Racism is Alive and Doing Well


Unfortunately, many of us heard of George Floyd’s death, which some call an act of execution. According to multiple news sources, Mr. Floyd, an African American, was pinned down by a Minnesota police officer for over five minutes. The

Minnesota police officer placed his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck. This behavior captured on video showed the world that there might be racial discrimination involved.

Then sadly, we hear about the death of him. Nobody can deny it—it’s viral on video all over social media and the news. So, what can we do to validate Mr. Floyd’s death and reduce racial discrimination? We are not powerless.

I never use the word “fight” because it often attracts like behavior. Nothing gets adequately accomplished with anger and fighting. People become more successful in reducing racial discrimination when they are empowered to stand up for themselves. Words are enormously powerful—I never suggest fighting a cause, but empowering people to stand up for themselves.

In past Good Men Project articles, such as Racial Slurs Are Not Acceptable and Are Racial Discrimination Laws Confusing, I shared guidance on how to address racial discrimination. The bystander who took the video of the police officer placing his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck gave proof and evidence that something very wrong happened on the day of the death of Mr. Floyd. Often, people are not able to video racial discrimination—it occurs covertly and overtly.

If you feel that you are discriminated against in the workplace because of your race or color, you have resources that can help you. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has guidance on how to file charges of workplace discrimination with them at EEOC. Together, we can all report discrimination, document it, and stand up to it by learning more about it.

I believe in safe and respectful environments—check out my other articles at Dawn’s Articles.


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Selling Your Soul With Your Eyes Wide Open

In “The Devil Wears Prada” (2006) starring Meryl Streep as Runway Fashion Magazine Editor-in-Chief Miranda Priestly and Anne Hathaway as her dedicated 1st Assistant Andy Sachs, Andy tries to warn Miranda of the conspiracy to dethrone her from Runway following the Annual Paris Fall Fashion Show. As the smartest person in any room, Miranda was well aware of the treachery at bay and expediently dispatched her rival albeit exacting collateral damage. For Miranda the costs were acceptable and necessary. At least for her.

Andy became 1st Assistant when she accepted Miranda’s invitation to attend the Paris Fall Fashion Show, replacing then 1st Assistant Emily, played by Emily Blunt. Distraught Emily had prepared the entire year to attend the Paris Show, but all for not. Lying in her hospital bed, she cries to Andy, “You sold your soul to the devil when you put on your first pair of Jimmy Choos, I saw it.” So hysterically sad.

Miranda and her protégé Andy have private conversation in the limo ride back to their hotel.

Miranda Priestly: You thought I didn’t know. I’ve known what was happening for quite some time. It just took me a little while to find a suitable alternative for Jacqueline. And that James Holt job was just so absurdly overpaid that of course she jumped at it. So I just had to tell Irv that Jacqueline was unavailable. Truth is, there’s no one that can do what I do. Including her. Any of the other choices would have found that job impossible and the magazine would have suffered.

Especially because of the list. The list of designers, photographers, editors, writers, models, all of whom were found by me, nurtured by me and have promised me they will follow me whenever and if ever I choose to leave Runway. So he reconsidered.

But I was very, very impressed by how intently you tried to warn me. I never thought I would say this, Andrea, but I really, I see a great deal of myself in you. You can see beyond what people want, and what they need and you can choose for yourself.

Andy Sachs: I don’t think I’m like that. I couldn’t do what you did to Nigel, Miranda. I couldn’t do something like that.

Miranda Priestly: You already did. To Emily.

Andy Sachs: That’s not what I… no, that was different. I didn’t have a choice.

Miranda Priestly: No, no, you chose. You chose to get ahead. You want this life. Those choices are necessary.

Andy Sachs: But what if this isn’t what I want? I mean what if I don’t wanna live the way you live?

Miranda Priestly: Oh, don’t be ridiculous. Andrea. Everybody wants this. Everybody wants to be us.

Even with her best intentions, Anne’s Andy sold out. She sold her soul. She sold out on herself.

In life, sometimes we sell our souls with our eyes wide open. Then what happens, indeed happens. More than just saying. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Rather, that’s a very human thing.

***

Throughout junior high, high school, and college I was the unattractive short fat geek, not good at any sports. I was never going to date a nice pretty girl, given who I was, the way I looked.

So at 14 years old, I sold out on ever having a girlfriend. That just wasn’t a possible future for me. Instead, I had to find other things to make me happy, to pursue. I could study and work hard at school. I didn’t deserve a social life. Maybe, I could get into a good college. Maybe, I could get a good job, make a lot of money. Then I could be happy. That was my sell out with my eyes wide open.

In graduate school, I transformed myself physically. I started eating healthy, working out, and lifting weights. I lost 35 pounds. I started looking better. I started liking myself a little better, too.

After graduate school, I moved to Los Angeles for work. I met my best friend Charlie, who schooled me in weightlifting and bodybuilding. We continued to train. I met Mizukami Sensei when Charlie invited me to watch an Aikido Seminar in West Los Angeles. I began training with Sensei after that.

I reunited with my junior high classmate, Royanne. Royanne grew up smart, pretty, and so unintentionally funny. We had a lot fun together. I actually had my first grown update with Roy. We saw “The Phantom of the Opera”.

