This past week has been unfortunate. There have been violent, racially charged protests, attacks and murder. All committed in the name of one cause or another. As an American I am ashamed. As a human I am saddened.
I never thought I would need to publicly state that I am against Nazi rhetoric or white supremacist views, but I am.
As a white male I find the fact that this thought still exists to be abhorrent and disgusting.
The thing that bothers me most about this is not that it exists; there will always be people that think a certain way. It’s the fact that the reaction of some leaders was to place blame on all, including the victims.
I never feel comfortable wading into race relations dialogue. I typically feel inadequate and too uniformed to truly understand the challenges that minorities feel. As a result I seek to learn and absorb.
However, in the case of Charlotte, Virginia the stance is clear. If you are an individual who claims that your so called purity as a white man/woman means you have more value than those of different colors, you’re absolutely wrong. Science does not support you, nor does history.
I failed to mention the train wreck that is Google right now.
One engineer writes a manifesto claiming women are emotion-driven and as a result are not as capable at STEM careers as men are. Google fires him, there is a major uproar and everyone now has an opinion.
One article I read showed how Google is acting as thought police preventing any idea that is not approved from being made public. Other articles I read show how, if we appease intolerant viewpoints, we risk allowing intolerance to abound and have extreme cases, such as Nazi Germany.
What does all of this say for society? I believe it shows that we are now on the margins of culture.
Only the extreme survive.
If you have an easy going and inclusive view on society then you are not to be trusted. However, if you take a hard stand on either the left or right, you are to be championed.
When did this culture of extremes become the norm?
“For years I thought it was a pipeline question,” said Julie Daum, who has led efforts to recruit women for corporate boards at Spencer Stuart. “But it’s not — I’ve been watching the pipeline for 25 years. There is real bias, and without the ability to shine a light on it and really measure it, I don’t think anything’s going to change.”
Conscious, intentional bias is bad enough, but girls also have to contend with an unconsciously biased society and a dearth of powerful role models.
Women rarely consider themselves experts, unlike men, who will claim expertise on any subject, no matter how ridiculous.
A presenter asked a group of men and women whether anyone had expertise in breast-feeding. A man raised his hand. He had watched his wife for three months. The women in the crowd, mothers among them, didn’t come forward as experts.
Ellen Kullman, the former chief executive of DuPont sums up a large piece of the problem.
The UK’s advertising industry regulator has announced that portrayals of little girls aspiring to be, say, a ballerina while boys hope to be, for instance, a scientist or doctor will be banned from the country’s ads. Many of these air during kids’ programs and target teens through social media.
And if you think this example is extreme it is actually drawn from this Aptamil baby formula ad.
Can bias actually be addressed beyond training and conversation?
Join me tomorrow for a look at how a corporate sexist poster child became a lodestar for gender equity.
Although both articles I refer to are aimed at startup founders, I believe they are applicable to bosses at any level and in any company.
First, no boss ever accomplished their goals by being a jerk.
As Bob Sutton explains in The Asshole Survival Guide, treating people like dirt hurts their focus and saps their motivation. (…) In the podcast, Reid [Hoffman] describes his test of a great culture: Does every employee feel that they personally own the culture?
Folks. I am about a week behind on recognizing International Women’s Day, but wanted to speak about it today.
There is always an element of folks out there who cry that we are dividing each other more by recognizing every different group of people, but I disagree.
At this point we have roughly 7 billion people in the world and they are each unique. That’s pretty cool if you ask me and I find that recognizing the differences that make us unique can be a unifier.
One reason I want to address this holiday is because I have been personally affected in a profound way by strong female leaders, both in life and work.
These women were mothers, wives, bosses, employees and, in some cases, warriors. I call that out because throughout history there was not always the option for women to follow their own path — it was chosen for them.
I am the father of two beautiful girls, they are identical twins and they light up my life. My wife and I are blessed (and challenged) by them daily. In June I get to experience it again with the addition of our third girl.
If I am being completely transparent, I was never a feminist. I didn’t think men were the superior sex, but I didn’t think the status quo was an issue either. While having girls has helped to change my thinking, the journey began many years ago.
