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...
New Car Smell...Make that Change!!!
New Car SMell
Why is it so difficult to change? I said a New Year's resolution. I started a diet. I stuck to it. I started an exercise regimen. I was working on it. Why is it so difficult to change? One word, gravity. Now, I know. What does gravity have to do with change, right? Gravity is a scientific term. What does that have to do with my social well being or even philosophy for that matter? Gravity, gravity, gravity.
First of all, what is gravity? Gravity is a force that pulls. It's something that keeps us on the earth. Without gravity we would fly off into...float off into space, right? Gravity was discovered by Newton, the falling of the apple, all that kind of stuff, the force that pulls.
Now, one of the basic premises of gravity is this. Well, actually there's two and they're related, right? They counter balance each other. So gravity is a force that pulls. One of the basic premises of that concept of gravity is that the larger the mass of an object the stronger the pull and that larger objects pull on smaller objects. So, larger objects pull on smaller objects. So, the larger the object the stronger the pull, the smaller the object the smaller the pull. Gravity, right? That's the basic concept.
For example, if I'm flying out in space and there are two planets and one is just this huge planet and this other one's just this teeny, tiny little planet, which will my ship be drawn to? Based on the principles of gravity, it will go to the larger planet, right? It's almost automatic even though I've got thrusters and all this kind of stuff. So I will be drawn to that larger planet.
Back to the original question, why, oh why, oh why is it difficult to change? It's difficult to change because the old habits that we have are very similar to that large planet. They have a strong gravitational pull on us. We try to do things different, but that gravitational pull is so strong that we fire our jets, our engines and our space ship, and we try to go to this new planet. But when we run out of gas, we have to cut back. What happens? We float right back to that old behavior or those old habits or that old planet with the big gravity.
And so, a lot of us, we think positive. We're doing positive affirmations. We're doing all of these things, and our ship keeps floating back to this old way of being. So, Andre, what do we do? I mean, how do we change that? Well, one of the things we have to understand is that this is just a metaphor that I'm using and that in this metaphor... Well, let's just do this.
I'll tell you this story, right? I took my car in for service, and while I'm at the service place they say, well, why don't you test drive one of our cars? I'm like, no, no, no. I don't want to. I don't need to do that. And they're like, no, really, just test drive one of the cars. And so, while I'm waiting, I'm like, this seems like a great idea. So, I get in the car, and oh man, let me tell you.
I don't know if you've ever bought a new car or a car that's new to you, but they are absolutely ‑ I mean they lay it out, right? You sit in the seat and it's so comfortable. It is just amazing, right?
The ergonomics of the steering wheel and the shifter and all that kind of ‑ it just...ooh, feels good.
And it's clean. I mean just sparkling clean. The stereo works. There's no crackling. And it's like you've got like 30 million speakers surrounding you, like you're in Orchestra Hall and turn up the [sings] , all of that stuff.
You're sitting in the car like "ooh", and they even have their own fragrance. Yes. New cars have their own fragrance. And so you get in the car and you're like and then you're like "oh", and just peaceful. Where I go, they always have it turned to the classical station so it's like, [makes sound] . And it's feeling good and everything is clean and it's working and it's driving smooth and it's just oh...it's amazing. Absolutely amazing.
And then I return the car. Yes. Because my car's done, it's time for me to go home. I had my fantasy and all that kind of stuff.
So I just experienced this new car. I experienced the smells and the feeling and the sounds of this new car. And then I get in my Saturn. Now, mind you, I love my Saturn. Love it. But it's not new. Because when I turn on the stereo, like two of the speakers work but only if I turn the bass all the way down. Otherwise [makes deep sound] , so that's that.
And then, one of my...so, you know when you do the squirt for the windshield wipers, one of the things trickles a little bit but the other one squirts out gallons, like [makes swoosh sound] . So like, I'm filling that sucker up like every time it rains. And so there's that.
And, I have a bad habit of eating in my car, so there's...yeah, OK, so you can see that.
