Regardless of who you’re rooting for in the election, what matters now is what happens on November 9th.
“Tomorrow, you can vote for a hopeful, inclusive, big-hearted America,” Hillary Clinton told a crowd in Pittsburgh yesterday. And that’s the real challenge for tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that.
We’ve learned a lot about ourselves this campaign season. The anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, misogynist, and racist rhetoric that’s been embraced by some in the Donald Trump campaign has allowed similarly divisive ideas to tumble out of our neighbors, co-workers, and loved ones. Donald Trump elevated white supremacists and courted the favor of LGBT hate groups. He’s mocked the unmockable, like Gold Star families and people with disabilities. Anti-semitism is on the rise. Real world friends have severed their digital ties.
But I would argue that there’s actually a gift buried in all of this, the same one that’s at the heart of the work that all of you do.
Stay with me, I can defend this.
Consider the mostly white working poor—or working-worried, really—who have become nightly characters on campaign television. Many are right when they say they’ve been forgotten by generations of politicians from both camps, no matter how inelegantly they sometimes say it. They feel excluded from a country that’s changing in ways that they may not precisely understand. And now we see them. What next?
I would point to new research from Catalyst, a leading non-profit focused on the workplace, that highlights how painful life can be for people who feel like “the other.” It’s about inclusion in the workplace, but I suggest that the findings are relevant everywhere.
Bottom line, the feeling of being excluded tends to overshadow all other feelings about our lives and work. “If inclusion is the air we breathe, exclusion is suffocating,” says the report The Day-To-Day of Experiences of Workplace Inclusion and Exclusion.
The cost of feeling excluded was cumulative, and ultimately, very painful. “Most people can easily recall the stories about feeling dismissed at work, and they build up over time,” said Dr. Dnika Travis, one of the co-authors. “Bottom line, when inclusion works, you don’t see it. But when you feel excluded, it’s all you feel.”
And that’s what many Trump supporters feel. Ironically, they’re not alone. They’re joined by people from communities that are over-policed and under-resourced. By children of color who are tagged from the start as problems, or worse. By people from countries with rich cultures who are ignored or met with suspicion.
When people feel excluded, it’s time to extend a welcome. Even a small one. That's what inclusive leadership is.
As I head to the polls, I’m reminded of the sage advice offered by Mandell Crawley, Morgan Stanley’s Chief Marketing Officer: We don’t have to accept the premise that one group has to lose for another one to win.
“It’s unfortunate that in the current environment, we’re being forced into positions where we’re choosing sides,” he says. “Like if you’re a supporter of Black Lives Matter, you don’t believe that all lives matter.” Or that you can’t both respect the police and want them to be held accountable. Reject that thinking, he says: “You can find some empathy for someone else.”
If inclusive leadership lies at the heart every conversation we have with others, then we have hundreds of daily opportunities to let others know that they are seen and valued, even if they’re waving an ugly sign in our face. But the work isn’t easy. So maybe it’s time to invent something new. We’ve clearly mastered the micro-aggression. Why not the ‘micro-inclusion’? Or better yet, the ‘micro-welcome’?
From that point of view, the best inclusive response to the angry shout of "All lives matter" is to say, “Okay, well, let’s start with yours.” I'm going to give it a try today.
Go vote, and good luck. And never forget: You're welcome.
The Charleston Police scramble to deal with “Dylann Roof” style threats of violence
As many as eight anonymous letters have been reported to the police in Charleston, S.C., threatening racial violence; one mentioned the mass shooter who attacked the Emanuel AME Church last year, killing nine people. “Every one of the 9 lives sacrificed by his greatness, Mr. Dylann S. Roof, is one less I will need to sacrifice,” said one hand-written note.
A Muslim mother tries to reassure her kids that they belong here
It’s a version of “the talk” that Muslim parents in the U.S. are increasingly forced to give, and Shaheen Pasha had been dreading it more than any other parenting conversation. “The U.S. election has taken center stage in the minds of my two older kids,” she says. The went from 'feeling the Bern' to puzzlement, to fear. “My son watched crowds cheering over plans to ban Muslims. ‘Are we going to have to leave?’ he asked me.”
Instead of jail, Chicago looks to a mental health facility
Chicago’s South Side has opened its first mental health triage center, designed to be a meaningful alternative to jail, looking for ways to help people struggling with addiction or psychiatric illnesses get treatment instead. “We’re hoping to prevent individuals with mental illness that don’t need to be incarcerated to begin with,” said the chief psychiatrist at Cook County Jail. Chicago police will have the option to divert people to the triage center, using new assessment tools and new training.
Can humans build a hate free internet?
Are we doomed to be attacked by hideous trolls for the rest of our online lives? This excerpt from a fascinating new book, The Social Organism, will give you hope. The authors give concrete examples of when software, machine learning, systems design and online incentives had a dramatic effect in curbing abusive speech without dampening relationships, workplace efficiency or gameplay fun. “Perhaps people aren’t inherently selfish and rude, after all. They just need a reminder, and perhaps a carrot or two.”
A start-up CEO has some good ideas on diversity hiring in tech
Harj Taggar founded Triplebyte specifically to help other companies recruit the best technical teams. And, diversity was a problem he was committed to solving. In this important post, he ticks through some practical observations after evaluating more than 12,000 engineers and monitoring how the ones who made it through were managed by potential hirers. Turns out, how you incentivize your recruiters makes a big difference. Also, culture fit? Not a thing.
The Woke Leader
Why so many black teachers leave
It’s a profession that desperately needs them, yet black teachers are becoming increasingly frustrated and are leaving early in their careers. But a new study shows that the reason they were hired—because they’re believed to be better for students of color—quickly becomes the problem. “We become the representative for every child of color, I mean, whether we relate to them, whether our culture is the same or not,” one teacher said. Getting paid less isn’t helping either.
How moving across the country helped this writer understand her Latina identity
Natalie Delgadillo was written a beautiful essay that describes with loving tenderness the hard work of coming to understand her own ethnic reality in a complex country. “I am like a lot of women of color in that I grew up—without really knowing, without really naming it—wanting to be white,” she says. Moving from her native LA to a new job in Washington, D.C., she relished the opportunity to reconsider her identity through new friends, new work, while escaping the limits of her past. But missing the person she was at home has given her a new sense of self. “I get to make the conscious choice to bring myself closer to my identity, instead of away from it.” (h/t @sheenamedina)
A polite call for candid talk about race —in Canada
Last week a white journalist mangled the term “code-switching” in a review of the movie Moonlight, a black, gay coming of age drama. The demand for more diversity in newsrooms was immediate: #Coatswitching. But writer Anita Li says that because the journalist was Canadian, there's an even deeper issue. America’s history with institutional racism means that we’ve developed skills to talk about race, even if it doesn’t always feel like we have. “Meanwhile, in Canada, racism is less overt—and it’s not because we’re too polite to talk about it. We’re just too uncomfortable to admit it.”