…because some thoughts are worth remembering
“A fish is the last to discover water” is the saying Sue Decker, ex-president of Yahoo, included in her response to the Ellen Pao trial. “It’s hard to see a new paradigm when people are immersed in the one they know,” she wrote about dynamics between women and men in business.
It applies equally to racism, where if you hadn’t experienced it, you would need to define the word (as I was asked when I wrote about white privilege and racism by a Caucasian Dane, with a followup post here). The tradition is purely ethnically Danish, and the population has been uniformly Caucasian until recently, but the country is wealthy and its citizens well-educated (and often, well-traveled). There are more Muslims in the world than Christians. There are more non-Caucasians than Caucasians. Yet the political and economic powers in each country create a dominant paradigm that doesn’t represent these non-minorities, reducing them to act as minorities.
It is still astounding for me to think about sexism when women are not the minority in the world, but we are in the executive levels of corporations and governments.
One thing going for feminism is that men (the fish) are starting to discover that the existing paradigm is hurting the people they care about: their wives, girlfriends, mothers and daughters, and starting to advocate for women. “Why I Failed to Advocate for Women” is a refreshing take on the topic. After all, feminism and sexism is not an issue for women as much as it’s an issue for humanity, just as racism isn’t about a particular skin tone but an issue for humanity as well.
I haven’t processed it beyond that, so I’m going to keep the fish quote in mind and enabling the next paradigm shift.
Photo: Street art in Montreal, Canada