And so I'm a little dissatisfied with my Saturn. Great car. Great car. But I'm a little dissatisfied. What happened?
One of the things that car dealers know that you and I need to realize about ourselves is that when I have this planet of old behavior over here that gravity can take care of the rest of my decision‑making. I'm drawn to this because it's the largest piece.
And so what car dealers do for you and I when we go there is, they want to make that car so appealing, they want to make that new behavior, if you will, so beautiful, so colorful, that it tantalizes all of our senses so that we become dissatisfied with the old planet.
You see, one of the things that if we want to make a change and why it's so difficult is because we're not dissatisfied with this old planet. We're not dissatisfied with our old behaviors. When we start seeing the beauty of what these new behaviors have to offer, we get to see how big and vast this new planet can be ‑ of opportunities, of choices, of ways of living ‑ that we become dissatisfied with the old.
So, once I decide and I create a new attitude and I create new routines and habits and ways of thinking and seeing the world in a different way, I can't go back to that old planet. Even if I wanted to. Because now, gravity has kicked in. And so my ship starts to float towards this new behavior.
I just want to know, what planet are you going to be on?
I want to Eat
I want to eat
I'm starting to get a sense of how women feel sometimes when they go places, right? Because while I'm in this restaurant, I'm looking for signs of safety. I'm looking at the exits. I'm looking at who's in the restaurant and all this stuff. So, I walk into the restaurant, and I sit down at the bar. It's, I don't know, it's probably about 10:30 almost 11:00. I had a lot of errands to do, so I just thought I'd just run in and grab a bite to eat. And so, I'm sitting there and what I notice is there's a guy at the end of the bar, and this guy is drunk, I mean, just toasted, red nose, slurred speech, the whole nine. And it's not even noon yet.
So, I'm sitting there, and I notice this guy. I don't know about you, but I always have to aware of drunk people around me. So, I'm aware of this guy. And so, I'm sitting there and I get my menu and I'm looking at the menu and chit chatting with the bar staff and all this kind of stuff. I make my decision. I fold my menu. I give it to the bar staff.
In that short amount of time, the guy that was at the end of the bar is now sitting next to me. And so, I don't know how you are about drunk people, but I'm always aware of them. And so, in my processing there were two things that became real clear to me. One was that this place, he considers home because he's this drunk this early in the morning.
The second thing that occurred to me was that the bar staff, the people who work there know this dude because they wouldn't let him get this drunk otherwise. So, the dude's sitting next to me. We start talking about man stuff, scratching and spitting and we're men. And then, he breaks into the thousus of why he came to sit next to me.
He sits there and he looks over at me in the middle of our conversation. He says, "You know what? I don't like the "n" word." Now, he did not say the "n" word. He actually said that derogatory terms that many of your grandparents refer to as Brazil nuts, what they call Brazil nuts.
That's what he said, the "n" word, the derogatory word that people don't say. The word that white people get confused about because if they say it, it's bad and they think that when black people say it, it's cool or good. That word, the "n" word, the word you're not supposed to say. He says it to me in the bar.
And so, he says I don't like the "n" word. My first reaction is, what do I say to that? What a heck of an introduction. So, he's sitting there and he says I don't like the "n" word, and so I try to change the subject. I say, hey, let's talk about baseball. Let's talk about the team. And something in my spirit said, well, go back to that. Ask him some questions.
And so, I asked him some follow up questions. I said, well, when you talk about the "n" word as you describe those folks, how would you describe them? What would you say about those "n" folks? What do you really mean when you say the "n" word?
And he said, well, when I talk about the "n" word, I'm thinking ghetto, uneducated, illiterate, uncouth. So, he has this whole litany of bad things of what it means to be the "n" word.
And so, I asked him, do you know any white people who would fit that description that he gave, ghetto, uncouth, illiterate, blah, blah, blah, and he looks at me and he goes, yeah.
And so I say, how about baseball? Let's talk about baseball. And so, we start talking about baseball again and he leans over to me. And he says, you know what? I don't like the "n" word but I like you. This is one of those mixed compliments that I'm never quite sure what to do with. It's kind of like, in spite of the fact of what you are, I like you. So, I wasn't quite sure what to do with this. I'm like, what do you say to that?
