I Just wanted to go home.
Workshop, it was fabulous. But I'm tired and I just want to go home. And so, apparently, there's some kind of storm activity or some mechanical problems. So that evening, I go to catch my flight, they say it's canceled and that I have to fly the next day. And so, I'm really bummed out because home is where I want to be. And so, I'm a little bit frustrated, but I can handle that. So they give me a voucher to go to a hotel. I go to a hotel just to have a night's sleep and prepare for the next morning. My flight's supposed to leave at 7:10. And so, I get up the next morning about 5:30 because I have to return the rental car. So I didn't get a whole lot of sleep, and sleeping in smoky hotels isn't necessarily the best way to start your day.
But at any rate... So I go to the hotel. I took the rental car back. I'm going back to the airport, and my 7:00 flight is canceled. Now, it was canceled the night before, and now it's canceled again at 7:00 am. And so, the next flight out that I can take to Milwaukee is at ten o'clock. So having no other choice, I go there. Now, I really want to get home, and I'm starting to get a little hot into the collar. But then I remember the thing that I always talk about. Right?
So I'm practicing what I preach at this point, because this is where the rubber meets the road, that people are doing the best they can with what they have to do their job and that there's dignity and honor in being human. I always say that. That's like my mantra. Right? I mean, you've heard me say that here, as well as other places. Right?
So I say that all the time, "There is dignity and honor in being human." But here is an opportunity for me to... I'm being challenged on this. Right? So how do I deal with this craziness of being stuck? So my flight leaves at 10:00. I get on the flight and I'm going to Milwaukee, and I'm saying this whole mantra of, "There is dignity and honor of being human."
So we land in Milwaukee, and the Milwaukee flight to Minneapolis is also canceled. So now, I'm in Milwaukee, I finally made it out of Indianapolis. I'm in Milwaukee, it is currently now 11:00. The next flight doesn't leave until 4:00. Now, I don't know about you, but these long layovers drive me crazy. So now I have to wait until 4:00.
Well, as it gets closer, they actually delayed the flight because there is another flight from California that needs to catch this flight. So now we are not leaving until 6:00 pm. Now, at this point, everything that I have in me is being tested. Right? I'm really frustrated. I don't have any food coupons, all of the stuff. So I just wait around. 6:00 comes, board the plane, get to Minneapolis and they're holding. I mean, they really put you...
You can feel the G forces. Your face is like Botox central or something. So we're blazing on the trail to Minneapolis. We get to Minneapolis and we are ahead of schedule. The only problem is, there is somebody at our gate. We got there too early. So we have to spend about an hour on the tarmac before we could get off the plane to Minneapolis.
Now, by this time, everything... I've been tested and tried and I've really been trying to keep a good attitude. But I get a little bit snippy and I request two bags of pretzels and a full can of soda. I'm getting back at them. Right? So I have that stuff and I finally get off the plane, and my first inclination was to give everybody at AirTran a piece of my mind.
And that would have been my reward. Had I given everybody a piece of my mind, they would have known how dissatisfied I was, how much they inconvenienced me and all that kind of stuff. But then, that still small voice at the back of my head said that they were doing the best they could with what they had to get you to your destination.
And so, I listened to that voice and I didn't say anything. I didn't say anything. I just kind of... I said, "That was a learning experience. Something great may happen out of this, or maybe I was supposed to learn patience." Because that is how you learn it, by practicing. Right? And so, I just kind of left that alone and didn't talk about it to a whole bunch of folks.
And then I got a letter from the mail from AirTran. Now, these were the folks who kept me waiting and all of this kind of stuff. So I got this letter from AirTran and the letter said, "We apologize for the inconvenience that we have caused you." Now, I didn't say anything. Right? So they sent me this letter, "We apologize for the inconvenience. We understand the importance of you getting home, blah, blah, blah..."
These were all things I'm thinking and they are saying them to me. Right? "And because we want to keep you as a valuable customer, we want to send you on a round trip flight with a ticket to any place that AirTran travels, any place. Within the next year, you can go anywhere." Now, my first inclination would have been to tell these people off and give them a piece of my mind. And that, probably, would just get extra peanuts.
And it is really interesting that I would have got the satisfaction of giving them a piece of my mind. That would have been my reward. But I held my peace and I understood that they were doing the best that they could. And I got a totally different and more beautiful and more special reward.
Pause today, pause today. And when you have that first inclination to make that move, pause and just sit back, take a deep breath and think about what lessons could be learned and what's your reward. I'm Andre Koen, until next time.
It clear by looking at people that we have some obvious differences, body shape, nose width and har texture are just a few clues that we need to pick up as we interact with others. These differences often get co-opted or mixed with the values we attach to these differences. In the case of the racial difference, we will refer to them as Racial Associations. These Racial associations are the value, values and attributed that we assign to an individual or predefined group based on cultural and societal norms.
Clues that we are engage in a partner or cycle of Racial Association occur when we don't "know" the "Race" of a person and so we try to figure out "Who and What people are". Questions like: "What are you?", "Cute baby, is it a boy or a girl?" or "How long have you been in this country?". Are all attempts to make sense of the the world and the people in it. This is a natural process, yet we must rise above our human nature and become more that the sum of our parts. Understand and cooperation in the achievement of our goals will lead to greater engagement, personal productivity, and professional attainment of outcomes.