I fell in love with Royanne. However, Royanne wasn’t in love with me. That’s just life occurring. Still being young and stupid, I made it mean: No one was ever going to fall in love with me. I sold out on myself again, with my eyes wide open too.

Only years later, working with my Therapist Lance, I got that I sold out on myself for years, because I had it in my head: I’m not good enough. That voice was my Dad’s voice when I was 8 years old. WTF.

I had sold out on ever falling in love, because of my incomplete relationship with my Dad when I was a kid. Not only did I sell out on ever falling in love, I sold out on the possibility of being happy, of finding peace. Truly, WTF.

Cheryl taught me the Japanese aesthetic wabi-sabi: There is beauty in our imperfection. Accept our imperfection. I had the epiphany that I had to stop hating on myself so much, otherwise, I would continue to suffer. So, I started being kinder to me. I accepted my imperfection by loving me for who I am and forgiving myself for who I’m not.

Aikido Founder O-Sensei said, “True victory is victory over oneself.” So I continually train to love and forgive myself as much as possible, regardless of circumstance. In doing so, I could make a difference for others and for myself. Falling in love evolved as what’s possible, now with my eyes wide open.

I may not fall in love with someone, who loves me back. Still, I’m open to the possibility. I’m willing to risk my most authentic self in falling in love. I can’t really know what goes on inside another. Yet, I can have compassion. I can be kind. I can be good to people.

Sensei’s and Mom’s kindness and belief allowed me to invent my greater-than versions. In the greater sense, I really don’t mind if I ever fall in love, so long as I can be the greater-than version of myself. That I’m kind to others and to myself.

Years ago, I sold out on myself with my eyes wide open. Yet, by grinding it out, by loving and forgiving myself, I created my most authentic self. Who I’m proud to be. I’ll continue to be as authentic as I can be, hopefully making a difference for others. I’ll do that with my eyes wide open, too. Just saying.

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My Problem With First Dates and Fifty-Something-Year-Old-Men

A Recent First Date

As I recently stepped into an unfamiliar, upscale restaurant, I smiled at my date’s choice of venue for our first meeting. He chose the perfect place to get to know someone better.

The crowd was sparse for it being happy hour. Tabletops for four were scattered about the room. Soft music played in the background, and the murmuring of the clientele was low.

Looking around, I spied a man sitting alone. He was scanning the faces of those entering the restaurant. He seemed a bit older than his profile photo and a few pounds heavier. I readjusted my expectations and let it go.

I nodded to indicate I’d seen him. He got to his feet as I approached.

Here was the first awkward moment — do we shake hands, hug, or give a kiss on the cheek? I watched for any nonverbal cues to indicate his preference. He gave me a quick hug, not too close or too tight, and then took his seat once again.

Since we’ve been texting a few days, I knew a bit about him — where he worked, that he was divorced, and that his grown children were doing well.

Looking at him from across the table, I smiled and said, “Love this restaurant! Been here before?”

“Someone from work recommended it,” he answered. He returned a slight smile and looked down at the menu as we both let the initial rush of awkwardness pass.

Now, we’ve reached the second hurdle — who will take the lead of the conversation and what will be the first topic.

“You’ve been dating much?” he asked. I inwardly groaned. A potential trick question. Was he assessing the scope of his competition, wanting to share dating war stories, or checking in to see how I’m holding up with the challenging task of online dating?

I sidestepped it by answering, “It’s going okay. You?”

And thus started our first real conversation.

An Example of the Art of Conversation

Once in a while, first dates go well. The conversation flows as each of us takes turns, asking a thoughtful or probing question. The conversational lead is like a ball we toss back and forth between us. Each person holds it briefly, before lopping it in the other person’s direction.

It looks something like this —

Date: “Tell me a bit about your work.”

Me: I’m a retired psychologist. I write full-time now.”

Date: “Oh? That’s a big change. How’d that come about?”

Me: “After counseling for over twenty years, I decided it was time to do something new. I discovered writing almost accidentally.”

This line of discussion continues for a few more minutes before I ask, “What about you? Tell me more about your work?”

And just like that, the spotlight shifts to the other person.

This example is how discourse is supposed to go between two people — in a back and forth motion, with each person taking a turn at being the center of attention.

We’ve Forgotten How to be Curious

However, I’ve discovered through my recent re-entry into the realm of dating that this rarely happens. Granted, I’m in my fifties now. The men I’ve been meeting have gone through some tough stuff. They may have experienced one or two divorces, or the death of a spouse. They’ve raised children, might have had a job shake-up, and moved a few times. Maybe there have been losses, rejections, or unwanted surprises.

All of this creates an opportunity for growth or for more hang-ups. I’ve learned firsthand I can approach life from a position of fear or curiosity.

Unfortunately, openness and curiosity seem to be a rarity among men my age.

5 Common Assumptions You Never Realized Were Classist

By James ST. James

The Canadian campaign Humans for Humans recently launched this video in the hopes of spreading empathy and awareness for the homeless population.

Go ahead, click on the video. I’ll wait.

You done? Cool. Because that was a test.

Personally, I teetered between moved and horrified as I watched. While I gave props to the campaign for their attempts to better educate housed people about the awful assumptions made on homeless people, I was nonetheless disgusted by their strategy.

