We Should Give (Some) White People More Credit

Be Who You Are

It’s not comfortable, but race, now more than ever, is a topic we have to discuss. I say *have to* because from current global politics to popular culture, our differences could tear us apart as a species.

The few bright spots in the sea of contestation for middle ground include the recent election of Emmanuel Macron in place of right wing nationalist Marine Le Pen.

And the support I received last week while discussing various approaches to teaching difference.

For the 20 or so people I talked to, not one of them thought it was okay to categorize difference by skin color alone. (Well, to be fair, one person didn’t initially see a problem, but assured me after reflection, that the approach was indeed problematic.)

These were people of all “stripes” if you will: white, black, shades in between, Americans, Brits, Scandinavians, latinos, South Asians, Arabs, males and females …

Two things gave me heart:

First, the number of people willing to use outward appearances as the starting point for discussions on diversity is shrinking.

Second, several of my white friends offered to come forward and express their concerns. I hope they follow through.

Because in the final discussion with decision makers, I was not the best messenger. This was a startling lesson because, well you know, writers write and we persuade (or try to).

I have a legacy of speaking up (which you probably know and expect from me as a reader of this blog).

Almost everyone thanked me for coming forward and raising the issue.

But as I now I know, and am cautioning you, that the nail that sticks out also gets the hammer.

In the span of a lifetime, this will be a blip on my screen. The incident overall gave me tremendous respect for the struggle of all of those before us.

Gandhi, Mandela, MLK Jr, Susan B. Anthony.

The list goes on and on.

How did they keep themselves going through jailing, beating, and derision?

No change was made without some sacrifice. Or allies.

Make sure you have yours. You’ll need them for the journey.

Crowdfunding Courage, Confidence and Connection

I’ve made a lot of friends in Qatar the last ten years, and Carolin Zeitler is one of the other longtimers on the women-making-change scene. We first met when I presented at the How Women Work annual conference five or so years ago. That network has expanded into publications and workshops.

HWW is a touch point for women and men in Qatar’s professional community. Read more about her crowdfunding campaign to write a book about seven years of living in the Middle East. She shares the core of the project as a volume about Courage, Confidence, and Connection.

Hearing about Carolin’s latest project made me wonder who or what has made you courageous, confident, or connected?

It is a book about courage. Courage to stand up for what you believe in, for your values, for your freedom, for yourself and other people.

It’s a book about confidence. Confidence in your ability to make your vision become reality, to make a difference and confidence that you will not just survive but thrive, even when there seems to be very little ‘security’ available.

It’s a book about connection. Connection to that place of calm, of complete peace, of knowing, that keeps us sane and secure.

She believe that this book can benefit many people, give them a sense of “If she can do it, I can too”.

We Love our Athletes More than Our Teachers

School by jdog90

With the launch of my first picture book, Everyday Wishes, I’ve been reading to pre-k, kindergarten and first graders in elementary schools. In doing so I’ve been reminded of a simple truth. Those that teach are the heroes and heroines of our society.

I look into twenty, thirty, one hundred sets of eyes in these reading circles. Around the perimeter are the teachers who spend day in, day out with them, shaping the way they will think about the world.

Most of us recoil in horror if someone suggests we would teach “the little ones.” Not enough patience, no time for meltdowns, no interest in the young aes.

And yet, all of us were once in school. Those of us who are parents, take the teacher’s treatment of our child very seriously.

School is the building block of society. If only society wouldn’t take schools and their teachers for granted.