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Dear White Colonel

This is an interesting article shared as part of this leadership class I’m in right now: Dear White Colonel … we must address our blind spots around race

What I liked about this article is that by describing instances where the topic got steered wrong, and the author’s feedback about what got missed when that happened, the article provides a roadmap to steer conversations back in the right direction. I feel like these examples really resonate with me - as if I’ve been a part of conversations like this.

I think the author is saying:

  • When people turn the discussion towards how people are reacting to racial injustice, we can try to center the discussion back on the injustice itself.
  • When people focus on how others might react to discussions about racial injustice and all the complicated pieces therein, we need to focus back on the underlying problem of the injustice.
  • If someone tries to discredit the stated experiences of others, especially experiences that the discreditor was not present at and cannot have experienced, we need to try to take those stated experiences at face value.
  • When people steer towards groups wanting cultural accommodation instead of adapting, we need to remember that our organizational cultures are already diverse and continually adapting. And I think - those cultures originally come from a different era where they were adapted from a group like the majority anyway. The culture didn’t spring up unique and perfect - in the Air Force it came over from the Army and the broader society, which at the formation of the Army and Air Force was very different than today.
  • When people question underlying data or other technical specific, we can recognize problems but still take those things at least at a little face value for discussion.
  • If someone explains that we don’t have time to consider problems like racial injustice, we need to remember that we have time to do many things - we can walk and chew bubble gum simultaneously. Working at least a little on this problem is better than nothing at all.