One of the coolest things I remember from college was finding a really interesting article or short story that someone has slipped under the door of my dorm room. A scribbled note might say “Thought you would like this.” Or “Would you please read this and give me your opinion?” It might be a wild idea about the world or a piece of literature that a friend needed help interpreting. I always took it as a compliment. “This person thinks I’m smart and analytical.”
Today’s version of that would be sending a link to an article. And, when it seems to be tailored to you, like someone really knows what you are about—it feels great. Especially when it sparks a conversation about ideas and challenges you at the same time.
Food for Thought: The Hypocrisy of White Liberals
Marc Simms sent this link to me about “The Hypocrisy of White Liberals.” It was a three minute clip of New York Times Magazine columnist Nikole Hannah-Jones on “Fair Housing and the hypocrisy of White Liberals.”
Marc and I only met once in person when we were assigned the same classroom for a Black Star Youth Motivation speaking program in one of Chicago’s Public Schools. It was a good six or seven years ago, maybe even more. I remember thinking “are you allowed to say that?” as he shared mistakes he had made in his life. His message of motivation was “don’t do what I did.” I thought that he was brave to share what he identified as his bad decisions, as a way to guide the students to follow the right path. Then I talked about careers in Marketing. He had the most questions, stopping me to emphasize things and highlight connections for the high school students in the room.
How to Share Ideas to Spark Reflection
What I love about it is the way he shared it. The cover note said “I don’t mean any disrespect. Just food for thought.” And just in case I still might question intent (e.g. should I be defensive?) he followed it with three smiley face emoji’s. Perhaps he saw my recent article in the Illinois Diversity Council Newsletter (I flatter myself) on Practices to Move from Privilege to Allyship.
The idea of the clip is great food for thought: How do the ideals that we profess match our actions? And if they don’t align, how do we fix it? What a great discussion or impetus for personal reflection.
That brings me to another favorite college memory. Sitting at Kilroy’s (in Bloomington, IN) with a group of friends, in person, unplugged (only option then!) discussing big ideas and the meaning of life.
How do you open conversations about ideas with others? How do you build reflection into your connections with others?