Think about it. Housed people approached homeless people, gave them a device so expensive that it could’ve paid for both a month’s rent and a month’s worth of food, and asked them to use it in order to read the terrible things housed people have been known to say about homeless people. And then stand there and record while they cried.

I mean, talk about kicking someone while they’re down.

But the amount of people that shared this video on Facebook with tears in their eyes baffled me. Did nobody else see this problem?

Actually, yes. One person did. And wouldn’t you know it, she was the only other person who categorized herself as poor. Everybody else was middle class or above.

Which is point #1 of my little intro here.

You see, if you watched this video and did not independently come up with the worry of how this strategy was in fact implemented, that’s a red flag that you may have a classist mindset.

You didn’t see yourself as the poor/impoverished/homeless person on screen. You only saw yourself, the housed person. The objectifier. Just because such an approach is passively classist doesn’t make it any less classist.

And then there’s point #2: the actively classist person, the ones who made ridiculous comments such as “I’d feel bad for them if homelessness wasn’t a choice” even after watching the video.

It’s active classism that I’m going to focus on today – the people who look at any level of poor and declare it wrong or disgusting or lazy.

Granted, this is purely an intro article. There were actually so many classist beliefs that popped up in my brain that I struggled to pare them down to just a handful that hopefully give a taste of classism in the realms of school, work, food, home, and personality.

The following five classist assumptions aren’t expected to change the world, but they are hoped to start helping you notice how rampant classism is.

1. School Realm: Someone’s Project Being Less Aesthetically Pleasing Than Yours Means They’re Not As Serious About Their Education

Oh, school projects. You were the bane of my existence.

When a diorama or three-point poster board or mandatory science fair was assigned, the rich kids would head off to Staples. The poor kids would just groan.

Not only do we never have the money for the bits and baubles that go with a physical presentation, but we also don’t have our parents or legal guardians there to help us with it (or do it for us entirely).

Why? Because they’re working their second shifts so we can freaking eat.

And depending on our age, we may be working after school, too. We may have time to write a report, but we don’t have time to make it look visually appealing on top of it.

Teachers, please stop assigning these sorts of things.

They’re unnecessary flourishes that not only don’t enhance a child’s education, but directly compromise poor kids’ grades, aiding in the perpetuation of that self-fulfilling prophecy about poor people being not good enough for a college education.

2. Work Realm: Someone’s Attire Being Off-Brand or Lacking in Variety Means They Don’t Care About Their Appearance

Women get this one particularly bad since our society is still obsessed with women’s clothes defining who they are. Because—you know—objectification.

Look, clothes cost money, especially brand-name clothes. Few poor people have a unique ensemble for every day of the month.

Despite how well we take care of our clothes – because we respect how expensive they are – we may have to wear the same pair of pants several times in the same week. Which I guess is part of the reason we take such good care of them. We need them to last.

This classist belief is one of the many reasons poor people aren’t able to get good-paying jobs: Physical appearances end up being part of the job description.

And if you’re incapable of wearing a different Saint Laurent—yeah, I just Googled that—skirt every day, you’re fired.

Nothing to do with hygiene, nothing to do with your productivity. Just because you don’t look as fancy as everyone else.

3. Food Realm: Someone Who Doesn’t Eat Organically or in a ‘Healthy’ Way Means They’re Lazy or Don’t Care About Their Health

Have you ever compared prices between organic and non-organic food? Organic food is expensive as hell.

If you’re able to afford an organic diet, you have financial privilege and have no right to lord that fact over poor people under the guise of shaming us.

We don’t care about our health because we have less money than you do? That’s a logical fallacy. And just plain elitist.

Also, healthy food in general. This usually is categorized under the fruits and vegetables department. To make this point quick, poor people often get their (minimal) paychecks only once a month, which means that money needs to last for 30 days food-wise. And we don’t exactly have a lot of time to go to the grocery store what with our multiple jobs and all, so we often buy for an entire month.

In other words: preservatives, preservatives, preservatives. They’re our best friends.

Without them, we often wouldn’t be able to eat at all. Or at least risk giving ourselves some serious food poisoning, which wouldn’t bode well for keeping our jobs.

And don’t get me started on the restrictions of what you can and can’t buy with food stamps. I need to leave that for another day.

4. Home Realm: Homelessness Is a Choice (Or Always the Fault of the One Who Is Homeless)

Bullshit.

You know what causes homelessness? Not having a home.

You know what causes not having a home? Being dealt a raw hand with no luck to help make it better.

Breadwinners die. People of color don’t get callbacks because of their “exotic” sounding names. LGBTQIA+ kids get kicked out by bigoted families. Trans people get fired because they’re—you know—trans.

Shit happens.

And when it happens, there isn’t always going to be someone around to catch you.

In poor world, you’re surrounded by other poor people. And as much as we like to help each other out, sometimes we just plain can’t.

So please don’t look down at homeless people from your place of wealth and luck, wondering why they can’t get off their lazy behinds and work up to what you have.

Because you didn’t work up to what you have, either. Not from the point of homelessness or poverty, anyway. It’s a huge difference.

Have you ever tried filling out a job application when you have no home address, phone number, or e-mail? Yeah, good luck with that.

