Read this if you consider yourself a White person

August 21, 2018

Janeen Bryant just wrote an Op-Ed in the Charlotte Observer called "The Real Nemesis to Progress on Race: Fragile Whites". Cut and paste this link so you can read it: https://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinion/article216875135.html

If you're a white person who wants to overcome racism, consider doing this for starters: 

Notice what happens around you that seems to be affected by race, like White couples locking their car doors in the presence of youths of color, noticing how a policeman treats you when you are pulled over, or how we name the race of people of color when we talk about them. Discuss this with your partner, coworkers, or book club, using these questions:
1. What explanations do you have for these incidents?
2. In what ways may they be signs of racial fears, apprehensions, and stereotypes?
3. Have your ever experienced similar reactions in other race-related situations? If so think about them carefully and if possible discuss them with others. What do they mean to you?

And, if you are a White woman who wants to do some deeper exploration of what Whiteness means to you, join our inaugural group of women in Charlotte who will meet once a month for 2 hours beginning in a few weeks to do this work. To learn more, go to www.karengeiger.com, click on "Products" at the top, then click "race awareness" on the left.

We don't have to be fragile when race comes up!

Make the most of challenging situations

August 6, 2018

In many aspects of our lives, we will face differing opinions, approaches and points of view and we can determine whether this conflict is productive or not. 

We offer a 22-page profile (and facilitation kit) that provides you and your colleagues with personalized, effective strategies to overcome these inevitable challenges and helps you:

  • appreciate how your style of handling conflict affects your peers

  • learn to "catch" yourself when going down a destructive conflict path
  • discover how to reframe a conflict situation and choose more productive behaviors
  • build a common language in your organization or work group around appropriate conflict behavior. 

The profiles are $89 each (with quantity discounts) and the Facilitation Kit is $1230, for a half-day scripted workshop with all slides and handouts. On this site, click on "Products" at the top, then "Conflict Workshops" on the left. You can get more information or purchase right there. 

Imagine a Third Wave Women's Movement

Chip Smith, in The Cost of Privilege, describes a current trend to refigure and enhance U.S. women's advocacy efforts to make them more diverse and inclusive. He points out the work White women must do:

  • Be proactive in developing personal relationships with People of Color as one way to establish a personal connection to oppression.
  • Examine our lives to get deeper insights into how race privilege affects our thinking and actions.
  • Don't just dismiss our family members or White folks as being "racists" or "backward", but understand how they arrived at their understanding of the world. 
  • Move beyond a White identity and know that it is a long-term process. 

This is exactly what we'll be doing in the Reframing My White Identity series beginning in September. We have a great group forming, and please register by the end of July so that I can order materials for you. You can register or ask questions either via email (kag@mindspring.com) or on this website - Click  on Products, then Race Awareness and pay by credit card. 

How can we contribute to the success of modern democracy?

Timothy Snyder, in his small but powerful book On Tyranny (2017), points out that history can familiarize and it can warn. In our past, both fascism and communism were responses to globalization - to the real and perceived inequalities it created, and the apparent helplessness of the democracies in addressing them. He offers twenty lessons from the twentieth century that are relevant today and here are just a few:

  1. Take responsibility for the face of the world. The symbols of today enable the reality of tomorrow. Notice the swastikas and other signs of hate. Do not look away, and do not get used to them. Remove them yourself and set an example for others to do so. 
  2. Stand out. Someone has to. It is easy to follow along. It can feel strange to do or say something different. But without that unease, there is no freedom. Remember Rosa Parks. The moment you set an example, the spell of the status quo is broken, and others will follow. 
  3. Be kind to our language. Avoid pronouncing the phrases everyone else does. Think up your own way of speaking, even if only to convey the thing you think everyone is saying. Make an effort to separate yourself from the internet. Read books. 
  4. Believe in truth. To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. THe biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights. 
  5. Investigate. Figure things out for yourself. Spend more time with long articles. Subsidize investigative journalism by subscribing to print media. Realize that some of what is on the internet is there to harm you. Learn about sites that investigate propaganda campaigns (some of which come from abroad). Take responsiblty for what you communicate iwth others. 

