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Cross- Cultural Bias and Leadership

Lauren Rodriguez responds to: How Can Leadership Development Programs Make a Difference in the Challenges of Tackling Racism?

 

In light of the Trayvon Martin verdict last week, at LLC our staff has begun to have multiple conversations about systems of oppression and implicit racial bias in the United States.


But what does the Trayvon Martin Verdict mean for leadership development programs? What are the responsibilities of these programs or practitioners to respond to systems of implicit bias?  Deborah started to answer this question in her article on Leadership Development helping to dismantle systems of racial oppression two weeks ago and LLC has also addressed this in its seminal article on Leadership and Race. However following our messy discussions from Creating Space X back in May, we emerged from the conference more aware of the readiness of many to make equity front and center in their own leadership work. The Trayvon Martin Verdict and the release of the film “Fruitvale Station,” based on the last days of Oscar Grant’s life, has highlighted lived oppressions of inequity and implicit racial basis that exists in our society; and these issues have been put front and center for a national dialogue. But I challenge our community to take our analysis further- leadership development programs need to understand the complicated systems of cross cultural racism.


As we continue to watch history repeat itself, we must understand that we need to face race and difference. And I challenge our community to understand this framework as more complicated than simply a “black and white” issue. Cross- cultural racism is gap that divides our society further.   I challenge our community to stop talking in “Black” and “White” terms. I argue, like one of my favorite cultural theorists, Homi Bhabha, for an understanding of cultural hybridity. To dismantle systems of cultural dominance, our new concept of culture should be centered around “cultural difference” or better an enunciation of our differences (ie. We are all NOT Trayvon Martin). Understand where you are on the intersection of race, class, gender and examine how you are different from others. I think will help us to see our blind spots and help us dismantle systems - our own attitudes and perception around racial bias.


I call for leadership development that recognizes cross cultural racism and bias and for a dialogue that incorporates a greater understanding of cultural difference and hybridity.


What are what some of leadership development strategies your program uses to help do oppression and privilege work? Please share with our learning community! If you are interested in learning more about interethnic social change leaders then check out a great LLC webinar coming with the Leadership Development on Interethnic Relations on August 6th 2013!

 

         

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Leadership development

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