5. Personality Realm: Someone Who Doesn’t Partake in the Ego Dance is Rude

Something really weird happens if you get past an hourly wage job: You realize people suddenly have the time to…waste of time. And yet they still call it work.

No, I’m not talking about how many hours you can get away with watching cat videos or browsing Facebook while in your cubicle. I’m talking about people who have the ability in their days to figure out how to disagree with someone without coming off like they’re disagreeing with them. Because apparently that hurts people’s feelings, to be corrected or questioned ever.

I’m not sure if there’s a term for this, so I’ve started calling it the ego dance. And most of us poor people just don’t get it.

“I think that’s a wonderful idea, Betsy. It’s smart, sophisticated, and clearly shows the thought you’ve put into enhancing this project. You’re a valued member of this team, and we could never ask for anyone better. However, your suggestion to reintroduce anthrax via Fisher-Price toys seems it might err on the side of being less than adequate for the general populace that utilizes our string of daycare centers. While I’m totally on board with you, we have to think of our shareholders. But never fear! You’ll find a bonus with your next paycheck as thanks for your dedicated time and effort.”

…Huh?

Poor people are used to constantly being on the move, constantly working or looking after children or figuring out which bill absolutely must be paid first. We don’t have time for small talk, ego dances, or worrying about thin-skinned rich folk.

No, time is money. Which means we can often be blunt, direct, or otherwise socially efficient with our days.

But is this rude? Hardly.

Just because we gave you the constructive criticism you required without also taking ten minutes to assure you that you’re still a wonderful human being doesn’t mean we’re coldblooded. It just means we can’t be your impromptu therapist.

That’s a role best left for—you know—an actual therapist. Be good to your brain, m’kay?

***

So you’re looking at this list and going, “Okay, James. If these assumptions really are classist, then why are they so prevalent?”

Good question, grasshopper! I was hoping you’d ask!

See, there’s one distinct trend in all of these classist assumptions: They’re presented in a way that suggests they’re choices.

Don’t eat healthy? It’s because you chose to not care about your health. Don’t dress fashionably? It’s because you chose to not care about your appearance. Don’t make the greatest diorama ever? It’s because you chose to not care about your education.

That’s really the inspiration behind any hateful “ism.” It’s always fear or miseducation or confusion. And for classism, it’s the worry that poverty could happen to you.

Those aren’t small potatoes. It’s a very real and very scary thought. I completely hear you on that.

So how does one combat it? Well, the smart answer would be to ensure things like livable minimum wages, equal pay among genders, and universal healthcare. But the easy answer is simply to conclude that poverty is a choice.

Because if it’s a choice and you choose to not want it, then it can’t happen to you, right? No matter how serious that cancer diagnosis is, no matter how suddenly the CEO fires you due to cutbacks, no matter how badly you get caught up in an identity theft web.

But seriously, just be aware of what’s actually a choice and what isn’t.

By recognizing poverty choices (or lack thereof), we could start moving toward fixing the issues, which would not only help poor people be less poor, but create more of a safety net for yourself if and when unfortunate things happen in your life.

Basically, being less classist will just plain help everyone.

Previously published on Everydayfeminism.com.

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How to Eliminate Bad Habits That Are Holding You Back

Successful people are simply those with successful habits.
~Brian Tracy

We all have habits that are hurting us. Your habit may be as small as biting your nails or buying expensive coffees every day. On the more extreme side of things you may wish to break free of smoking, anger issues, excessive overeating, or other destructive habits.

The good new is, there are ways to deal with habits that are holding you back.

Use these strategies below that will show you how to eliminate bad habits that are holding you back once and for all:

  • Get a big enough WHY. None of human behaviour is random.  Everything we do is done for a reason.  The reason is usually to avoid some form of “pain” (usually psychologically and emotionally in nature), or obtain some kind of pleasure/gain.  Once we perceive a certain action to cause too much pain, we tend to cease that behaviour.  As long as we downplay the cost of certain behaviour in our minds, we will continue that behaviour or pattern.  An important  first step in ceasing any bad habit that might be hurting you, is considering the cost of perpetuating that pattern in the now. Not someday, but now.  What does it cost me and others right now?  Think about how your habit hurts you and others. Does it harm your health? Make you look old? Put a major dent in your bank account? Does it make you act irrationally? Does it hurt your kids? Create a list of the cost of your current “bad habits” to you and those you love right now.  Make it as painful as possible, in order to create leverage.  Also, create a list of major benefits that you’ll experience when you replace these habits permanently. 
  • Find a reason to remove that detrimental habit in your life and hammer that thought into your mind each time you want to continue with it.
  • What’s the pot at the end of the rainbow? Naturally, when there is a direct reward at the end of your pursuit, you’re more inclined to give a wholehearted effort.  The only way  to adopt a new empowering habit is by positive reinforcement.  Creating leverage through pain is an initial step which is quite powerful.  But to maintain a new habit you need more. Conditioning any new habit or pattern of behaviour therefore is essential. Coming up with ways to reward yourself immediately after you exercised and new habit or behaviour, is crucial.  Reinforcement relies on the element of timing.  When you reward  or  “punish” yourself too long after a certain behaviour, the brain can’t make the association or connection between behaviour and consequence.  This makes it very hard  for your brain to create a neural association that will serve new habits on a subconscious level moving forward.  Which means, you will constantly have to rely on willpower to make good choices while trying to overcome bad habits.  This is not a good strategy.  Therefore reward yourself  in small ways, but consistently, right after you exercise or engage in positive patterns of behaviour/habits moving forward. This over time will create the neural connections or pathways for new habits.
  • Furthermore, ensure that your reward is “foreign” to your habit. If you’re trying to quit over-eating, it’s pointless to reward yourself with a whole chocolate cake at the end of each week for being “disciplined.”
  • The reward should be in line with the complexity of your task. Rewarding yourself with a cruise around the world because you’ve stopped biting your nails is a bit of a stretch. However, rewarding yourself with a night out might be in order. Save the biggest rewards for last. What do you really want? What’s something you’ve wished you could have or experience for a long time? Spend the time you would normally spend indulging in your habit to plan your great reward or experience.
  • Small incremental steps. Focus on only one small step each day or week to ensure long-lasting results. For example, if you’re trying to lose weight, remove bread from your diet for the first week. The next week eliminate other carbs, like pasta, in addition to bread.  If you’re trying to minimise your spending, determine the average amount you spend each week in unnecessary purchases. Then set a goal to reduce that amount by 10% for the first week.  Then 20% then next and so on.
  • Find models and learn from them. Read books or browse the web to learn from those that have previously been in your shoes and conquered the same habits and achieve the results you desire. Habits feed our basic human need for certainty.  They give us a feeling of control over your circumstances. However, negative patterns can also fill this void and feed this need.  They will hurt you, but you’ll stick to them.  You need to break that partnership.  See bad habits for what they are and employ patterns of behaviour that actually serve your life.

You are the boss of your mind, body, and results. Start today.  Make a new decision.  Raise your standards of what you will tolerate in your life and stick to that.  You deserve it and so does your loved ones.

This post was previously published on The Relationship Guy and is republished here with permission from the author.

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This Sandwich Theorem of Criticism Changed My Life. It Can Change Yours.

One day my friend quoted Prophet Muhammad’s saying:

There is a part of your body. If it is in your control, whole body behaves well. If it is faulty, whole body is disturbed.

Muslim scholars are agreed that this part is the tongue. So, I was curious. I asked questions to myself. Why is it said so? What are the most detrimental effects tongue causes? I found that criticism, backbiting, abusing, and flattering, are the outcome of the worst tongue. I ranked them all. I found that criticism is the most dangerous venom among all. My thought process revealed that it is because of its duality: Positive and negative criticism.

Criticism can be manipulated. It provides critics with ease of using it, per listener mode. Sensing the listener’s disturbance by my criticism, I can claim it to be positive criticism. I can imply that it was for your good. I didn’t mean that. I didn’t want to hurt your feelings. I am sorry if I am perceived wrong. All these justifications aren’t possible with other things.

Abusing can’t be justified this way. Calling someone motherf*cker is meant as a motherf*cker. Who can manipulate it? It is crystal clear. There’s no positivity in saying someone’s motherf*cker. We can’t claim to abuse for right. There’s no term as decent abusing. So unlike criticism, I can’t say I did positive abusing. I can’t justify backbiting for good. No one will like to be discussed in a boorish and disrespectful way. It is obvious that backbiting is most disliked action one would have.

That’s why all tongue sicknesses except criticism are considered bad and ill-mannered in every society. But criticism is often taken as positive or negative and it can still kill like a poison and remain imperceptible.

Another question: how can I avoid criticism?

I found that it’s not a good strategy to learn criticism avoiding tactics. We have a huge audience in our circle. They often criticize. It’s hard to understand every person and deal accordingly. So it’s wise to learn How To Criticize. It will look strange but it’s the best technique I found ever. It’s called the sandwich theorem of criticism. We should learn it instead of avoiding criticism.

I learnt it from a friend. He asked me to review his research paper. He wanted to publish it in a solar energy conference. I reviewed it with the best of my skills. It wasn’t fitting to my definition of writing. Very next day I emailed him and typed all flaws I could have found. Those were scientific errors and paper wasn’t inflow. I didn’t realize it could have hurt him. I was right on my side. To me, review meant to be highlighting the mistakes only. He replied me back with a life-changing message.

He taught me the Sandwich Theorem of Criticism. He said:

You mentioned my mistakes only. Instead, you could have appreciated me for my work first then talked about errors. In last, you should have given me solution and hope for my efforts.

I was shocked. I didn’t mean to feel him bad but unknowingly I did it. This was his sandwich theorem. I am copying it as I was told.

The Sandwich Theorem

It consists of three layers.

1-Appreciation layer

Don’t push hard early in your opinion about someone. During discussions, after listening to other’s point of view, appreciate their talk first. Give them positive vibes. Say it like this

Based on your experience you are saying right. You presented your thoughts in an easy and understandable way. I got your point

2-Comments layer

It is time to put your views. It is time to tell what you think about other’s opinion or work. You can say like this

I have found some errors and mistakes. Maybe you didn’t consider them, but I have different views about it. I think that this….. this….. and this…. point isn’t suitable to make here.