Seven at 7
It's 7:00. My mother gets us ready for bed, and she does three things before we go to bed. She makes sure that we've brushed our teeth, that we've washed behind our ears, and she makes sure that we get a big spoonful of cod liver oil. Yuck! Seven at 7. So, she'd line us up every night before we went to bed and made sure those three things happened. We brushed our teeth, washed behind our ears and got a big spoon of cod liver oil. Fast forward 30 years. Before I go to bed, what do you think I do? I brush my teeth, I wash behind my ears, and I do not drink cod liver oil. But why do you think I do those things 30 years later? Because those things have become a part of what I do. They've become a habit.
But how do we structure, how do we get habits? We get habits through routines. Because I did those things on a regular basis, I did those things on a regular basis, they became a habit. So we know that a habit is a learned pattern of behavior that's become automatic, but what is a routine? A routine is a cognitive, something that you think about. It is also something that is scheduled, so it is a cognitive scheduled behavior that we do on a regular basis. And we do that so much that it becomes a habit.
So if you have bad habits, what does that mean about your routines? You once had bad routines. Smokers, when they first start out, have to think about buying and getting cigarettes until it becomes a habit, and they don't have to think about it.
It's funny, Kung Fu fighters and Wing Chung masters and boxers and athletes, they practice these moves over and over and over and over again. They go through drills. They exercise their mind, thinking this thing through. They stretch. They prepare. They do all of these things so that when game time comes it has become a habit.
Whatever you do on a regular basis, that you're cognitively thinking about, something that is important to you, those things become your habits. Be careful what routines you set because that's a powerful thing, because those routines will become your habits, and those habits become the sum total of your behavior. And your behavior is what people see about how you act.
Philip Uri Treisman is a professor of mathematics and public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin and also the founder and executive director of the Charles A. Dana Center for Mathematics and Science Education, an organized research unit at The University of Texas at Austin. Treisman, who has been a pioneer in advocacy for mathematics education for more than 30 years, is often considered a “translation researcher”—one who translates research data into practices that have powerful effects in transforming educational outcomes.
Treisman’s findings crystallized the importance of helping students learn to navigate the boundaries of the academic and social worlds of higher education. In particular, helping students to develop and “try on” identities as mathematicians, as academics, and as professionals increased their productive persistence in their studies and, he believed, shaped the way they made sense of the academic content they were studying.
Her name was Mrs. Young, and I loved Mrs. Young for three reasons. One, she drove a tangerine orange Corvette, and that was hot. The second reason that I loved Mrs. Young was because she had green hair. Now, she was too old to be a punk rocker, so it was probably an old lady dye job gone bad, but it looked really cool in her tangerine orange Corvette. The third reason I loved Mrs. Young was because I felt that she had my best interests at heart, that she never would do anything to hurt me and wanted the best for me. And so, in 1982 I took a test in Mrs. Young's class, and this was one of the questions on the test. And the test asked, how many planets are there in the solar system? And in 1982, what was my answer? Nine. In 1982 there were nine planets in the solar system.
If I were to ask a six grader today that very same question, how many planets are there in the solar system, what answers might I get? More popularly, I would get eight. Why eight? Why for thousands of years have we had nine planets, and as of recently we only have eight. It has something to do with our concept of the truth. Now if you ask people what the truth is, typically they will say that it's things based on fact. It's based on information. It's based on empirical data.
I want to offer to you that those are small pieces of what the truth is, but the truth ultimately is based on what we know about our world, about our environment, about ourselves today.
I don't know if this has ever happened to you, but I reflect on some of my childhood upbringing. And I look at that upbringing now with a different light, and the truth has shifted for me. For example, I recall when I was a small child going to school, and more recently I have been serving on a board that works with Head Start.
When I was a child I just went to school. And I'm sitting in this board meeting, and things are starting to sound familiar to me. I'm getting flashes of my childhood coming back.
And so, after the board meeting I called my mother, and I said, mom, these are some of the things that are coming to me when I was at this board meeting, talking about the things we need to do to help Head Start. I said, mom, why does it sound so familiar? And she laughs, and she looks at me and she says, son, you were in Head Start. And all of a sudden my whole trust about what it meant to grow up had just shifted a little bit. My truth had changed.
Now, I know that some of you out there will say, well, there is this ultimate truth that does not change, and I can't disagree with that. But what I do know is that people create the truth. And one of two either happens. Either you create the truth for yourself, or other people tell you what the truth is.
Here's another example. So I was taught that time was constant, that 3:00 today will be similar if not the same as 3:00 tomorrow, give or take a couple of seconds for leap year. Something happened more recently that shook my belief in what time is or what time was.
And I don't know where you live, but where I live daylight savings time was moved by a total of two weeks. Now, I have questions about that because I was taught that there were 24 hours in the day because of the earth's rotation and that the earth goes around the sun creating that 365 day year and that those things are constant. And so, I got really confused and concerned when time was moved or changed.
