Am at a bit of a loss for inspiration to blog today so I thought I'd take the liberty of sharing an email I received this morning:
"I saw you at the LATE at the Museum a while back. Your ideas about decay have been incredibly important and meaningful to me, and I have thought about them and reconsidered my own life in terms of decay and what can come from it. I find them useful on an almost daily basis, and have talked about them with others.
"Thank you very, very much."
I'm part of a team working on Pink Shirt Day 2012 and I've just been emailed links to these two wonderful videos by young gay men who have been targets of bullying. The second is a response to the first. Both these young men thought they were unique in their experience; in fact it was common.
As I've said before, they probably have more in common with the young people who were triggered to bully them than they'll ever know, too.
It's important to understand that these guys aren't the problem. Nor are the young people who were triggered to bully them. Schools are not the breeding ground for bullying.
The conversation about gender equality has long been commonplace in workplaces around New Zealand. It's the foundation of the EEO movement and, as the precursor to cultural diversity and "family friendliness", is often the corporate world's only claim to some semblance of equity.
Here's the dilemma: Binary notions of gender - ie. male and female - are on the decline with transgender and genderqueer people more and more challenging the idea that one has to stay the same gender or, in fact, be either one or the other.
Another seldom explored dynamic is that of masculine and feminine traits. Dominance, logic and decisiveness may be generalised as masculine traits, among others; intuition, creativity and caring as feminine. Masculine traits are often more likely to be nurtured and valued in men than in women. Feminine traits, in contrast, though more likely nurtured in women, may also more likely be valued in men, depending on context.
Disability awareness is slowly becoming more commonplace in workplaces around New Zealand, though it hasn't really taken off like other diversity issues. You find it sometimes in community organisations, particularly disability service providers, and some Government agencies.
In most cases the corporate world asks, "What does disability have to do with us?"
So here's the dilemma: Awareness of disability is a red herring. Everyone is aware on some level that what we call "disability" exists in some people (medical model). Some are even aware that "disability" can be seen as a social construct of environmental, attitudinal and policy barriers that exclude 20% of society (social model).
Growing awareness of cultural diversity has become commonplace in workplaces around New Zealand.
But here's the dilemma: Culture is changing constantly, particularly among generations, and there's no one-size-fits-all solution. Learning what is culturally appropriate in one context may or may not be relevant in another.
The inquiry here is how to create the space for culture to emerge fluidly and comfortably by decaying expectations about what is the right and wrong way to do things. It's about generously allowing people to get things wrong and politely explaining why. And being prepared to authentically apologise when a mistake is realised.
Growing awareness of diverse sexuality in the workplace is one thing.
But here's the dilemma: What if the dominant culture of the organisation is to talk about the ideals of heteronormative marriage and children, mums and dads, with no mention of two mums, two dads and civil unions? The assumption is that everyone is straight and an employee may still feel unsafe to come out.
In fact, the "spotlight" of awareness may create a shadow that shrouds a non-heterosexual colleague in "otherness". They may not want to be the only one.
As promised, here is the blog remix I presented yesterday at the EOPHEA Conference. Hi and thanks to those who attended. You'll see I only got about halfway through ;-)
I work in the area of social change, and I often find it hard to explain what exactly I do. So I'm going to demonstrate it. At the end of this talk, by listening to it, you will have changed, just a little, as will I have also, simply by saying it. And that, in essence, is the nature of social change.
I want to tell you two stories and link them to four ideas: gratitude, compassion, rainbows and leadership. First story: A few months ago my boyfriend and I went to stay a night at the Westin Hotel down on the viaduct. We checked in to one room with a double bed so it was obvious we were a couple. The two guys on the desk, whom we presumed were straight, didn't blink an eye and were polite and professional to the extreme.
If you like the Prezi presentation and want help learning to use it or need someone to design one for you, get in touch.
According to Wikipedia, "Clever Hans (in German, der Kluge Hans) was an Orlov Trotter horse that was claimed to have been able to perform arithmetic and other intellectual tasks. After a formal investigation in 1907, psychologist Oskar Pfungst demonstrated that the horse was not actually performing these mental tasks, but was watching the reaction of his human observers.
"Pfungst discovered this artifact in the research methodology, wherein the horse was responding directly to involuntary cues in the body language of the human trainer, who had the faculties to solve each problem. The trainer was entirely unaware that he was providing such cues.
"In honour of Pfungst's study, the anomalous artifact has since been referred to as the Clever Hans effect and has continued to be important knowledge in the observer-expectancy effect and later studies in animal cognition."
Campbell Live's story about mainstreaming autistic students last night brings up an important question: Whose needs does education actually serve?
Students? Teachers? Universities? Business? Government?
I think education, as it is, serves these groups in reverse order and that needs to change. Education will never work for kids with unique needs when it isn't even designed to serve kids' needs first.