Giving Compass’ Take:
• In a follow-up to his post directed at progressives who use social justice language to attack each other, Nonprofit AF’s Vu Le flips the script a bit and examines those with privilege who must do better by learning from their mistakes.
• How can we all internalize the guidance Le gives in this post in our interactions with colleagues and constituents? One main takeaway would be this: It’s always a good idea to put ego aside.
The work we do in this sector is incredibly complex, and we must learn to exist in states that seem to be direct opposites of one another, such as gratitude and impatience, and grace and anger. A while ago, my colleague Tara Smith, who co-founded the Nonprofit Happy Hour and ED Happy Hour Facebook groups with me, pointed me to the concept of Polarity Management. I’m paraphrasing here, but polarities are usually two things that seem completely opposite, and we’ve been conditioned to think they can’t co-exist, but usually both are necessary, both can simultaneously be present, and in fact often are most effective when they are both present. For example, an effective leader being assertive AND humble. An artist being disciplined AND disorganized. An organization being flat AND hierarchical. An org plan being focused AND completely flexible.
A lot of our work would be easier if we learn how to identify and work with polarities instead of choosing one element over its seeming opposite. In this case, the polarities are how to be empathetic with one another and recognizing individuals’ humanity AND also grounding the work in racial, gender, disability, and other forms of equity.
Social justice requires us to be understanding with one another AND to strongly call out inequity when we see it, including when we ourselves are perpetuating the inequity we’re trying to fight.
And a big part of this involves white colleagues, cisgender men, able-bodied people, and others with systemic privilege reflecting on their privilege and accepting uncomfortable feedback, sometimes publicly.
Read the full article about why its OK to be called out when making mistakes by Vu Le at Nonprofit AF.
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