Now, I don't know what this means to you, but for me it meant a lot because if people can change time, what else can be changed? And what I found out as I investigated how time was changed. I figured out that time was changed through legislation.
So, ultimately time is a law and who makes up our legislative process? People interact with the law. People create laws so that we know how to operate with each other, so we know what the confines of human behavior are, what's acceptable, what the norms are. People create those laws.
Now, again, there are some ultimate laws that I'm not really talking about, but I'm talking about those socialized human norms that we've created. And so, again, one of two things happen. Either you create those laws for yourself, or someone will create those laws for you. And so, my question for you is, what is it that you believe that you...
Q&A with Andre
This was a Question and Answer session we conducted after a Diversity Keynote
A New Paradigm...
It is clear that we need a new paradigm for Diversity this presentation explore what that new Paradigm should be and ways that you can be helpful in Creating the this NEW PARADIGM.
This clip was made in the 1970's Bill Cosby is acting out what he perceived about people at that time in American History? Are there things that he say that you might hear today? What do you think this says about our Diversity efforts? What should we do next in term of Diversity and Inclusion?
So I don't do a whole lot of shout outs to different companies or what not, because they don't give me... I don't get any endorsements from them, right? But there is a place that I absolutely love at the Mall of America. That's a plug. All right, and its Nordstrom Rack. I'm a shoe dude. I don't know if you... I like shoes. Shoes are like... I don't know, I think they make... Shoes and belts, shoes and belts make an outfit. It doesn't... If you got nice shoes and a good belt, you got an outfit.
So I'm at Nordstrom Rack and I'm in the shoe aisle. And their shoe aisles are amazing, because it is like the Matrix. So you stand and it is just like rows of shoes everywhere. I love the shoe aisle. So I'm standing in the shoe aisle and I'm trying to find the perfect shoe on... I'm hunting for big game, right? So I'm in the shoe aisle and in the next aisle, I hear a bunch of teenagers and they're using the "N" word.
They are referring to each other in a... Using the "N" word. Right? Now, the "N" word is very confusing for white people because they are like, Why is it bad for me to say, but black people call themselves that all the time." Well, let me just tell you, not all black people call themselves that and you still can't say it. I mean like there are things that you... Somebody... You can talk about your mama and you can talk about cousins, but nobody else can talk about your cousin and your mama, right? But we'll get back to the "N" word later in the story.
But at any rate, so the kids were calling each other the "N" word back and forth. And, "What's up, man?" And, "Hey, man," and "Aw, man..." Like that, right? And so much so, that they weren't catching a breath in between using the "N" word. So as a stand up member of the community, a diversity trainer, a person out to make sure that our young people are engaged in positive activity, I said to myself, "If they say it one more time, I will say something."
Yeah. So guess what happened? They said it one more time. Now, I don't know about you, but I personally am not afraid of kids. Right? Because I can... But I do have a respect for young people, and I know sometimes they can get out of hand. Right? So I try to interact with everyone that I interact with in very positive ways. And so, I kind of garnered up my courage and because I said I was going to walk over there, I decided to follow through because something I want to follow through, right?
So I decided to follow through. So I walked over there and I kind of stand over there and I say, "Excuse me, would you guys mind not using the "N" word?" And they stopped, just stopped. And one of the bigger boys of the group kind of parts the group and he comes face to face to with me. And so, I kind of puff my chest a little bit and he puffs his chest a little bit. And I kind of lift my chin and he kind of lift his chin, and I kind of brace myself and he kind of leans a little bit because he was taller than I was.
I used to wrestle in high school so I know how to... I did restraints when I work in residential treatment centers so I know what to do, right? So I'm ready. And he looks over at me and he kind of clears his throat and he looks down at me and he says, "Yes, sir." Not quite what I was expecting. So he says, "Yes, sir," and he turns back around. So I mean, outside I was cool. All right, thank you. All right, good, good.
On the inside I was like, "Wow! We made a difference!" Right? And I wouldn't think that was amount. What was going on there? I mean, these are kids that folks would label them thugs or gangsters or be afraid of. And what did I do to those kids? Well, it's been made very clear to me that everybody needs direction and everybody has goals and desires. At the same time, everybody wants to be accountable to somebody for something.
Will those kids go off and use the "N" word in public and with each other? Probably. Will those kids think about their behavior out in the public? More than likely, they will. Did I change the world? No, I didn't change the world. However, what I did do was make them accountable for being a part of a community. I hear people say, "Well, we got to take back our communities, and we got to do this to our communities and snatch these back from other folks."
No, all we really have to do is have standards on our community. We have to stand up and say these are things that are not acceptable and these are things that are acceptable, and we can be in this together. Could I preach to those kids? Yeah, I could preach to them. "That word is a bad word. Don't use that word, blah, blah, blah." But no, I didn't choose to go that route because priest speech, so forth and so on.
But what I did say to them was that I have some standards, and I respect you and I want you to respect me, too. So what is it that you stand for?
Andre's purpose is to reconnect people to their Dignity and Honor in Being Human.