And so, I just ask him a follow‑up question. I say, "Well, what is it about me that you like?" And he says to me, "Well, you are well spoken. You seem educated. You've got just a great personality." And so, he came up with another list of pretty good things about me.
And so, I turned to him and say, "Well, what if all of the people that you have met, that you described as that N word. What if all of those people that you've met were idiots? What if they were all idiots? And everybody else that you haven't met yet is just like me." And he looked and he turns to me and he looks and he says, "I got to pee." So, he stumbles out to the restroom and I'm great.
I'm so excited. I'm ready to go. I'm just like oh, yes, we're on a good note and that I can get out of here, right? Now, I don't know if this has ever happened to you but it certainly happened to me. Every time that I go to leave, there is not bar staff anywhere. There is no restaurant staff anywhere. And they are taking their time but I figured out the secret.
So, what I did was I took my keys out of my pocket and I jingle them and it is so funny, they seem to run like Pavlov's dog when they think I'm about to leave, right? So, I finally get the check and I'm excited. I'm about to leave and the guy is coming out of the bathroom at the same time. But there's something different about him, this particular time.
I mean I'm looking at him and he's got droplets of water on his face. He has his hair combed over and he just seems a little more sober. I mean it is just crazy. He was like... I almost had to ask myself, is this the same dude, right? So, he walks over to me and he has this damp paper towel. And he leans over to me and he says, "My name is Ron. If you ever need fresh eggs, give me a call."
Now what did you say to that, right? So, I take the towel and say, "Thank you, Ron. My name is Andre and hopefully, I will see you around." And I went my way and he went his way. Now, what do you think the lesson was in that story which is a true story, by the way? Yeah, often times, when we tell our folks that we would say our races or bigotry, we right them off.
I mean what I have been within my rights to give this guy a piece of my mind. You don't call me that and we are... And just gone after him with both barrels. Would I have been within my rights? Tons of people would say yes.
And in another situation, I might agree with that. However, had I gone off on that guy, had I given that guy a piece of my mind, what would have been the result? I would have confirmed every negative thing that he thought about people who hear things look like me.
So, I'm not asking you to do what I do. I'm not saying that you have to take things that are outside of yourself, that you have to put yourself at risk or not being respected. But what I will offer you and what I will challenge you is to oftentimes try and see what the lesson is. I don't know if I have changed that man's life forever. He may feel the same way. He may still use those words.
But one thing I do know is that the next time he goes to use that word, the next time he goes to interact with someone who he thinks looks just like me, he will think about the encounter that we had. It is my hope that he'll make better and different decisions. What do people say about your life in your encounters?
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Dipping in the Kool Aid...Nosy
We are so nosy! We're so nosy. I mean have you been in a traffic jam only because people were rubber necking and for those of you who don't know rubber necking is when somebody is looking at an accident while trying to drive, and the accident is some place else than where they are.
So they slow down and tie up traffic, yeah were so nosy. The whole soap opera industry, what is that stuff called now where you watch people live their lives, reality shows right. That is all about being nosy. We're such nosy people. I was reading a book, Jack Canfield's, Success Principals. And there was something that stuck, that spoke to me that took my attention and raptured my imagination and it was this one phrase. "That what other people think about you is none of your business." Wow! We're so nosy.
What other people think about you or how they feel about you has nothing to do with you. It's what they think, it's what they feel. The most important thing is what you think about yourself, and what you know about yourself. Because let people talk. The only things that will hurt you are the things you accept as truths about you.
On this day I encourage you to not be so nosy.
We will get there...
This the Best Auto-tune I have ever heard. This speech was give the night before his death. King helped to raise the heart and should of a nation. He was a man a head of the his time. It is good to know that he dreamed but we are awake. Let us become God's hands in the Earth and create a live that call to the best in all of us.
Andre's purpose is to reconnect people to their Dignity and Honor in Being Human.