Standards And Norms

I want to discuss what we have come to define as standards and norms in our lives today. Off the top of my head, I think about how we see beauty, professionalism, status, gender roles and education. On some level, we have attached certain expectations to these things and decided what should be the standard or what should be considered normal.

We have built institutions and industries based on these so called "standards" and "norms." But how did these things even become standards and norms?

To understand this, one has to really dissect what these two words mean. Standard is defined as a level of quality or attainment and a norm is defined as something that is usual, typical, or standard.

As you can see, these words are synonyms and they suggest that there is something to attain in order to either be normal or elite. In every generation, a group of people over a period of time agree that some things should be considered quality and then culture is formed as a result of these shared values.

These shared values are often not inclusive in nature because they are typically a reflection of the biases of whoever has power at the time. But what happens when these standards and norms we live by are outdated? What happens when they are harmful? Who decides to refresh our conditioning and biases to let us know that we need to update our thinking? Do enough of us care enough to change the status quo?

What happens when these standards and norms become overtly and systematically beneficial to one group over another? Will people be brave enough to acknowledge this and shift things in order to balance the equilibrium? Will people be willing to admit that they have been part of the problem?

What happens is that we hurt our world. We see things through limited perspectives. We stifle originality. We erase cultures. We promote self-hatred by advocating for conformity at the expense of self.

So, Instead of blindly following standards and norms that we have been taught, perhaps we should question, challenge and expand those standards and norms to include more people being themselves. I have a feeling that we will see ourselves more if we commit to making this a habit.

Being considered conventionally beautiful shouldn't be a thing because what is convention when it comes to beauty in a world of 7.5 billion people?

Being professional shouldn't mean that you have to hurt the natural texture of your hair to fit a standard.

Being educated shouldn't have to involve only going to schools.

So I ask you this world: what standards and norms are you willing to update today? Our very existence depends on your answer to this question.

Become an Effective Cross-Cultural Communicator & Connector

Not Funny

I want to talk about racist, sexist and bigoted jokes. A lot of times when people condemn these jokes, they are referred to as being too sensitive or being members of the “fun police”.

They’d say, “what?! It’s just a joke! You know I’m not racist, c’mon!”

Sometimes, when they see that the subjects of the jokes aren’t playing, they’d get angry and say something to the effect of “wait, you don’t actually think I’m racist do you?!”

I call that the IIPV move otherwise known as:

Insult

Insist your insult is a joke and then

Play Victim.

No acknowledgement of the impact of their actions. Just indignation.

So... here’s why those jokes aren’t actually funny:

It’s triggering: It’s a reminder of the oppression that exists in our societies today and the many times the oppressed have had to hide parts of themselves to fit in at the risk of a loss of status, position and/or influence.

It perpetuates a dangerous cycle of ignorance and dehumanization: You make it okay to use language that marginalizes people which becomes culture (work culture, school culture, locker room culture, etc.) When it becomes culture that’s accepted, you silence people that are affected because they sometimes feel that speaking up will further separate them from the group. Additionally, when it becomes culture, the subjects of your jokes become objects as in less than human. As in easy to overlook, dismiss, demean, ridicule and belittle.

Just because you don’t intend to be racist, sexist or bigoted with your comments doesn’t mean you are not. It also doesn’t mean you get off scot-free.

Here’s the good thing though.

You can change.

You can stop.

When you decide to stop making racial, sexist and bigoted jokes the norm, it doesn’t mean you’re being politically correct.

It means you’re not being hurtful.

Become an Effective Cross-Cultural Communicator & Connector

Sustainable Diversity & Inclusion Is Possible If...

It’s not enough for institutions to look different. They have to think differently as well. Sustainable diversity and inclusion only occurs when there’s actual behavioral change.

Intentionality needs to happen at all levels: Upper management, middle management & entry level. A commitment to understand how and why people of different backgrounds behave the way they do is imperative for success to occur. It's how awareness, humanization and empathy starts. A top down approach is just as important as a bottom up approach when it comes to diversity and inclusion. They are a pair of strategies that shine brightest when working in tandem.

This is how you can determine if you are living out your values as individuals and institutions. We get in trouble when we stray away from our values. When our values aren't being practiced, problems arise. Do you have benchmarks to measure your values as well as your company's?

This is also how you become aware of the in groups and out groups that exist in your environment. A lot of diversity and inclusion work is about addressing the invisible. It's about prioritizing nuance over binaries.

Without this flexibility, intersectionality gets ignored.

Sustainable diversity & inclusion requires regular reflection, a willingness to be open minded, releasing of egos, stepping out of comfort zones, a commitment to acknowledge wrong doings and do something about it and breaking down oppressive systems.

Are you willing to do that?

Become an Effective Cross-Cultural Communicator & Connector

Can You Be A Global Leader?

At the United Nations Global Summit, professionals from different parts of the world came together to discuss ways to tackle critical issues affecting our world.


I got to share some of my thoughts on what it means to be a global leader and how the youth can make a global impact today. 
The people in attendance included university students, young professionals, and globally significant leaders.


As you start your week, I wanted to share the following video with you. Hope you enjoy it and I hope it inspires you to act! 

Have a glorious week! Love you all!

Pre-order my upcoming book, Use Your Difference To Make A Difference.

Become an Effective Cross-Cultural Communicator & Connector