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Dear Friend,

When was the last time you “said the wrong thing”? What may have come up for you: Defensiveness? Embarrassment? Confusion? It seems we all have moments like this, and yet there is an iron curtain around talking about them. 

In their latest blog piece “Undoing punitive mindsets in the workplace and beyond”, our Community Manager & Senior Facilitator Asher Firestone digs into how these behaviours show up in our workplaces and why. They outline how many societies have been indoctrinated into a “carceral mindset,” or a reliance on punishment as the only solution to adverse behavior.

Why are we so quick to villainise each other’s mistakes? Because we live in a world that emphasises the atrocity of individual transgressions outside of the context of oppressive systems that create the conditions for these behaviors. While it may be easier to label people as a whole as “bad” or “malicious”, this dismisses the ways that we all engage in harm and need resources, rather than isolated punishment, to learn and grow. In We Will Not Cancel Us, adrienne maree brown writes, “If I can see the ways I am perpetuating systemic oppressions, if I can see where I learned the behavior and how hard it is to unlearn it, I start to have more humility as I see the messiness of the communities I am a part of, the world I live in.” 

 
[Image description: A teal background with white and pink text says “"How does your desire for generosity and accountability when you or your loved ones cause harm conflict with the expectation to have others imprisoned? This is useful personal data if we are to truly invest in systems that undo our culture of punishment.]

While we are aiming to move away from a culture of punishment, this does not mean a free ticket for people to get away with prejudicial language and behavior, but rather that we must put our time and energy into developing accountability processes that ensure any harm caused will be acknowledged and changed. And if we can expect to receive this generosity when we inevitably cause harm to someone, how can this second chance be extended to the people whose lives depend on it most? Specifically, can moving away from the carceral mindset that we wish for ourselves shed light on the archaic desire for revenge against current and formerly incarcerated citizens? Read the full blog piece to learn more. 

Did You Know?

In order to develop their legal persecution of Jews in Germany, Nazis studied Jim Crow Laws in the United States. Professor James Q. Whitman revealed how “One of the most striking Nazi views was that Jim Crow was a suitable racist program in the United States because American Blacks were already oppressed and poor. But then in Germany, by contrast, where the Jews (as the Nazis imagined it) were rich and powerful, it was necessary to take more severe measures.” While horrific, it is important to identify the ways governments collaborate to pursue oppressive agendas if we are to understand how they become so unrestrainedly powerful. When viewed outside of the context of structural oppression, we risk labeling large swaths of history as isolated atrocities, instead of the targeted anti-semitism and racism that drove them. 
 

Virtual Workshop - Thinking Outside the Boxes:
a Holistic Approach

Thursday, 3rd June from 12:00PM-2:00PM EDT/ 5:00PM-7:00PM GMT
As unfashionable as it is to say it, creating an inclusive culture in your organisation relies on understanding the complexity of the underlying issues that prevent robust change. Leaders who care about inclusion therefore need new, sharper tools to make this a reality. This workshop will be an introduction to how leaders who care about making inclusion happen can sharpen their thinking outside of and across inclusion silos as you design and lead on making inclusion a reality. If you are interested, sign up below.
3rd June Booking & Info
Design for Inclusion US (Virtual)
14th-18th June from 12:00PM-4:00PM EDT
The five-day DFI is broken down into three sequential stages for senior leaders and stake holders committed to inclusion in their respective organisations:
  • Deepening cognisance and understanding of complex inequities and exclusions at the interpersonal level (between people in teams, relationships).
  • Analysing complex inequities at a system level and the implications of these on individuals and organisational culture and outputs.
  • Building up new capacity: flexible frameworks and tools for applying this analysis into impactful action across: policies, processes, products and people.
June DFI Booking & Info
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Let's continue to stay informed, safe and engaged.
Best,
Asher
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