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The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed....Luxury, then, is a way of being ignorant, comfortably,
an approach to the open market of least information. Where theories can thrive, under heavy tarpaulins without
being cracked by ideas...The art of government is to make two-thirds of a nation pay all it possibly can
pay for the benefit of the other third...True leadership must be for the benefit of the followers, not
the enrichment of the leaders...If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have
chosen the side of the oppressor...No person is your friend who
demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.
WILLIAM GIBSON | IMAMU AMIRI BARAKA | VOLTAIRE
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Whatever you think of Diversity, Parity, Equality, Fairness, Justice, Discrimination or Haves and Have-Nots, you either are clear as crystal about what you deem excusable, and what things you don't, and more often than not can be seen taking constructive steps to rectify them, as a matter of course. And you'll find that it is virtually impossible to seriously talk about highly intelligent and responsible women hard at work re-imagining the world this 21st-century, without talking about Diversity (差异, 多样性).
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There is, in other words, a certain way this world works, and intelligent women (accomplished or up and coming) often get it.
But nothing captivates my total attention more than the tireless innovative drive, brisk walk, words, focus, and passionate, serious and/or cool demeanor of a woman not only on a mission but also firmly in touch with reality. And reality is the key theme in this series and subsequent installments as I examine meat and potato issues revolving around climbing the career or success ladder and issues of institutional discrimination and/or racism otherwise qualified people have to endure.
There's a certain way the world works, I say, and I'll leave it to my videos (not made for DisneyWorld®) to inform the meticulous mind tuning in to listen with their eyes. But there's also, I have found, two kinds of successful women.
Women who had it rough, grew up having to fight to earn respect and dignity within their own families and often simultaneously, within their schools and communities; who then went out into the wider world only to have doors constantly slammed in their faces because of their gender, tend to understand how the world works. And the beautiful thing is, so comfortable are they with reality minus the spin; so situationally aware, that very often (except where corrupted by power), they're not only firmly in touch with the plight of equally dedicated but less fortunate people, but importantly: they fancy quality, substance, talent, potential, unvarnished honesty, trainability and drive over overwhelming class, power, and status-oriented societal façades be they "meritocracy" gone wrong, fallacious test scores favoring one cultural background against the other and hence erecting a superficial/institutional barrier against minorities, just to name a few.
The situational awareness of which I speak should never be confused with assurances, speeches, the self-congratulatory intellectualization for pretense, of marginalized ethnic groups' harsh economic realities, or the devastating impact of discrimination and racism where Diversity as a consciousness is absent.
I have neither the interest in, nor time for such self-styled academicians and theorists, and their erroneous postulates. Indeed, you will find that a trait the "other" kind of successful woman shares with ignoramuses is their constant use of the phrase: "I don't think...I don't think...I don't think", or "Maybe [this, that and the other]", —both, telltale signs of the denier and/or pretender scrambling to wish reality away. And yet as aptly noted by Philip Dick, "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
You can't improve that which you haven't invested time in understanding intimately, whatever your background. Which is a key benefit of the Women's Forum (video above) for the attendees that came from (more) privileged backgrounds.
The two women who gave me my first break in the Entertainment Industry first, and then immediately following that, corporate America, shared a single trait I'll never forget: they were caucasians with great listening skills who were open to being taught the cultural competency cues they previously didn't understand nor possess while valuing and rewarding substantive traits I mentioned previously herein together with the 26 critical success factors highlighted in another blog. Relationship skills being the centerpiece of their worldview, every memory I have of those women is unambiguous, unequivocal, and uncompromising because they were not "deniers" or theorists. They were doers who made things happen and constantly looked to improve rather than wish away unpleasant realities or inconvenient truths.
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On the contrary, four successful women I met in China in recent years (one of them an expat) lived in a bubble growing up, were pushed, actively elevated and dubiously helped into (often, first foreign) academic and ultimately, professional positions of influence. And being around them teaches one nothing because they lack the imagination, maturity, sophistication, and most crucially, 'human skills' of the women I described above, most notable if not memorable among them for her affableness: Botswana's Attorney General, Justice Dr. Athaliah Molokommé.
Sadly, unlike the latter and her ilk attending the Women's Forum, worst among the traits of *the other kind* of successful women I observed in China in particular, often comprise the fact that albeit successful in the careers, they often lack a broader vision and creativity transcending nationalistic (even childish) proclivities either for world domination or the achievement at whatever cost, of world admiration. So that even where aims to improve the state of affairs—quota or not—exist, under their watch, racism, shadism, ageism and outright discrimination of the kind I have seen and heard firsthand, even against women considered "less beautiful" by mainstream Chinese culture; shorter and back to shadism, darker in color, and outright institutional marginalization persist, and against Blacks as well.
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We shall, if the future ever comes, examine all that. But in the next installment, we shall examine in depth how a visionary (woman) teamed up with a man to change the state of affairs in one of America's oldest professions. Tune in.
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