3- Feedback layer

After appreciation of what others said and given your opinion then comes the feedback layer. It will bring harmony. It will keep everyone on the same ground. This is important. Now you will present a solution. Remember that without it your top two layers are meaningless. If you are using this theorem in the debate, present your point of view. If you are reviewing someone work, present a solution of objections you highlighted.

The Lesson

I concluded that In reviewing my friend’s paper I should have appreciated his efforts first. I should have said that his effort to contribute to science is great. It’s great to see him writing a research paper. Then I had to push hard by comments. Mentioning his mistakes. Pointing out errors. In the end, I should have given him best regards to the acceptance of his paper.

This theorem really helped me since that time. I hope, as a reader you will get the same result.

Previously published on ‘Change Becomes You”, a Medium publication.

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Young Women and Girls Are Taking Sex-Ed Into Their Own Hands on YOUTUBE


By Chloe Krystyna Garcia, McGill University

Sex education in Canadian schools continues to be highly politicized and young people are paying the price.

In Québec, for example, the provincial sexual health curriculum has shifted a few times in the last couple of decades, often leaving teachers and schools confused about the approach and the implementation guidelines. In Ontario, sexual health curriculum is also at the mercy of the province’s political climate.

In many Canadian classrooms, factors like inadequate teacher training and discomfort impact what topics are addressed or avoided. Unfortunately, these circumstances mean that youth may not get the information they need to engage in healthy, positive sexual relationships.

Meanwhile, sexual health resources flourish online. Studies show that many youth seek out information about sexuality in digital spaces. Within today’s participatory social media platforms and networks, many of these resources are produced by youth, for youth. Young girls and women specifically are taking sex education into their own hands.

As a doctoral student at McGill University and a sex education practitioner, I have had the privilege of studying how young YouTubers use their media to talk to their audiences about sexual violence and sexual consent, both in my own dissertation and in collaborative research. In these studies, I looked at a mix of YouTube videos and vlogs (or video logs) from youth of all genders, aged between 14 and 30 years old.

Laci Green video.

Female YouTubers as sex educators

The YouTubers in my study, including celebrity vloggers like Meghan Hughes, Laci Green and Hannah Witton, tackle many facets of sexual consent and sexual violence in their videos. They move beyond the oversimplified “no means no” and “yes means yes” messaging that permeates consent education.

Many of the young women and girls in my samples not only define sexual consent and sexual assault, but also frame these concepts within the larger cultural, legal and political contexts in which they exist.

This is important; examining sexual violence from these broad lenses helps spotlight rape myths and victim blaming. Helping youth recognize the impacts of sexual violence and the underlining societal beliefs and structures that sustain it is a positive step towards fostering a consent culture.

I found that young women and girls are taking to YouTube for many reasons, notably, to express themselves, to educate, respond to others, share their narratives and promote social change. Within their videos, several of the YouTubers in my studies actively encourage their audiences to respect sexual consent, to support survivors and to fight rape culture — for example, by how they vote.

Similar to young feminist activists in other online spaces, these YouTubers are positioning themselves as agents of change and using their vast networks to make a difference (some have hundreds of thousands of subscribers). Audiences listening to YouTube videos can therefore learn how about the skills and knowledge they need to engage in healthy relationships, and more broadly, to help prevent sexual violence.

I found that these girls and young women address sexual consent and sexual violence in creative and engaging ways. In their videos, they use emotional narratives, snappy media effects, music, examples that resonate with youth realities and informal language.

Their production choices lend to an authentic and conversational feel. In many ways, these videos offer a form of sex edutainment, combining educational elements with entertainment, to attract young YouTube audiences.

Pillow Talk video.

YouTube pitfalls

There are several benefits to learning about sexuality on YouTube: there is a large selection of videos, audiences can watch them 24/7 and there are opportunities for dialogue. However, accessible features also open doors to potential harmful rhetoric.

I found that some YouTubers (male and female) perpetuate harmful stereotypes and misinformation about survivors and sexual violence. Trolls often showed up in the comments. In fairy tales, trolls lurk under bridges waiting for victims they can eat — in the digital spaces I studied, many hid under the cape of free speech and openly mocked female YouTubers, women in general and feminists.

This was not a surprise; it’s well known that the internet can be a dangerous space for women and girls. Sarah Banet-Weiser, professor of media and communications at the London School of Economics, correctly describes popular feminism and misogyny as warring ideologies, with digital spaces being one of their battlegrounds. YouTube is no exception.

Viewers should also be aware of the corporate nature of YouTube. As researcher and lecturer Sophie Bishop points out in her study of beauty vloggers, YouTube’s “algorithmic political economy” means the platform will prioritize videos deemed more commercially viable. Some celebrity YouTubers are financially supported by companies, while others are looking for sponsorship — both of which may affect video content and performance. The algorithms also mean a diversity of voices may be left out.

Meghan Hughes video.

Supporting youth

Parents can can help youth navigate the messages they see on YouTube and elsewhere. You and your child can also play an important role in sexual violence prevention and the promotion of consent culture in the following ways:

Ask and listen. Show interest in what youth are are watching, without judgement. Taking the time to listen to them describe the spaces that they occupy can help build the trust needed to talk to them about the messages they consume.

