By Dr. Renae Sanders
The election has come and gone. And thankfully so, on one hand, the airwaves are now free of the barrage of the negative political ads that bombarded the airwaves, especially, in the swing states where the ads had become a minute by minute occurrence. On the other hand, for some reality that their candidate had not won would come another day. The tragedy is that we do not have rules or regulations around political advertising when we are asked to make informed decisions about whom we should vote; but that is a separate article.
Today, let’s focus on the proverbial Purple Elephant in our country. The silent, yet ever-present and dangerous animal, that under writes our beliefs, attitudes, and actions. Yes, its race. And it continues to fester below the surface of our great country. This is bigger than an apology. It’s bigger than reparations. It’s about our collective courage to face, own, and acknowledge that race is as much a part of our current cultural landscape as the air we breathe.
Emotional intelligence experts tell us that we must first be aware of our own emotions and what they are if we are to self-regulate our attitudes and thereby our actions. Very simply, this means its o.k. to feel what you feel, but it’s unacceptable to act any way you want to act in response to those feelings; especially, if they are negative emotions. Of course, this holds true for any negative response to emotions; but today – we talk race. Secondly, our emotional intelligence quotient (EQ) is higher if we then have an understanding of how emotion may affect those with whom we interact and how to leverage our awareness of emotions in our dealings – personally, professionally, or politically.
A rising tide floats all boats. Well, all decently constructed ones. But you get the point. Therefore, the notion that the strength of America’s growing minority population will somehow erode the wealth and stature of America’s wealthiest is less than rational. Believing that in a global environment self-imposed segregation is beneficial and will help our kids cope with the rapid changes occurring in our country or their ability to compete is a response to beliefs of loss. Providing a superior education to the economically advantaged and then blame the poor for not doing more to take care of themselves is less than rational as well. The answers to curing the ills of our society lie in our collective engagement toward solving problems, self-awareness, emotional and social intelligence.
This election, and the last, exposed to many what they have feared with the growing demographic changes – that the democratic process would change the course of history. Surely, the British felt the same way, which is why the American Revolution occurred. In order for us to become a more perfect union, we must change as our country changes and we must respect what we have always seen in the defining moments in our history, “the minority will be heard, but the majority shall rule”. This festering of unchallenged ideology has the potential to harm communities and create underperforming businesses, as morale, trust, teamwork, and knowledge sharing are compromised.
Author David Walsh wrote in his book, “Conversations with God”, that at our actions and decisions are based on the two primal emotions, love and fear. If we drilled down to the source of our behaviors, we are either acting out of love or on fear. War, segregation, political spin, bullying, analysis paralysis, and the inability to reconcile our sorted history are all based on fear.
It’s appropriate to quote, now, the lyrics from one of Dianna Ross’ megahits, “what the world needs now, is love, sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of…”
Dr. Renae Sanders is the Managing Director at KRS Consulting, LLC, a management consulting firm specializing in organizational development and relationships. Believing people are the link between strategy and success, Dr. Sanders works with organizations, leaders, and managers to strengthen internal practices and relationships. Email email@example.com to book an engagement or meeting with Dr. Sanders.