I served five years as a United States Marine and enjoyed the opportunity to be a part of something greater. Now, the Marine Corps has around 200,000 active Marines and about 7% who are female. It’s a male dominated world where recent news has uncovered that misogyny is alive and well unfortunately. I don’t bring this up to shame the institution but to call out the opportunity for improvement.
Within this environment though I had the pleasure to serve under a female Marine officer by the name of Meredith Brown. At the time she was a Major and retired as a Lt. Col.
She was a no-nonsense person who expected results and demanded excellence. I recall how I used to write reports for her and she would pull out a red pen and begin striking things out. As she did that though, she took the time to show why the corrections needed to be made and expected that I wouldn’t repeat the errors.
Now you may be thinking, this lady sounds rough! I will tell you though, she knew what she was doing. I was a young man who needed guidance and she also saw something in me that perhaps I didn’t see myself. As a Marine she was tough but also fair to a fault. She was the first strong woman in my professional career and I valued our time greatly. We still speak to this day and she continues to give sound advice.
How does this fit into culture? Because as a society we have determined that sex, color, background, race or other factors that could be discriminated against are not how we should be judged.
We have deemed actions to be our judgment. Does this always happen? Absolutely not, but we strive for it.
If I had been an older man in a different Marine Corps, I would have never had the opportunity for a female Marine to lead me. I would have operated in a bubble and be unable to see another point of view without great difficulty.
So next time we have a day that celebrates a unique quality about a specific group of people I suggest we take the time to embrace it.
See something from a different perspective, walk in another person’s shoes, so to speak, and learn.
Whether you were alive in 1984 or not, you’ve probably seen Apple’s Super bowl ad. It’s reshown almost every year and has been consistently voted the top-rated Super Bowl ad ever made, which is saying a lot.
When the ad was made women were on an upward trend and were respected members of the tech community — unlike now.
Watching the ad again last week I got to wondering.
If that ad were made today would the person throwing the hammer be a woman?
Or would it be the proverbial “twenty-something guy in a hoodie?”
Today is (or should be) the first day of the rest of your life speaking out and actively working for the world in which you want to live. To do everything you can to quell the rise of hate and change the direction of your world.
If you care it’s time to act — not wait for the other guy to do it.
I’m sure that some of my readers are happy with its direction and will be very unhappy with this post. They may even unsubscribe (it’s happened in the past), but that is their right and I respect that.
But hopefully the rest of you will heed this call to action, take time to read the links and time to think about the world you want — not just for yourself, but for you current/future kids and their kids, etc.
The hate being shown to this wave of refugees echoes the hate shown to past waves, but this time it’s far more hysterical and fraught.
As for the argument that the Muslim ban fights terrorism, what really are the odds that you might die in a terrorist attack in the US, especially compared to all the other ways to die? Take a look at the hard data.
Yes, ISIS is real, but terrorism on our soil is an excellent cover for one of the truly ugly underlying reasons today’s refugees are so violently rejected — they are black.
So I landed in India with my daughter on Saturday and saw the news about immigration changes in the USA. I don’t think American citizens of Indian descent are banned from re-entering the USA yet, but let me know if anything changes as I got another 5 days here and things appear to be changing quickly. For the time being, I believe my type of brown person is still considered ok so that’s a relief. But definitely let me know if that changes. Thanks.
From Trump to Tea Party you are seeing the second coming of WASP thinking.
If this isn’t who you are then you need to speak out.
First, they claim to prohibit this kind of ugly targeting.
Facebook says its policies prohibit advertisers from using the targeting options for discrimination, harassment, disparagement or predatory advertising practices.
They claim that advertisers won’t misuse these options.
“We take a strong stand against advertisers misusing our platform: Our policies prohibit using our targeting options to discriminate, and they require compliance with the law,” said Steve Satterfield, privacy and public policy manager at Facebook. “We take prompt enforcement action when we determine that ads violate our policies.”
But their worst excuse is the old A/B test.
Satterfield said it’s important for advertisers to have the ability to both include and exclude groups as they test how their marketing performs.
Hence my question.
Is Facebook really so naïve they actually believe that the so-called “affinity choices” won’t be abused or, in the name of profit, do they just not care?
