Eye of the storm

In 1970, a third grade teacher in Iowa, divided her classroom in half and proceeded to conduct an experiment around discrimination. If you have never watched the documentary, I suggest you do, it’s called Eye of the Storm.

When I was training in social work many years ago, this film had a profound effect on me. I had huge and hard hitting insights around my own behaviour, my attitude and what had led me, until that point, to discriminate and believe that I wasn’t. I like many, argued for separation, believing I was arguing for equality. I like many, believed I was arguing against injustice, believing I was arguing for justice.

I used arguments such as ‘the protection of others’, ‘in the public interest’, ‘exceptional circumstances’, ‘common sense’, ‘equality’, ‘.

These terms are used by people of power, to convince and persuade general consensus of general populations to act in a way that often goes against their own innate values by making them believe that they’re doing or having ‘wrong thinking’. These terms make you believe that you are wrong if you don’t go along with the viewpoint of the day. They create ‘outcasts’ of others that don’t fit into the narrative by inflating the egos of those who do. These terms dehumanise those who don’t fit into the box that was designed by the powerful people who need your compliance, your silence and your brute force so that you can become one of the enforcers. These terms are so meaningless, that they can fit any narrative that people want them to fit. Beware of common sense terms that don’t actually make sense. If it sounds like a slogan, it is a slogan.

Those terms have long been used by leaders to enforce abhorrent working conditions, child labour, the creation of class and therefore the division of the classes, the torture and abuse of people of colour, the abuse, neglect and shaming of women, the infliction of harm and shaming of sexuality and much more.

These terms are now being used to get you to believe that unvaccinated people are to be abhorred, not tolerated and that they should be ashamed of themselves. In order to get unvaccinated people to believe they should be ashamed of themselves, they’re offering prizes to become vaccinated and promises to the already vaccinated that they will only truly be safe once the unvaccinated are vaccinated.

The best way to initiate compliance, is to initiate discrimination. Humans hate to be shamed and will rush forward to shame others in order to avoid shame themselves.

We really need to take care of each other and we don’t do that when we believe that ‘shame’ is a valid state of mind for another to be in. Shame is one of the most toxic emotions that manifests. It leads to secrecy, non disclosure, break down on communication, seclusion and isolation and the inability to be heard.

If you think this is a post about whether we should be vaccinated or unvaccinated, please go back and read the post again.

This is in fact, a post about acceptance, unconditional positive regard, love and compassion. These are the qualities our leadership currently lacks. They’re not qualities that arise out of self interest. They’re qualities that arise out interest minus the self!

All too often, we create policy that we fail to notice is discriminatory at worst and unnecessary at best. Often, the culture itself is lacking direction, openness and real and meaningful dialogue and non judgement.

There are many workplaces that require vaccination of their employees right now in order to keep vulnerable clients and customers safe. There are guidelines on how to roll this out, how to manage and handle concerns and if and how to manage and store data. What these policies and procedures don’t provide, are the softer qualities, the human qualities, that are required to manage the humans impacted. It is our responsibility to ensure that all of our employees, regardless of seniority, feel vital, heard and accepted, regardless of personal opinion. Even disagreements that cannot be resolved, can arrive at a beneficial conclusion to all involved when the delivery is not from a rule book but is instead from understanding and compassion.

A culture where ‘blame’ is attributed to circumstances beyond human control, such as a virus, is unhealthy and will breed toxicity. It prevents collaboration and cooperation and unnecessary energy is needed to defend a position that could otherwise be spent more wisely and productively elsewhere. It also prevents real time solutions being discovered and often instead, leads to discrimination. Discrimination within the workplace is an indicator of stress, not an indicator of personal circumstances. It arises from fear, refusal to understand another perspective and is an insecurity that few businesses can afford. For more information how Thrive & Shine can help with stress arising from discrimination, email info@thrive-and-shine.co.uk