Practise critical media literacy skills with your kids. We cannot control what is said on the internet; however, we can teach youth to be critical of media messages and to be responsible content producers. MediaSmarts has tip sheets for parents.

Address the trolls. Youth already know about trolls. However, it may be helpful to discuss with them how to deal with hateful online comments. There is no best solution: learning more about it may be a good first start.

Be prepared for conversations about sexuality and sexual violence. If you are comfortable talking about consent, have open, non-judgmental conversations. If you aren’t comfortable talking about sexuality or consent, or you are aware that your views may not be healthy, help your child find resources (such as GoAskAlice or Amaze) and someone they trust that they can talk to (a family member, or friend or a local community organization).

Teach yourself and be prepared to “unlearn.” Rape myths, victim blaming and other harmful views of survivors are perpetuated across all types of media and platforms. Learn about them and reflect on the ways that you can cultivate positive values and beliefs that support healthy relationships and consent culture.

Keep an open mind: this may require questioning your own attitudes, assumptions and behaviours. Your conversations may lead into the social and cultural realities youth are navigating every day.The Conversation

The Conversation

Chloe Krystyna Garcia, Instructor, Integrated Studies in Education, McGill University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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How Businesses Can Adapt and Prosper in a Post-Pandemic Economy

Many companies have problems within their corporate culture that keep them from prospering the way they should


As the economy restarts after the forced shutdown caused by COVID-19, businesses face a litany of unknowns. How quickly will shoppers return to their buying routines? Will temporary measures – working remotely, eating at home more, using delivery services – become permanent for large numbers of Americans?

“Many businesses won’t be able to return to their old way of doing things, but in some cases that might be just as well,” says Bill Higgs, an authority on corporate culture and the ForbesBooks author of the Culture Code Champions: 7 Steps to Scale & Succeed in Your Business (www.culturecodechampions.com).

Often, those old ways probably weren’t working, says Higgs, a founder and former CEO of Mustang Engineering who recently launched the Culture Code Champions podcast.

“Many companies have problems within their corporate culture that keep them from prospering the way they should,” he says. “They hire whoever is available instead of seeking out the best talent. They communicate poorly. They have silos within the company that create a lot of rework and foster competition instead of cooperation.”

Now is a chance to do better, Higgs says, and he recommends a few thing business leaders should do as they work to bring their companies out of the economic downturn:

  • Be a visible presence. Higgs says he has known instances where, during a downturn, leadership goes into hiding. “They would just disappear,” he says. “They didn’t want to face the music with their people. But as businesses struggle to recover from our current crisis, owners and CEOs need to get out and talk to their people. I call it ‘management by wandering around.’ They need to engage their team and discuss how everyone can pull together to get through this.”
  • Understand this could be an opportune time to hire. The unemployment rate spiked upward as the economy went into freefall, but that means there’s an opportunity for businesses that want to build a strong team, Higgs says. “During just about any downturn, the people who lose their jobs include top-notch performers,” he says. “Be on the lookout for that talent. Snap them up if you can. But even if you can’t hire right away, it’s important to be aware that those top performers are out there so you can go after them when the time is right.”
  • Don’t get comfortable. One problem businesses encounter when good times return is that they revert to bad habits, Higgs says. They aren’t as diligent about eliminating waste. They keep poor-performing employees long past the point where they should have parted ways. “Companies by necessity run lean in the lean times,” he says. “But they also need to run lean in the good times, so they will be in better shape the next time the economy goes bust. Staying lean in the good times is a game changer.”

“One more mistake businesses make in good times is that when they get really busy, they stop selling, or at least aren’t as motivated to sell,” Higgs says. “I always say you should sell while the shop is full. That way when your sales people are in a client’s office, they don’t come off as desperately begging for work. Instead, they are talking about all the fun stuff and good stuff you’re doing at your company. That makes a big difference in how you are perceived.”

Previously published on permission.

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Chivalry in Love: To Open or Not to Open the Door

“Ladies first”, “After you Ma’am” .. these are some of the pet favorite phrases of the chivalrous man. While the modern man may scoff at having to display these chivalrous traits, we take a look if chivalry in love is relevant in modern times. We also explore how chivalry comes into play in the 21st century.

Chivalry of the Knights

In the middle ages, the knights were prescribed an informal code of conduct. This code of conduct included displaying graciousness and gentleness to women, & being fair and considerate with people in general. It entailed demonstrating heroic courage whenever the situation demanded. Chivalry as this code of conduct is better known today was not a concept for the masses, rather it was something which the knights took it upon themselves as a guide for different situations in life. The wives of those knights would remain confined to the four walls of their castles, taking care of themselves, completing household chores & waiting for their husbands to return. Those were very different times.

A Woman is her Own Knight in the 21st Century

In modern times, women more often than men complain that chivalry is dead. The role of a woman has evolved from being an obedient housewife to an equal member of the society. She has similar rights, benefits, duties and responsibilities as the opposite gender. Hence in this new changing environment, the concept of chivalry started losing its importance. At an individual level, women today are more outgoing, confident, bold and free-spirited than ever. Women today want to travel and explore new places, meet their friends as well as strangers on first dates. They support the household chores but career is her topmost priority as well. At the workplace, both men and women hustle for the same assignments, titles and privileges. In short, a woman is no longer a damsel in distress waiting for a knight in shining armor to come and protect her. A woman today is her own knight.

