racism” and “Voices from Within: The Academic Experiences of Minority Scholars at a Midwest Research University.”

In 2018, Hodo founded and became president of All Things Diverse, LLC. All Things Diverse, LLC is a consulting firm emphasizing that race is a social, not a biological, construct. It focuses on conducting Diversity Assessments and Surveys, Diversity Audits, and Strategic Diversity and Planning. Workshops are conducted in-person and online. A 2-day Train-the-Trainer seminar is presented in person. 

All Things Diverse, LLC employees include Hispanics, Caucasians, African Americans, and Jewish people who have lived experiences enabling them to address issues of race and/or gender. 

“My company is always looking for customers who want to be inclusive not just to check the yearly DEI boxes. 

Among its former and current customers are the City of Jacksonville, Florida (addressing policing and trust in minority communities – Safer Together), the Veterans Administration (Cultural Competency, Microaggressions and Communication Styles), the City of Tampa, Florida (training employees on Cultural Inclusiveness, Diversity and Implicit Bias), and the City of Rochester, New York.

When asked about corporations dismantling their Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) departments, Hodo replied, “These companies are making a major mistake because it will affect their bottom-line profits due to group thinking, no innovation, no diversity of thought, and no sense of inclusion in leadership.”

For additional information on All Things Diverse, LLC, you may call 619-669-8689, email tammy@allthingsdiverse.com, and/or visit www.allthingsdiverse.com. 

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Tammy Hodo’s two different Americas

By Brinda Fuller Willis
May 20, 2024