RACE: The Discussion must be Color Brave not Color Blind

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Who is Mellody Hobson?

Mellody Hobson is president of Ariel Investments located in Chicago, Illinois; a value-driven money management firm and an advocate for financial literacy and investor education. It specializes in small and mid-capitalized stocks based in the United States with $16.8 billion in assets.

Through former Mayor Daley’s New School Initiative Program, Ariel Investments was awarded a corporate sponsorship of a Chicago public school in 1996; hence, the birth of Ariel Community Academy – a public school located on the Southside of Chicago.

In June 2013, Hobson married George Lucas, filmmaker and owner of Lucasfilm that was sold to Walt Disney in 2012. The couple welcomed a daughter, Everest Hobson Lucas, who was born via gestational surrogate, to the world.

Color bravery, originally introduced by financial executive Mellody Hobson in a 2014 TED Talks, means being realistic about race issues in our country and addressing them directly rather than pretending they don’t exist.

There is a tendency toward something researchers call color-blindness, which describes a learned behavior where we pretend to not notice race.

Hobson says, “In my view, that doesn’t mean there’s fairness.

“We can’t be color blind, we have to be color brave.”

Being color brave means having candid conversations about race that can help us better understand each other’s perspectives and experiences so that we can make better decisions and secure better prospects for future generations.

“We have to be willing to have proactive conversations
about race with honesty and understanding and
courage – not because it’s the right thing to do, but
because it’s the smart thing to do.”
– Mellody Hobson, President of Ariel Investments

What Does it Mean to be Color Brave?

Being color brave means having candid conversations about race that can help us better understand each other’s perspectives and experiences so that we can make better decisions and secure better prospects for future generations.

Learning about others’ experiences and perspectives is at the heart of our ability to build authentic relationships. It helps increase our cultural dexterity so we can better work across differences and support each other’s success. Acknowledging and discussing race is a first step to developing and sustaining an inclusive culture.

Be Self-Aware – Ask Yourself

• Who is in my circle and who isn’t?
• What are my potential blind spots?
• What can I do to build trust with others who are different from me?
• What can I do to broaden my perspective?

Be curious. Ask others about their experiences. Demonstrate genuine interest in learning about other races and cultures and connecting with people as individuals. Expand your circles to expand your perspective.

Be bold. See things through a different cultural lens by trying something new. Attend a festival or cultural event. Participate in a diversity activity. Small actions can have a big impact. Continually challenge yourself to step outside of your comfort zone.

Be forgiving. We all make mistakes, so assume positive intent. Forgive someone who doesn’t “get it right.” Help them understand your point of view. Look at difficult conversations as a way to grow and build stronger relationships.

Please enjoy this Self Reflection quiz in this guide that takes only 15 minutes offering you a wealth of Self Awareness.

Being Color Brave – Discussion Guide pdf

Think About It

This discussion guide can be used in large and small group meetings and events to generate dialogue and self-awareness on ways to become more color brave.

Self-awareness is an essential trait of a great leader.

By knowing your own values, personality, needs, habits, emotions and understanding how they affect your actions and the actions of others, you’ll be better able to manage personal stress levels, make better decisions and ultimately lead by example for others to do the same.

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