Develop Yourself on the Job!

Job assignments play a central role in the development of successful leaders. Cynthia McCauley in Developmental Assignments (2006), offers 10 characteristics of assignments that cause learning:

  • Unfamiliar responsibilities
  • Starting something new or making strategic changes
  • Fixing problems created by someone else
  • Dealing with employees who lack experience, are incompetent or are resistant to change
  • High stakes (tight deadlines, pressure from above, high visibility, responsibility for critical decisions)
  • Managing work that is broad in scope or large in size
  • Managing the interface with important groups outside the organization
  • Influence without authority
  • Working across cultures
  • Being responsible for the work of people of both genders and different racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Engage Productively when there are Differences of Opinion

Would a tool that helps you diagnose your approach to conflict be helpful?

The new Everything DiSC Productive Conflict profile can help you or others you work with either at work or in the community by telling you this:

  • What you do when there are differences of opinion
  • What's important to you in a conflict
  • What drains your energy in a conflict
  • Productive and destructive tendencies you have
  • How you can have productive conflict with other DiSC styles

Try it now! It's only $89 if you purchase it on our www.karengeiger.com site with a credit card and you can take it as well as see your results the same day. Just go to our site, click on Products at the top, then Everything DiSC profiles you can purchase it there. 

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Choose the Everything DiSC solution that's right for you!

Benefits
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Living with "progress"

Technology trends are touted now as so significant that they will "transform our world and how we live in it". Bernard Marr offered 9 Technology Mega Trends that will change our world in 2018 (Forbes, 12/4/17), and four of them are listed below along with a way to stay sane with each. 

Trend 1: The increasing datafication of our lives. Marr says "In the average minute, Facebook receives 900,000 logins, more than 450,000 Tweets are posted, and 156 million emails and 15 million texts are sent." This doesn't point out that we are contributing to these numbers, and points to a quasi-addiction to communicating this way. The antidote: monitor our time on screens and have two-way conversations in addition to the one-way communication these vehicles offer.

Trend 2: The incredible rise of artificial intelligence. AI has advanced so quickly over the last couple of years that the more data an AI system has, the quicker it can learn and the more accurate it becomes. This means computers can undertake more and more human tasks (facial recognition software, analyzing social media messages, listening, speak and even gauging our emotions). Our task here is to collectively decide for whom and what should this serve and to monitor unethical use of them. 

Trend 3: The unstoppable freight train that is automation. Marr predicts that humans will no longer be needed to do the jobs that machines can do faster, safer, cheaper and more accurately, and cites an estimate that 47 percent of U.S. jobs are at risk of automation. What this means for us is to stay ahead of this trend by being sure we have the skills to either manage that automation or develop skills for jobs that will not be automated. 

Trend 4: We're interacting with technology in very different ways. Thanks to smart phones and tablets, we can carry out a whole range of tasks on the move simply by touching a screen. Google has confirmed that searches on mobile devices now outstrip desktop searches. And virtual reality and augmented reality are the next wave in interface innovation, transforming how businesses interact with customers. This requires learning, learning, learning so we can add value to those functions. 

Would you benefit from any of these things in your hiring process?

  • getting a clear picture of the candidate's thinking style, behaviors, and interests
  • asking questions that are tailored to the job and the candidate's relative fit with that job
  • once the candidate is hired, identify ways to enhance performance and maximize their contribution to your organization
  • match people with positions where they'll perform well and enjoy what they do
  • reduce unwanted turnover and boost employee engagement

Ask us about PXT SelectTM. It is a unique selection assessment that does all these things. The candidate takes the assessment once, then you get a library of reports you can use throughout their tenure at your organization. 

