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💎 Friday Gems #21 (Inclusive Leadership, Intersectionality, AHITWOFY)
Ideas to help you unleash your potential!
Hello Low Fidelity readers,
A few weeks ago, as I was researching the concept of positionality, which refers to where we stand in relation to our various social identities such as gender, race, class, ethnicity, ability, geographical location, etc, and how their intersections shape how we understand and engage with the world.
One of the terms that stood out for me was intersectionality which is one of the gems this week. These topics are new for me and have opened a door to help me better understand groups that have been marginalized and how they have been oppressed, as well as identify my own privilege so I can begin to be more inclusive at work and in my life.
Stay tuned for a post on positionality because I believe as designers, developers, and technologists, it is our duty to understand how our background, experience, education, culture, bias, and privilege can seep into the products we create.
As always, thanks for joining me on this journey and for your continued support. 🙏🏽
On to this week’s gems!
💎 How to become an inclusive leader
Have you ever experienced a work environment where you didn’t feel valued?
Early in my design career, I went from one dysfunctional company to the next. At the time, I thought this is just how companies were, and I had no other choice but to grin and bear it.
The managers, who were chosen because of tenure than performance, were more concerned about their jobs than supporting their teams which in turn made each employee look out for themselves, creating a hostile environment.
Luckily, before too much damage was done, I joined a new company where I was asked to share my thoughts and concerns openly, which blew my mind! This new culture was completely foreign to me. I felt as if I was going through deprogramming, and it took about a year for me to become comfortable opening up.
In this video, Dr. Meagan Pollock, Founder of Engineer Inclusion, shares her traumatic experience and offers an inclusive leadership framework to help us develop the skills needed to create cultures, teams, and organizations that drive equitable outcomes for all.
Source: Engineering Inclusion
“Imagine how different your life might be if you had been born black, or white, or poor, or a different race/class/gender group than the one with which you are most familiar. The institutional treatment you would have received, and the symbolic meanings attached to your very existence, might differ dramatically from what you now consider to be natural, normal and part of everyday life. You might be the same, but your personal biography might have been quite different,” - Patricia Hill Collins
Humans are complex and multi-faceted; we contain multitudes which makes us all unique.
Our uniqueness also means that our various identities merge so we also uniquely experience discrimination and oppression in our lives. This is the concept of Intersectionality, a term coined by Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989.
A Muslim woman wearing a hijab and a transgender woman doesn’t experience the same discrimination just because they are both women.
A black woman will experience racism differently than a black man.
We cannot generalize people into one catchall category.
As the graph above shows, there are multiple identities at play here, such as race, ethnicity, gender identity, class, language, religion, ability, sexuality, mental health, age, education, body size, and many more. All these identities create an overlapping and interdependent system of discrimination.
What can we do about it?
First, we can stop identifying people through singular identities. Categories such as women, poor, black, and disabled should not be used as catchall phrases to lump people with a wide range of identities and discrimination experiences together.
Next, we can start by self-reflecting on our own identities, how we interact with others, and how our assumptions about others influence our interactions.
Intersectionality is a concept that has opened my eyes to the realities of the discrimination and oppression all marginalized people experience.
Source: The Wright Center
💎 And How’s That Working Out For You?
Ever feel like you’re just going through the motions when working towards a goal?
I know I get in a rut sometimes and go from task to task focused on the completion of it instead of keeping the joy and excitement I started out with in the first place.
I turned exciting opportunities into burdensome obligations.
So how do we get out of this rut?
In this article, Oliver Burkeman shares a simple question we can ask ourselves to get us out of the rut to see that what we have been doing has not helped us and in fact, could be harming our future.
We need to ask ourselves, And how is that working out for you? or AHITWOFY for short.
The genius of AHTWOFY? is in the way it acknowledges that all that stuff is real – but then prompts you to wonder whether your current strategies are really helping you avoid the awful thing to any significant degree anyway.
This question effectively acts as a wake-up call for us to stop living on auto and remind us to question our actions or lack thereof. It is a question to help wake us up so we can adjust course and move forward with the joy and passion we once started out with.
Try it out and let me know how it goes for you.
Source: Oliver Burkeman
Let me know in the comments if any of the gems resonate with you. I always love hearing from you.
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Thanks for reading, and have a fantastic weekend!