It’s amazing to me, but looking back over more than a decade of writing I find posts that still impress, with information that is as useful now as when it was written.
Golden Oldies is a collection of what I consider some of the best posts during that time. It’s been four years since I wrote this, but it could have been anytime in the last several decades. The time difference wouldn’t have been that noticeable, except that what I described just keeps getting worse. I find it both sad and disgusting that we humans seem incapable of growing and, instead of moving forward, we move backwards. Read other Golden Oldies here
Anyone reading the news—local, national or global—knows that hate and intolerance are increasing at an alarming rate everywhere.
Also, because there have been/will be so many elections around the world this year ‘leadership’ is in the news even more so than usual.
What responsibility do leaders—business, political, religious, community—bear in fostering hate and intolerance?
Not just the age old race and gender intolerance, but the I’m/we’re-RIGHT-so-you-should-do/think-our-way-or-else.
The ‘we’re right/you’re wrong’ attitude is as old as humanity and probably won’t ever change, but it’s the ‘do-it-our-way-or-else’ that shows the intolerance for what it really is.
And leaders aren’t helping; in fact, they are making it worse.
During my adult life (I missed being a Boomer by a hair) I’ve watched as hate and intolerance spread across the country masked by religion, a façade of political correctness or a mea culpa that is supposed to make everything OK, but doesn’t.
Various business, political, religious and community leaders give passionate, fiery talks to their followers and then express surprise and dismay when some of those same followers steal trade secrets, plant bombs, and kill individuals—whose only error was following their own beliefs.
We are no longer entitled to the pursuit of happiness if our happiness offends someone next door, the other end of the country, or the far side of the globe.
I remember Ann Rand saying in an interview that she believed that she had the right to be totally selfish, where upon the interviewer said that would give her freedom to kill.
Rand said absolutely not, in fact the reverse was true, since her selfishness couldn’t impinge anyone else’s right to be selfish.
Leaders aren’t responsible; we are, because we go along with it—as did the Germans when Hitler led them down the hate and intolerance path.
It’s amazing to me, but looking back over nearly a decade of writing I find posts that still impress, with information that is as useful now as when it was written. Golden Oldies is a collection of what I consider some of the best posts during that time.
I chose today’s Oldie for two reasons. First, it’s a new year and taking it to heart at the start assures you of a better more productive year, and second, it’s an election year, which makes it ultra-divisive, and there’s enough stress in the normal workplace without adding another element — especially such a vicious one. Read other Golden Oldies here
Sometimes good things arrive in my inbox amidst the silly videos and spam.
And so it was yesterday; I was thinking about what to write when this arrived and it seemed the perfect answer—assuming, that is, that you are as tired as I am of the rising tide of hit pieces so prevalent this election.
Fable of the Porcupine It was the coldest winter ever and many animals were dying because of the cold. The porcupines, realizing the situation, decided to group together. This way they covered and protected themselves; but the quills of each one wounded their closest companions, even though they gave heat to each other. After awhile they decided to distance themselves one from the other and they began to die, alone and frozen. So they had to make a choice: either accept the quills of their companions or disappear from the Earth. Wisely, they decided to go back to being together. This way they learned to live with the little wounds that were caused by the close relationships with their companions, but the most important part of it was the heat that came from the others. In this way they were able to survive. Moral of the story: The best relationship is not the one that brings together perfect people.
The best relationship is when each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others as opposed to dying alone in the cold.
What do you think? Will humans live up to the example of porcupines or die alone in the cold?
Almost all of the leaders I have met say that they would never encourage such a thing in their organizations. I have no doubt that they are sincere. Most of us are easily irritated–if not disgusted–by derriere kissers. Which raises a question: If leaders say they discourage sucking up, why does it happen so often? Here’s a straightforward answer: Without meaning to, we all tend to create an environment where people learn to reward others with accolades that aren’t really warranted. We can see this very clearly in other people. We just can’t see it in ourselves.
And that brings us to MAP (mindset, attitude, philosophy™).
MAP, in case you’ve forgotten, is what underlies and drives all our thoughts and actions.