This is the end of a great summer. My kids turned 5 and 2 in 2019. Suddenly they behave more like kids and less like cute little devils. It means more time for my wife and I to enjoy new things. I decided to listen to new podcasts and new audiobooks. On purpose I listened to things I never pay attention to. And wow. Just wow… that reminded me how important it is to continue to expand your horizon, and learn from places you do not expect to discover much.
In the process 2 big questions surfaced:
- Would you prefer to do good or do well?
- In a company of 10,000 employees, would you prefer to see 2,000 Black workers or the top 5 leaders being Black.
Both questions force people to choose. In both cases, most people would want to say, I want both. I personally want both. The question is about which one you want more.
Let explore the questions:
- Would you prefer to do good or to do well. It is implied that you can either have a good career/personal life or have a positive impact on your professional/personal life. Not everybody will believe that you can not have both. Well, I hope they can keep that line of thinking forever. For the others, the realists, what would you choose? I want to stop in their track, people who chose “do well” most of their life, and when they have millions in the bank account, say “do good”. That is too easy. Not saying this is wrong, and not saying that I may not do this… But it feels too easy. A great comparison are wealthy Americans who evade taxes most of their life and eventually make a huge donation to a hospital to open a new wing named after them. Most probably, if they had paid taxes their whole life, their contribution may have paid for the hospital wing. But of course, in the second option they do not get the recognition. At least they made a contribution. They could have burnt it all in Vegas.
- In a company of 10,000 employees, would you prefer to see 2,000 Black workers or the top 5 leaders being Black. The comparison coming to mind is from quote from Thomas Sankara “You need to choose between champagne for a few or water for all” . Ok, this is a bad analogy, because I really would hate on people choosing champagne for a few. But the idea is there. Do you believe the community will be better off long term with the establishment of an elite class to break the pattern, or that you should make as many people in the community win, even if initially the win is limited.
I could speak all night about the different options. These type of questions are on my mind a lot nowadays. Call it survivor remorse. I am frequently wondering if I am doing enough to help others from my community:
- Am I right to prioritize a great school for my children, over a diverse school?
- Am I right to contribute to my fancy neighborhood, or should have I sought a diverse neighborhood and make an impact there.
It is easy for me to think that I still need to climb higher, and then I can fully unleash my community. I feel this is true, but is it right? and is it the most powerful solution to spark change? More questions than I have answers for. But blogging, I realize that having the question top of mind is what matters most. I will find a solution to do right by my family, my community and for myself. Oh, if you have the magic answer… Comment below.
Claude, Wow, you’ve nailed this. One of the most powerful pieces I’ve read of yours. My view is that by talking about these things, being aware and encouraging others to do the same, more folk will be conscious of the inequality that still exists and is for all of us to challenge and change. Conscious bias is very interesting to think about. I just wish that more folk would open their minds instead of coming up with excuses for the way the world is. Keep on keeping on. Debbie
Thanks! Love your perspective on this. I’ll keep writing on it, and will love for more people to comment and share like you do.
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