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Why Women Working across Race Together is a Compelling Necessity

 I have been observing for a long time that our shared gender does not assume we share perspectives or similar life experiences. And I spent time studying this to understand the nuances of how our respective races experience different realities. But now I see this is much less an academic interest and a compelling need for action. The recent analysis of the voting patterns for Roy Moore told me we are not there yet. Our political order is in peril now, and history warns us that the expansion of global trade produces expectations of progress but also the apparent helplessness of democracies to address inequalities and fascism. It is time for us to learn from our experiences, act together, and preserve the ideals of our democratic society.

Here are some ways White women can work to create a unified political force with women of Color. There is more complete coverage in an article I co-wrote with a colleague of Color (Geiger & Jordan, 2014). As a White woman I am imperfectly working on everything written here, and have chosen to only focus on those of us who live in “the bubble of privilege” because I think we have the most work to do. I hope this stimulates cross-race conversations including reactions and challenges for you.

For those with societal privilege:

1.      Make privilege a problem. Our narrative often focuses on the hardships created for the recipients of racism, not on the practices of those with privilege that create those inequalities. We can change this narrative.

2.      Become an ally for social justice. This is a big one: it means seeking critique from others about our unconscious racist behaviors, paying attention to our public interactions with other White people, trying but knowing we can never truly succeed in seeing and hearing other vantage points, respecting and appreciating cultural differences instead of simply erasing or ignoring them, challenging each other assuming that change is possible even when it seems overwhelming, and creating discomfort for other White people.

3.      Redefine what it means to be White. We can redefine our identities in ways that don’t depend on the subordination of people of Color, and explore how race has affected us before engaging in building cross-race relationships.

4.      Use empathy cautiously. White women often want solidarity without realizing they haven’t really listened to how racial power dynamics have affected their partners of Color. Relationships across race by definition include dynamics of power in them and cultural difference is at some level unknowable. Therefore, empathy and this unknowing must be moderated – we can have a common purpose without understanding the complete experience of the other and should resist saying “I understand” when we may not.

5.      Create a “third culture”. We can create a new space between us called a “third culture” Casrnir (1999). This is when we create interactions that benefit all involved (and check to be sure that’s the case), that focus on communications between human beings instead of racial bodies, and that assumes this third culture is continuously evolving vs. achieved quickly. This will be new and unfamiliar but is important work.

6.      Balance our individual, social and organizational identities. There is a tension that emerges in cross-race relationships: our individual need for identification and our need to identify with the group. We can notice our discomfort with being excluded from conversations about the experiences of women of Color and also welcome the expression of difference. This requires time, trust, and faith.

So, creating an alliance of women means that we seek to know, respect and commit to women who are in essential ways different from us, but whose interests are in essential ways the same.  For White women, alliance is a process of sharing power and resources with others in society in order to create structures equally responsive to the needs and interests of all people. This process requires giving up our tendency to be politically correct, avoid conflict, and perpetuate dominance. It requires us to experience disequilibrium and expect resistance, demonstrate patience and courage, manage our emotions, negotiate agendas, surface and manage power dynamics and hold the paradox of belonging and uniqueness.

We can do this and it may mean that our society survives as a result.

References

Casrnir, F.L. (1999), Foundations for the study of intercultural communication based on

a third-culture building model, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, Vol. 23

No. 1, pp. 91-116.

 

Geiger, K. and Jordan, C. (2014). The role of societal privilege in the definitions and practices

of inclusion. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, Vol. 33, No. 3. pp. 261–274.

How to stay sane in our times

May we live in interesting times!

Given the popularity of social media; we now are confronted with

  • fake news designed to cause divisiveness, 
  • a vehicle to put out our opinions in the absence of a supportive, constructive community dialogue,
  •  increasing feelings of isolation while we are more connected technologically than ever.

Here are 2 things to do and 2 things to avoid to save our mental health and our civil society. 

Here are two things to do:

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1. Realize that our attention is a choice and be conscious about where we focus it.

2. In conversation, be curious about what experiences have led to someone having a different opinion.

Here are two things to avoid:

 

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Here are two things to avoid:
1. Reading headlines and news (real or fake) that we know will agitate us, and instead figure out how to learn the whole story. 
2. Feeding our outrage and helplessness by reading things that are incomplete and/or designed to outrage us.