I try very hard to raise my kids in a way that fosters a world view of equality, tolerance, happiness and positivity. I admit that sometimes I suck at it because of my own insecurities or internal stress, but from time to time I think I get it right.
I like to think the world around me is moving in a direction that is supportive of this intent to establish a fair and equal perspective. Once in a while I come across people and ideas that support my theory, which makes me feel good about the world. Last week was one of those experiences.
I recently met Elizabeth Gore, whose company is called Alice (HelloAlice.com). I was taken by a concept she refers to as “The New Majority,” which refers to the fact that if you add up what were formerly called minorities in the workforce, including women and people with different ethnic backgrounds, you end up with a sum total new majority of people who are shaping the world of business.
This idea is important because it supports the fact that the business world should -- and has to -- change. The old boys’ network is rapidly deteriorating in favor of rewarding all people in all jobs equally. It may only be at the beginning of the process, but it is a process that is certainly underway. Issues of fair and equal pay, fair and equal working conditions, and unacceptable behavior in the workplace are all being addressed in most major companies, with changes for the better.
I bring up my boys because I find them reaching an age where they ask questions. They saw a sticker on the bumper of a car outside our house which read “Fight Racism.” They watched “American Idol” and saw contestants talking about coming out and being gay, along with suicide and mental health issues.
So they asked questions like “Dad, what is racism?” “Dad, what is gay?” My wife and I agree that we should always speak openly with our kids, so we answer their questions and help them understand that racism and intolerance are wrong.
In having this conversation, I am reminded that kids are not born to treat people unfairly. They are taught to do so by what was historically viewed as the majority opinion. That is no longer the case.
Some people are afraid of losing their position in the “majority.” I am not — and I don’t want my kids to be, either. They should embrace diversity and respect everyone, regardless of race, sex, state of mind and any of the other defining characteristics that make us all people.
I worry that just by having to explain things like racism and inequality, I am opening the door for them to consider these points of view. I also wish I did not have to explain things I consider to be fundamentally wrong.
That being said, I hope that by addressing these things in an open and honest way, we set the stage for them to have the open, honest and equal perspective for everyone.
I decided to write this post because I applaud the fact that people are talking about a new majority — and that shows like “American Idol,” which I never would have considered to be anything other than entertainment, are forcing me to have conversations with my kids that help improve their positive view of the people in the world.
I still can’t let my kids watch the news, but maybe other media can be a force for good, actually helping our kids with a positive future.
And bravo to companies like Alice trying to help support the growth of companies that are led by this new majority. I hope more companies and groups can take up the cause and help create a better world for our kids.