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.
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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...
This was a Question and Answer session we conducted after a Diversity Keynote
What motivates people? Motivation is the reason why we do what we do. So how can we motivate ourselves to do what needs to be done.
Andre's purpose is to reconnect people to their Dignity and Honor in Being Human.