Equality = Education & Freedom From Judgement
Updated: Jul 31, 2021
For me, equality begins with how you feel about yourself and this is a source of great leadership.
(Listen to the Podcast on this topic: link)
We often see inequality as a problem with other people. It’s not just others we need to consider, we need to look at ourselves, as well. We are going to look at both sides of the same coin in this article; equality with people around us as well as within ourselves.
There are times when we see or experience inequality (racism, gender, sexual orientation, financial, socioeconomic, within intelligence) and we become enraged. It incites anger and frustration, especially when it is connected to who we are in some way. We become baffled by how something so obvious to us, is so misunderstood by others around us. This is often rooted in other’s ignorance in either (1) a lack of knowledge and/or (2) a compromised sense of themselves.
When we encounter an inequality rooted in ignorance it could be a situation where the person truly doesn’t know any better. They might have never been exposed to this area or thing that you hold value in. This isn’t an excuse for them to act in hurtful ways, rather it is an opportunity for those who know better to become the teacher. What does it mean to become a teacher?
Is it telling them how wrong or bad they are for being ignorant?
Is it judging them for how they have been harming others with their ignorance?
Is it directing the person to materials to read and telling them to educate themselves?
INFED, an independent not for profit organization who focuses on education, community-building and change, defines teaching as:
The process of attending to people’s needs, experiences and feelings, and intervening so that they learn particular things, and go beyond the given.
This is a beautiful opportunity for us, as the teacher, to understand the person better. Where is the education needed for them, where is their gap? How was this gap created? To be effective teachers we need to understand the experiences that led up to that person’s ignorance. Once this is known, we identify the knowledge we can impart to fill their gap. With this we can then enact positive and sustained change for that person and for others around them.
Ignorance can also be rooted in a compromised sense of self. We often seek to understand our place in this world by asking the question, “Are we good enough?“. We want to feel successful, happy, beautiful, wealthy, strong, smart, etc. The mechanism we often use is to compare ourselves to others. We use this to determine if we are all of those things, or at least better than those around is. This mechanism is a delusion and it creates judgement. When we feel that we compare better than someone else, we feel superior. When we don’t feel we compare better, we become irritated, frustrated, angry. All of this comparison is based on our own sense of self and the need to be better than those around us. An inequality happens when someone is judged to be superior/better than someone else. This is a process that can be stopped, we can stop judging people —> comparing them against ourselves. We can make the conscious decision to acknowledge that everyone’s race, gender, sexual orientation, financial & socioeconomic status, intelligence level is unique and special to them. There is no reason to compare each other in this way, rather an opportunity to understand our uniqueness to create stronger relationships and communities.
When we see inequality, our greatest opportunity is to become a teacher and embrace each other and our differences. When you see or feel an inequality, look inside to discover what you can do about it. Be a leader and create a community of equality with your employees, coworkers, friends, family and strangers.
As a company, IONIS Leadership Development & Coaching supports all clients with this philosophy and assists with imbedding it into the company's culture.