“An organization is a system. It operates according to rules and standards as interpreted by humans through their behavior. In the absence of a rigorous, practical commitment to equality and inclusiveness, the biases of influential individuals dictate norms.”
I had a very difficult time trying to explain this to some people yesterday. Because the narrative of America includes a lot of “individualism” in the storyline, the tendency is for people to misunderstand or discount the power of systems. For instance, you cannot say “the system is racist” or “white racism” without someone saying, “But I’M not racist,” as though that somehow explains something. Pres. Obama had a lot of brilliant, powerful women in his circle. While that was great, it did not change the fact that the System is organized to keep brilliant, powerful women out of positions of power.
At the same time, I watch MSNBC and note the significant number of young women or all races and backgrounds, serving as “experts,” analysts, “former state department official,” head journalists at major news outlets and so on. When I was a kid, the very thought of that would have been laughable. There’s a lot of progress to feel good about but much farther to go, and Erika Hall has done a brilliant job of outlining the issues and barriers and challenges we now face.