Growth of Feminism

The concept of feminism challenges the stereotype that women need to be supported or protected. However, with onset of women’s movement which focuses on individuality of women, this stereotype is no longer applicable. Some women therefore, take offence when men offer them help of any kind — relinquishing a seat in the bus, or offering to lift their bags, etc. So in such a scenario, it may not be fair to expect men to be chivalrous and treat women any different than they treat their male counterparts. We have come to a point where men have been caught in a catch 22 situation in their personal & professional lives. They often wonder, should I hold the door or should I pay the bill? Should I let her pay?

Co-existence of Feminism & Chivalry in Modern Times

Emma Watson, in an interview, once said, “I love having the door open for me, I love being taken to dinner. But I think the key is, would you mind if I open the door for you?” It can be safely deduced then that she is a proponent of the school of thought that believes chivalry and feminism can co-exist. Both the genders are equally capable and yet, it is not an excuse to treat each other with less consideration, care and respect. Both genders need to practice courtesy towards each other. It is okay to hold the door open for the lady — or the guy — besides you.

It is never a bad idea to compliment someone for their new dress or a crisp white shirt. Indeed it is a kind gesture to offer your seat to someone in need — irrespective of their gender. In a relationship, it is totally okay for the guy to pay the bill for their meal, or for the girl to pay for their movie outing, or for them to split the bills equally. The word is not chivalry; it is mutual-respect. Chivalry in love is great, but it is mutual respect by both genders that is actually the trick.

Chivalry in love in modern times

A strong relationship is not led by a man — or a woman — but by both of them. Each member in a relationship deserves to be loved, respected, pampered and showered with affection from the other one. For a relationship to flourish, one must be willing to go out of their way to make the other person feel special. And we need to do this now, more than ever. For in today’s modern lives, it’s not money or any safety or any act of chivalry that one party derives from the other in a relationship. It is love that keeps them together.

Previously published on Medium.com.

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How Celebrities Can Use Their Platform To Inspire Students

Being a role model who promotes well-being, education, and leadership is more important than any film, song, or dunk.

Students are experiencing one of the biggest life changes due to COVID-19 with the education process being completely flipped on its head resulting in online courses. With so many distractions that come from kids being at home, inspiration needs to be constant and come from a variety of sources. Parents and teachers have been doing their parts, but another place where motivation can be found are the otherwise distracting mediums that are TV and social media. Celebrities’ platforms and large reaches can be, and often are, used for good, and in today’s drastically changed society, that good can be through student inspiration. Here are some ways the stars kids look up to can use their influence to help those kids stay motivated to learn and live positive lives in a time filled with negativity.

Share Their Own Educational Triumphs

Many athletes and musicians found their paths to success early in life and forwent furthering education to pursue their respective crafts. The polarizing Shaquille “Shaq” O’Neal has four sons who he wants to be highly educated. Practicing what he preaches has always been something “The Diesel” does, and he successfully pursued a doctorate degree in education from Barry University in Miami to pave the way for his kids and all the kids who look up to him. More recently (May 22), rapper Quavo announced to his fans on social media that he got his high school diploma and is looking into college. Quavo is 29-years old and known for helping out youngsters and encouraging them. Now he is very proud to say he is able to lead by example for students struggling to graduate.

Share the Tools Education Has Given Them

Classrooms are also places where life skills like effective leadership are discovered and polished, so encouraging students who don’t have the peer interaction and aforementioned classrooms to continue to self-educate on being leaders, helping others, and things of the like will have a positive spiral effect on both the skills mentioned, and the importance of the education that may be harder to pay attention to due to the newness of a digital classroom.

Simply Educate

Whether digital or physical, textbooks don’t always have all the answers for life’s problems. Many stars use their social media platforms to educate and inspire their fans on social issues. With the trauma caused to many youngsters due to the uncertainly caused by COVID-19, some celebrities are using their platform to speak out on the difficult issues of mental health. Earlier this year, Demi Lovato took to social media to share her struggles with bipolar disorder, bulimia, and addiction in an attempt to let her young fans know that it’s okay, and necessary to talk about these things, and that resources are there help them, even when stuck at home and looking for help online. Chris Evans, known to many youngsters as Captain America, also used his platform to educate on his social anxiety and let those who look up to him know that it’s okay to not want to be around people all the time, even if most of your peers like to be in groups.

“Stick to Music/Acting/Sports”

When folks disagree with celebrities, they often go to the “Stick to What You Do,” defense, but in reality, what they do is influence and become successful role models for youngsters. Being a role model who promotes well-being, education, and leadership is more important than any film, song, or dunk, and being in the spotlight can result in an easier path than most have for promoting good.

Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello is very politically outspoken, and when someone attacked him on social media saying, “Another successful musician instantly becomes a political expert” a couple of years ago, his response was perfect and promoted courage, leadership, and all-around coolness. “One does not have to be an honors grad in political science from Harvard University to recognize [injustice],” Morello wrote, “but, well, I happen to be an honors grad in political science from Harvard University, so I can confirm that for you.” It’s a bit sassy, but makes boldness and education seem pretty darn awesome!

This content is sponsored by Andrew Deen.

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