One of my mentors has a leadership philosophy framed around leading from the middle. The concept, while very simple, is ultra complex. If you take a position that is on one end of a spectrum, you alienate those who are on the other end. How do you reach those who you disagree with if you are already miles apart? Leading from the middle means that you don’t get to take sides. It means that you are not going to be seen in a positive light by a lot of folks.
The recent legislative happenings in Arizona are a great example of the strains of what it takes to lead from the middle. Am I upset about everything that is going on in Arizona right now? You bet I am. I am saddened and angry. A lot of people seem to be forgetting what it means to be human. Humanity and dignity are being swiftly stripped away from marginalized populations in Arizona. Is it about racism? I think so. It’s about xenophobia, discrimination and power. Overall, those who are in charge of making laws in Arizona are doing horrible things right now.
How does this relate to leading from the middle? The protests that have been taking place in and outside of Arizona make a lot of people feel good. It makes me feel good to know that movements of people are joining together to fight for justice. However, I doubt that the lawmakers in Arizona are listening. I doubt that those who agree with the new laws are listening. Listening, in the sense that you are really processing, takes an awareness and openness that is lacking right now. Activism is important. Movements need to happen, but I wonder how we move forward when we seem to move backwards so much. How do we lead and live in the middle when things are so polarized right now….
The University of North Dakota’s controversial “Fighting Sioux” nickname got a 30-day reprieve today, as the state’s Board of Higher Education voted, 6 to 1, to extend until October 31 the deadline for the nickname’s demise unless a tribal council announces plans to hold a referendum on its use, according to the Grand Forks Herald. The university sued the NCAA in 2006, after the association declined to grant a waiver from a policy banning American Indian imagery in team nicknames and mascots, which the NCAA deemed offensive. In settling the suit, North Dakota agreed to drop the nickname unless it could win the approval of two Sioux tribes. One tribe has endorsed the nickname, but the other has refused to even schedule a vote. (via The Chronicle)
Tim Wise and Don Lemon break down “white racial resentment / white racial paranoia” that is occurring at town hall meetings and the inflammatory rhetoric (e.g. comparing Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler) spewing out of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Pat Buchannan et al.
Jon Stewart and Larry Wilmore, from the Daily Show, satirize “white fear.”
If a certain family member wonders why I stopped reading their blog, it is due to their defense of (and site link to) Glenn Beck. Rather than engage in a fruitless back-and-forth (like last time when my life experience was called into question), I will simply post these recent videos. Glenn Beck’s rhetoric is blatantly racist and disingenuous. The first clip is of Glenn Beck appearing on the pro-eugenics FOX & Friends. Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart once again provide commentary on the idiocy that is Glenn Beck.
The state of California has done a horrible job of managing its budget. Perhaps it’s due to having Conan the Barbarian as its governor. Perhaps it’s due to a lack of responsible budget governance. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that whenever the economic status of California is undergoing a gloomy situation, the state likes to target its marginalized populations as the reason for why things are the way they are….
The majority of undocumented immigrants in California are Latino. According to the quote from NPR (via an unattributed proposal) the suggestion was made to eliminate welfare payments to U.S. citizens because their parents are undocumented immigrants. That seems to be just a tad bit illegal and racist.
You are a citizen of the U.S., however, because your parents are brown and undocumented, well, we just want to lump you all together and penalize you. What??!!
If you are born in the United States, then you are legally entitled to all of the privileges that accompany being a citizen of the U.S. Apparently, Californian’s have just decided to stop veiling their racism and come out with an overtly discriminatory proposal that targets immigrants of color. Also, the parents of these U.S. citizens contribute ridiculous amounts of money to the Californian economy. California is targeting marginalized populations and using lies to attempt to pass and/or create overtly racist public policies.
Lori Phanachone is fluent in both spoken and written English. However, in March, Storm Lake High School in Iowa mandated that she take an English fluency exam because English was not the first language spoken in her home. “School officials told [Lori that] she [was] considered to be illiterate based on her refusal to satisfactorily complete the English Language Development Assessment.” The assumption by the school was that Phanachone, born in California, was not fluent in English because it is her second language. It’s an extremely racist assumption.
An honors student, Phanachone was suspended from school after refusing to take the test. According to Phanachone, “administrators… told her her college scholarships — $86,000 at Buena Vista University and more at Iowa State University, would disappear” if she didn’t take the test.
This guy is the co-host of FOX’s morning show, FOX & Friends. According to Brian Kilmeade’s website, “FOX & Friends,” “has been the No. 1 morning program on all of cable news for more than seven years.”
WTF? Who watches this garbage? Hitler Youth Recruiters? Anti-miscegenation Hobbyists? Stormfront Forum Posters? Racial Eugenics Supporters? This guy makes overtly racist and derogatory statements on a popular news program and he gets to keep his job!?? Race is a sociological construct…we are all the same species you moron!
Race is, and always has been, an explosive issue in the United States. In this timely new book, Tim Wise explores how Barack Obama’s emergence as a political force is taking the race debate to new levels. According to Wise, for many whites, Obama’s rise signifies the end of racism as a pervasive social force; they point to Obama as a validation of the American ideology that anyone can make it if they work hard, and an example of how institutional barriers against people of color have all but vanished. But is this true? And does a reinforced white belief in color-blind meritocracy potentially make it harder to address ongoing institutional racism? After all, in housing, employment, the justice system and education, the evidence is clear: white privilege and discrimination against people of color are still operative and actively thwarting opportunities, despite the success of individuals like Obama.