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Do you ever feel uneasy talking about race, gender, or sexual orientation? Unsure how to address power differences, unearned advantages or racial oppression? While some people may feel enraged and others prefer to avoid conflict of any kind, many prefer to address the issues with compassion. Sometimes they hear for the first time how difficult and costly it is to navigate the unfair advantages embedded in the system. Folks in power begin to confront their own unconscious bias and take responsibility for changing the system. Not only millennials, but many others take a stand for inclusion, collaborating in order to ensure that policies and behaviors support diversity, innovation, and teamwork.
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Questions you can ask yourself:
- Instead of calling people out by shaming them, how do we call them in to the dialogue?
- Rather than claim that systems are based on meritocracy, how do we identify our own unearned advantages and make the system more equitable?
- How do we shift from fragility and defensiveness to become courageous allies?
- What is western privilege and how do we honor the needs of all?
- What do we need to know about working in the global south if we are from the global north?
- How do we ensure that historically underrepresented populations have access, a voice, a place at the table, and opportunities to take leadership?
To change the culture, we need to ask the difficult questions:
- Who is empowered?
- Who is included in decision-making?
- Whose needs matter?
- What happens when some people have a voice and others do not?
- How do we go beyond tolerance and truly value differences?
- How do we create an environment where everyone can show up authentically?
When people engage in developing their own understanding of issues and solutions, they connect and take action. They take a stand against systems of oppression and power-over. They engage in openhearted, practical conversations about inclusion and they step into the challenging work of changing the systems and the culture.