Tag Archives: DEI

What the Hell!

2 Apr

“To not know is bad, but to wish to not know is worse.” ~African Proverb

I usually have many trains that spontaneously leave the station of my mind. They head out on different tracks to process their load through the twisted turns and straight paths laid before them. They leave at once and send back their respective data to my centralized brain. I calibrate the input and inform my next steps. Meanwhile, I spew out the thoughts, some processed and some not, to the listening partner without contextualizing the “Grand Central” starting point. And here we go.

Whistle blow…all abooooooaaard!

Rivka Bent

My husband and I often remind each other of the fact that “we cannot unknow that which we know.” The notion nods to the African proverb I stated at the top of this post, one which I learned through the teaching of the gifted Professor Starla Lewis “…to wish to not know is worse.” I have been engaging directly with the learning and teaching world of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). The process really began in the fringes as I was in the early stages of my current employment. My boss began talking about equity. Hmmm, equity. I’d heard of equal, but it is truly she who introduced me to the notion of equity. Then one starts talking equity and next justice pops onto the scene. Hmmm, justice. That’s a hard concept, or was a hard concept for me at the time because my world had been turned upside down by the unjust death of my son. Unjust because…well that’s a train I’ll save for later.

Anyway I got wind of this equal is not equity thought and the choo-choo’s scattered. Did I mention my Grand Central Station is a slow processing machine? Yep, I ruminate on information for a long while, usually trying to figure out how I feel or fit with the intel. Not too long after being introduced to the big “E” I was further immersed in the study of DEI through my major, Organizational Leadership. And then continued to chug along by working, conversing and processing my collected data through many learning forums, books and one most particular guide the very gifted DEI practitioner, Dr. Steven Jones of San Diego. So this time last year when the Black Lives Matter cry broke through the white sound barrier and compelled this US nation and our world, I was at least a bit more ready (to listen and learn) than I had been years prior.

This is the story of learning. Learning anew. And actually learning how to ask questions with an invested interest. Wishing to know dispatches the trains. And now I cannot unknow that which returns to the station. This process is profoundly interconnected–imagine a field of same species flowers, they begin to sprout at the same time but at slightly different rates. They bud individually and yet together, thereby their bloom process erupts showing only flecks of color dotting the field in the beginning stages. Then with a sprinkling of hours it seems the entire field is awash in color, hundreds (or thousands) of flowers emanating their oneness–even though each flower took its own time to present its bloom. The same goes for the learner. I actually began this post to talk about a book I was gifted just this week, All Stirred Up by Laura Kumin. But to get there I had to start here. Trains leaving the station, flower dots in a field and the hope I will get to my chosen title.

End – part 1 “What the Hell!”

Unpacking Authenticity and a Happy New Year!

31 Dec
As I reflect upon my incredible learning journey of 2019; delving deeper into understanding cultural curiosity, diversity, inclusion and equity, I continually stumble upon the “authenticity” term and find myself pondering it. I so value the opportunity the word presents. I gratefully succumb to being my authentic self in personal and professional relationships. Though code-switching is integrated into our social constructs, I am challenged to don the cloak of authentic perspective when the “switch gear” is enacted. I appreciate and meet this challenge!
However, today with the finality of 2019 upon us, I find myself mulling over this concept of authenticity. Questions that come to mind are as follows:
1) Is being authentic excuse to not grow or change?
2) Who are my personal authenticity police officers?
For my own answers to 1 & 2, I am reminded that being authentic does not mean static and staunch. It means I am a fallible human in need of continual learning and my “police” are those individuals put in my path to ensure I continue to open my mind, heart and ears to growth.
The authenticity piece is understanding who I am, how I got here and the need for continual support along the way. My police officers are many and can be found in various locations within my sphere of influence. Some of these individuals I’ve never met, such as Eleanor Roosevelt. Some are as close as my most intimate partner, my husband. Some are well aged and several (and many) are still skipping through their youthful years. The range of support, for me to be authentic, is a wider cast net than the actual Me, Myself and I concept found within the “be authentic” principle.
Bottom line…for me to be truly authentic, others need to embrace me where I am at and see the value of investment in the potentiality of my growth. Gratitude abounds for me here at this juncture, as I unpack authenticity and find a village inside.
Blessings to all for 2020!
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