Blackness...learning how to Ack...
Andre: My parents would say, "Boy, go to your room until you learn how to act." So I'd go into my room, and I'd be in there for a while, and then I step out to the hallway the next day, "To be or not to be." I spent a lot of time in my room. But one day, I finally got it. I told you my dad was my pastor, so on Sunday, we would go to church from 7:30 AM to 11:30 PM. We'd stop at 3:00 for chicken, not because we're black, but because chicken is delicious.
Andre: Friday night, I asked my dad for the car, and what does my dad say? Because he loves me, what does he say? "He says no." No, he says yes. He loves me. So, I get the keys. I hang out with my friends. I put gas in the car. I come home before curfew, and my father says, "I have what kind of an attitude?" What kind of attitude? A good attitude, because I'm home before curfew, car's full. I have a good attitude.
What do I say about my dad's attitude? He also has a good attitude, or a great attitude. So, Friday night, I have a good attitude, my dad has a good attitude. Sunday, my best friend, Dexter, calls me at noon and says, "Andre, can you pick me up from the movies?" What do I know about Sunday?
Church all day. But I'm 17, I'm invincible, and Jesus is my friend, so I go up to my dad and I say, "Dad, can I borrow the car?" And what does my dad say? Not only does he say, "No," but he gives me a lecture about how I'm leading people to Hell.
Every negative consequence in my house was, "You're going to Hell." "You didn't make your bed? Going to Hell. You didn't take out the trash? Going to Hell." So I say my dad has what kind of an attitude? A bad attitude, and what does he say about my attitude? That it is also a bad attitude.
Now, this is an important concept, because it'll change how you work with people. It'll change how you work with your family members, how you even give yourself some leeway. What was it that actually determined my attitude? My dad's response? The goal that I was accomplishing.
When a person reaches their goal, they have what kind of an attitude? A good or positive attitude. When they're not getting what they want, or getting to their goal, they have a negative or bad attitude. So when you are encountering a client who has a bad attitude, or a coworker who has a bad attitude, or maybe even a supervisor who has a bad attitude, what is the one thing you know about them for sure?
They're not achieving their goal.
As I help her, it then becomes critical for you to step up and play your role, which comes in two forms. The easiest way to help them have a good attitude is to do what? Help them reach their goal, so give them tools, the instructions, the path they need to ultimately reach their goal. They will have a good attitude.
But what if the thing that they want, their goal, is unachievable, it's outside of your resources, outside of their ability to maintain. It's just not something they can do? Then what becomes your responsibility as the helper? Help them to change their goal, because ultimately, whose job is it to live their life? Theirs. We are all about empowering people to make better choices in their own lives.
I don't know if I shared this, but the curriculum that many of you use to coach folks in their fiscal responsibility, I actually was one of the individuals in the community that was trained to use that, so I have my red folder and all my notes and stuff. I have a real passion for the kind of work that we do. But attitude is a response to a goal, so it's important that we understand what people's goals are.
I am going to hip you to a mystery. I'm going to go back to a previous slide... Not that previous... [silence]
Andre: Let's do this. The five circles that you've written down, when I think about the bigot, why does the bigot behave that way? Does the bigot wake up and say, "You know what? I am going to be a bigot today. I am going to tick off as many people around me as possible today." Is that what they do? It's all they know. "Subconscious, how they were raised." What do we say about human behavior? People do what makes sense to them, because ultimately, that making sense helps them to accomplish their goal, so the bigot is trying to achieve their goal. The prejudiced person is trying to achieve their goal.
I'm going to teach you a little bit about cultural competence, because people always want to know, "Well, how do I work with a Somalian individual? How do I work with a Hmong individual? How do I work with someone from Chicago?" People always want to know that kind of stuff, so I'm going to break it down to you real quick.
Here it is. Here is the person. This is their DNA. I want you to think about yourself. This is your DNA, this is how tall you are, how thin, or short, or whatever, your hair texture, that's your right there. Outside of you, the first ring of influence are the social lenses, so what are some of the social lenses or social categories that we get broken into in our society? What are some of those social categories that we break people into in our society?
Age is one of those. Class. Gender. Race. These are all social lenses we didn't have anything to do with, and we don't get to determine what that is. It seems as though the society at large determines what that is.
Outside of that next ring is our geographic regions. There are things that we're able to do, because we live in North America, that folks can't necessarily do in South America, or North Africa, or Australia, or the Far East. Because we live in North America, there are certain things that we're able to do. Because we live in Minnesota, there are some behaviors that we have that are unique to Minnesotans.
What might be some of those behaviors that are unique to Minnesotans? "Passive-aggressiveness."
Andre: I didn't mean so much like that. What else? What are some of the activities that we do in Minnesota that are unique to being in Minnesota? Skiing, the way we speak, the fact that I say "Minne -- so -- ta." [laughter]Andre: Hunting, fishing, ice fishing, all the activities that we do, the winter carnival, it's all a part of our geographic region that does not happen everywhere. Finally, our government has a large part to do with how we grow up or how we see the world. What is our governmental structure? How does our government operate? "By corporations."
Andre: I forget who I'm talking to. What else? What's the biggest corporation? [laughter]
Andre; People said we have a, starts with "demo," ends with "crazy." We have a representative democracy, so when people say "democracy, " what that means it that everybody votes, and everybody has a say. We don't operate like that. We vote for people who vote for us, so we have a representative democracy.
We have public schools that are funded by the government. Why do we have public schools? Anybody know that? It's in the Constitution. Yes, because John Adams put it together, and it is a part of the Constitution, so public schools, to be eliminated, would have to be taken out of the Constitution.
In our government structures, there are other things that determine all of this stuff, so when we talk about cultural competence, individuals operate where they operate because of all of these factors.
Is anyone a farmer, related to a farmer, been to a farm? What are some of the things that the farm culture has to know about the world, or what is important to know in the farm culture? The weather, so understanding the patterns of the weather. What else? Green markets.
What else? Laws. Yes? What people eat. How to fix stuff. If you have animals, you have to know how to help the animals do all sorts of stuff. You have to be very intelligent about what that land does.
Let's say I take a farmer from greater Minnesota, and I put that farmer in downtown Manhattan. To the people in New York, what might they think of, or what might they say about that farmer? "Crocodile Dundee." What else might they say? That they're a hick. What else might they say? That they're awkward, that they're backward, that they're out of place.
At the same time, if I took a person from New York and I put them on the farm in greater Minnesota, what would the people on the farm say about the person from New York? Lazy. What else? City slicker. What else? Stuck-up. They may say all of these things about them.
One of the important things for us to understand is that when we have people coming from other cultures, all of these things play into place, and where they come from, they are striving and trying to reach the same goals that we are. "What are those goals, Andre?" I will tell you right now.
We are all striving for these things three things. Maslow talked about them in terms of five things, their physiological needs, their safety needs, their social needs, their esteem needs, and self-actualization. I like to break them down to three, that there is significance, belonging, and safety. You want cultural competence? It's right here. Why do people wear hijab? It's right here.
Significance, belonging, and safety. Significance of their culture, belonging with another group of people who also believe and feel the same way, and safety, and being able to accentuate their significance, living their purpose. Why do people like myself curl my hair in the way that I do? Significance, belonging, and safety. Why does the bigot act the way that they do? Significance, belonging, and safety.
Now, here is the problem. This is the goal. People's behavior is obtuse. It's out of whack. It's inappropriate. It's not the goal that's the problem. It's the method that people engage in trying to reach this goal.
Andre's purpose is to reconnect people to their Dignity and Honor in Being Human.