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13 Examples With One Thing In Common: Power Imbalance

Sexually harassed by an investor. Abused by the President on Twitter. How do you use your power?

A white man walking down the street subconsciously expects the black woman approaching him to make way for him. She does.

A manager tells his employee to attend the meeting he’s about to skip to hit the gym. The employee skips lunch to attend the meeting.

A rich man offers cash to authorities after killing a man due to DUI. He gets away with just three years in jail.

A mid level manager in Android wants to meet with a senior exec at a chip supplier. The senior exec makes a transatlantic trip to the meeting.

Immigration officers talk football while keeping a passenger at the airport waiting. The passenger misses his connecting flight home.

After a long day, the wife sits on the sofa for respite. The husband takes the opportunity to initiate sex. She goes with the flow.

A police officer stops a brown lawful citizen in the middle of the road for papers. The brown man feels helpless.

A reputable male CEO asks a woman (first time) founder for a hug when she’s meeting him to seek advice on her startup. Odd, but she obliges.

A woman raising funds for her startup is invited to a party to pitch to potential angel investors. She ends up pitching to drunks who won’t remember anything she had to say.

A woman VC asks a woman founder to show up for a meeting and then tells her she only has time to talk while riding Uber to her next appointment. The founder talks fast in the Uber to get her idea across.

A massive social network copies features from other smaller successful social networks. The massive network beats the smaller ones at their game.

A billionaire talks openly about grabbing women’s pussies and calls people names. He goes on to become President of the so-called free world.

Investors make inappropriate advances towards women entrepreneurs raising money. They get away with it for years until finally exposed.

All the examples above are real incidents that involved a power play of some kind or the other. Some subconscious, some more deliberate.

In all the chatter about sexual harassment by prominent investors in Silicon Valley and the abuse doled out by Trump to prominent media hosts, there is rage. A lot of it. Rightfully so. These are disgusting and must never happen.

In all the rage about recent events, we’re missing the collective fundamental cause of it all — power imbalance.

Power is an inevitable aspect of life. We need it. A lot has been written about how the lack of authority and power can lead to chaos. This is true. But with power imbalance comes misuse of it.

It’s 2017. And we haven’t figured out how to deal with the perils of power imbalance. It isn’t just about sexism or racism or any other ism. It really comes down to just how we want to use the power we have.

Being a man, being white, being a government official, being an investor, being an employer, being a boss, being rich — all of this leads to power of some kind. Some are inherent, while others are acquired. But, in all cases, the key missing ingredient is self awareness of the power we have.

We often forget that many of us possess power of some kind on someone or the other. How self-aware are we about it?

It’s a shame that resourceful people, instead of leading this awareness, are practicing power plays, preying on people who need them!

It is this awareness that we need to learn and teach every human being to elevate ourselves and make this world a better place to live in.

Unless we bring this change, it’ll be 2057 and we’ll still be discussing sexist and racist behaviors just as we are today!

Wait, you’re the reader. You possess power on me, the writer. I write so you will read. Don’t forget I depend on you to hit that heart below so others can read!



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Vidya Narayanan

Building Rizzle (, the future of video! In past life (@Google, @Qualcomm), I built stuff that you’ve likely used!