Is your fixed mindset a blind spot?
What areas of your life reflect a fixed mindset? The issue is not whether or not you have a fixed mindset. You DO have a fixed mindset. Everyone does. Most folks do not realize that mindset is a continuum and it is something you choose to practice. All of us have a fixed mindset in some areas of our lives. You know your mindset is fixed if you find yourself focused on maintaining what you know in a particular area and you are not open to learning anything new.
The real issue is this: Are you aware of the areas of your fixed mindset and do you take steps to soften those areas? Do you leverage the areas of your life where you have a learner’s mindset to create more fluidity in your fixed mindset areas?
Learner’s mindset – Do you know how to leverage your learner’s mindset to expand your capacity to be more humane?
A learner’s mindset is valuable but not just because it helps you grow and expand in your work or in your organization. It is valuable because you can leverage it in your internal growth to dissolve the areas where you practice a fixed mindset.
Domination versus Service
“If you are using the language of ‘domination’ to accomplish your organization’s goals, you are not mission-driven. Mission-driven organizations prioritize the culture of service. Domination is a survival mechanism that is reinforced as a cultural norm by the patriarchal white male supremacist culture that we live in. Domination is violence.
When you think of white supremacist culture, don’t just have visions of hoods, burning crosses, and Nazi images. No. No. No. ‘White supremacist culture’ as opposed to ‘White supremacists’ is the ethos in the United States at the present. Having led the entire planet for a few centuries now, the way the US has risen to the top becomes unconsciously ingrained in all of us as a model of ‘how to be successful and powerful,’ ‘how to be the best,’ and ‘how to win.’ This becomes our norm and the measure of the value of our lives as everyone wants to live their very best life.
The toxic fight by white men (and the women, and people of color who support them) to continue the order of domination is based on the concept of power as “force.” It is a way to survive when faced with fading relevance. “Fear is what we feel, denial is what we do and defensiveness is how we do it” (The Emperor Has No Clothes: Teaching About Race and Racism to People Who Don’t Want to Know (Educational Leadership for Social Justice) p.34)
Compare the cultural iceberg with the pyramid. What do you see? What ways are ‘white supremacist culture’ showing up in your organization? Are you focused on dominating the competition and increasing market share regardless of the cost and impact? I promise you one thing: You will soon be irrelevant.”
Mentors – Does your mentor/mentee look just like you? Diverse mentors/mentee relationships have more traction because of the accelerated growth in them.
If you are a white male mentor and your mentees are all white males, you are actually not a mentor. You are a proponent of ‘white male supremacist culture and ideology.’ If you do not have an ability to mentor women, people of color and people who do not look like you, then you are only investing in continuing a fixed image of potential in a human being limited to a white male or one that thinks, behaves and supports white males only.
The word ‘Mentor” comes from the Greek Mentōr and was the name of the adviser of the young Telemachus in Homer’s Odyssey. Mentor was the friend of Telemachus’ father, Odysseus and Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, disguised herself as Mentor and advised Telemachus to find the truth and to expand his horizons. Therefore, the origin of the word is deeply embedded in both men and women dispensing truth and wisdom for the expansion of younger people. Mentoring should be liberating and about the expansion of the mentee, not the propagation of cultural dogma.
Are you familiar with the various forms of white supremacist culture?
“I saw an online article that addressed Netflix’s appointment of a Diversity and Inclusion manager. I was shocked at the racism in the comments. I still feel shocked, as long as I have been doing this work, that large organizations still harbor people close to the top of this pyramid. I am very familiar with the bottom of this pyramid and the people I work with wrestle with their actions, thoughts, and behaviors that are closer to the bottom of this pyramid. However, the language of violence in the comments of this article shocked my system. That was when I realized the deep fear that folks that subscribe to the more overt aspects of “white supremacist culture” hold. Their identity and everything they have known and depended on is being upended. There is always a fight and grief when there is a loss of identity. That might may show up as a microaggression, or it may show up as violence.
In a pyramid, every brick depends on the ones below it for support. If the bricks at the bottom are removed, the whole structure comes tumbling down. Bring the pyramid down. Continue to do the hard work of clearing out our toxic white supremacist culture.
Consider the following graphic, developed by Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence (2005) and adapted by Ellen Tuzzolo (2016) and found at: http://nativenews.tumblr.com/image/170165553223”
“[White people] are, in effect, still trapped in a history which they do not understand; and until they understand it, they cannot be released from it. They have had to believe for many years, and for innumerable reasons, that black men are inferior to white men. Many of them, indeed, know better, but, as you will discover, people find it very difficult to act on what they know. To act is to be committed, and to be committed is to be in danger. In this case the danger, in the minds of most white Americans, is the loss of their identity.” — James Baldwin, The Fire Next Tim
Invitation to glide
For all of us as a collective, this is our time to lean in together, soar and shift the cultural slant to one that is more inclusive, multiculturally supportive and based on notions of equity and justice. The moral universe is on our side as we are in the bend towards justice as we speak. That is where irreversible momentum exists and so we can huddle together, and glide forward. There has never been a better time to expand and grow and dump what does not serve us. This is it, folks! We are in it together.
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Theodore Parker as quoted by Martin Luther King, Jr.