Poison Ivy Privilege, Revisited

In New England, where I live now, poison ivy is commonplace. But in the UK, where I grew up, there is none. So unlike many New Englanders, I didn’t grow up with regular exposure to poison ivy; nor did I grow up looking out for it, or being able to identify it with a “leavesContinue reading “Poison Ivy Privilege, Revisited”

Who’s In Your “Human Library”?

In her TEDx Talk “What Does My Headscarf Mean To You?“, mechanical engineer, writer and activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied notes that people are often surprised to learn that she designed race cars and ran her university’s racing team. They’re equally surprised to learn that she trained as a boxer for five years. Both break the stereotypeContinue reading “Who’s In Your “Human Library”?”

Workplace Empathy in the New Academic Year

If you have children of any age – or if you are a student or an educator yourself – the beginning of a new academic year always brings a new schedule, which itself brings new challenges, for the student and everyone else in your household. For many households, this is the first time a studentContinue reading “Workplace Empathy in the New Academic Year”

Using People-First Language for Dignity and Respect

Academia and business are different worlds, with different goals and day-to-day work. And yet, after working at Harvard for 15 years, I find that a lot of the work that resonates with clients most comes from the academic world. Recently I was reminded of the concept of “people-first language” by a Black student, who postedContinue reading “Using People-First Language for Dignity and Respect”

Using Optical Illusions to Challenge Our Biases

Are you familiar with the Ames Window Illusion? If not, you might want to take a few minutes to watch this recent video explaining the phenomenon, wherein a rotating trapezoid looks like it is instead wavering back and forth. This optical illusion, like so many others, tricks our brain into seeing something that isn’t accurate. But how does itContinue reading “Using Optical Illusions to Challenge Our Biases”

Racial Affinity Groups… for White People?

Are you aware of identity-based affinity groups in your workplace? Or in your faith community? Or other communities of which you’re a part? If you’re a person of color or a member of another marginalized community, the value of such a group may seem obvious to you – such groups can be a chance to engage withContinue reading “Racial Affinity Groups… for White People?”

Interrupting Muscle Memory

Where are you reading this email? In your designated workspace? On your phone while making breakfast? On your phone while hanging out with your kids? Sometimes the choices we make are conscious. But increasingly, they’re not. And the same things that make smartphones a revolutionary tool for the modern work world also make it harderContinue reading “Interrupting Muscle Memory”

Is Divisiveness Inevitable?

Have you ever found yourself showing support for something or someone, followed by backlash that makes you question your choice to show support in the first place? Even if you still have the same feeling of support, others’ responses might have shown you that the situation is much more complicated and nuanced than you’d previouslyContinue reading “Is Divisiveness Inevitable?”

The Social Identity Wheel

How do you describe yourself? What parts of your identity do you choose to include, and which do you miss out? More than likely, your answer depends on the context – you may answer differently on a dating app than in a job interview, both of which are very different from how you think aboutContinue reading “The Social Identity Wheel”

Outsmarting Our Own Human Biases

A new UK study suggests that working from home could lead to an increase in racism and other forms of prejudice. The study suggests that these workplace friendships are a key to breaking down misconceptions in our thinking, and building our own understanding of community. Siloed and isolated as many of us are in our home workspaces, weContinue reading “Outsmarting Our Own Human Biases”