June 22, 2020 version
Is there a way to understand and resolve racism that can be embraced across the political, cultural and ideological spectrum (excluding, of course, extremists)? This document suggests not only that there is — it proposes a framework for this. Please note at the outset that I will be continuing to refine this initial draft over time.
The word “racism” focuses attention on the problems between groups. Linguistically, this word keeps consciousness locked on the problem. So, even though elevating our attention to the problem of racism is a necessary first step, this must lead to a next step that linguistically focuses our consciousness on crafting and implementing solutions. In Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) this is called shifting from a “problem/blame frame” to a “desired outcome/solution frame.”
Here’s the big problem with shifting from a problem frame to a solution frame with racism: there isn’t a widely accepted word for the opposite of racism. There are of course words for aspects of the opposite of racism, such as cultural diversity, equity, tolerance, unity, humanity, and so forth. But no single word is currently in wide use that summarizes all of these qualities. 
The field of linguistics has term for this. When a phenomenon exists but there isn’t a word for it, it’s called an “empty category.” Linguists observe that it is very difficult to develop conscious relationship with an empty category. The opposite of racism is an empty category. This makes the opposite of racism very difficult to speak about and promote.
A step toward finding a broadly acceptable word for the opposite of racism is identifying core ingredients that make the opposite of racism possible. I propose that there are three core ingredients that collectively create the opposite of racism: Self-Awakeness, Intracultural Responsibility, and Intercultural Unity. 
  1. Self-Awakeness is becoming the change we want to see.
  2. Intracultural Responsibility is speaking up with our own about the change we want to see.
  3. Intercultural Unity is containing words and behaviors that undermine collaboration and nourishing systemic wellbeing.

It seems to me that the synergy of these three ingredients provides a holistic foundation that can make it possible for sustained societal repair of racism (and isms in general) to at last occur. 

This document describes a “dream” — a conceptual framework for eliminating racism and other isms. Starting with a dream is a tribute to Martin Luther King. His most famous speech is “I Have a Dream” not “I Have a Plan” because the dream comes first. Only when people sign onto the dream does a plan become relevant. 
Because intentions precede actions, I have not included in this conceptual framework specific skills for embodying Self-Awakeness, Intracultural Responsibility and Intercultural Unity. Those skills can be agreed upon after agreement has first been reached about the dream people are joining together to bring about. (I describe elsewhere some of the skills that I have seen turn this framework into consistent actions.)
Here is a video of the extensive conversation I had with Customer Experience guru Tony Bodoh about the material on this page, followed by a four-part video series I did with Ty Pruitt on addressing racism and other isms, as part of Sherita Herring’s Partnering for a Better Tomorrow Series. Below these videos are more details about my 3-part framework for facilitating societal repair. 

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The next section summarizes my “dream” — the conceptual framework I propose for facilitating societal repair. I believe this framework can be used not only to reduce racism (and all the other isms), but also to elevate how elected and appointed government officials function, and how company cultures operate.

An Integrated Transcendent Framework for Facilitating Societal Repair: A Tripartite Foundation

  • Commitment to Self-Awakeness – Becoming the Change
    • Healing: I commit to cleaning up my own negative programming by waking up to forms of racism, privilege, target-ness, powerlessness, and power abuse, and authority issues, that I have been unaware of or tolerated in myself. I commit to stop oppressing others to compensate for my inner oppression, authority issues, fear of powerlessness, and feelings of insufficiency. I acknowledge that until I deal with these root causes of the racism programming that I carry, I will continue to pretend that covert bias doesn’t exist, instead of co-creating systemic transformation. I commit to not settling for this any longer. I commit to replace guilt about my privilege and power with using my privilege and power to help create positive change in the world around me.
    • Modeling: I am always representing my tribe. I take responsibility for representing it at its best, and for repairing any damage I inadvertently inflict when I don’t do this.
    • Self-Management (Untriggerability): I refrain from both power abuse and power phobia. I step into healthy personal power rather than tolerate or justify things I say and do when I allow my reptile brain to be the boss of my words and actions. I remember that my emotional charges with others are a doorway into spotting and resolving my own baggage, and that the extent to which I can hold others accountable in uplifting ways is determined by how susceptible I am to being emotionally triggerable. I recognize that it is my commitment to self-management of my thoughts and emotions that enables me to productively participate in nonviolent engagement & repair.
    • Impact Literacy: I seek to recognize when there is a disconnection between my intentions and my impacts so I can recognize and repair my unintended negative impacts and discover how to have positive impact with my positive intentions.
  • Courage to Elevate Intracultural Responsibility — Speaking Up With My Own:
    • I take responsibility for helping to clean up my own tribes — to take on my own people before trying to take on the “system.”
    • I commit to challenging isms within the groups of which I am a part.
    • I commit to doing this in ways that foster love rather than guilt and that promote collaboration not shame.
    • I commit to learning how to inspire and facilitate people in my own tribe into an upward gaze instead of triggering them down into deeper levels of divisiveness and hatred. 
  • Wisdom to Support Intercultural Unity — Containing the Unacceptable & Nourishing Systemic Wellbeing: 
    • I recognize that political correctness is a cover-up of immorality that forces racism and other isms underground. I recognize that political correctness isn’t cultural medicine — it is cultural malpractice.
    • In contrast, kindness and respect is not political correctness — it is human decency. I embrace that human decency is the cultural medicine that removes the roots that give rise to isms, and human decency makes futile attempts to enforce political correctness unnecessary. I therefore commit to replacing political correctness with kindness and respect.

If you would to know more about how to bring this framework to your organization, please click the blue “contact” button to get in touch with me.