Did you know that there are 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 possible variations to solving the rubik cube. That is 43 quitllion, 252 quadrillion, 3 trillion, 274 billion, 489 million+ variations. (source: www.metacafe.com) These numbers can only be calculated by a super computer, in n-dimensional hyperspace. In other words, the human mind cannot possibly comprehend or grasp the vastness of that challenge.
I believe the same is true of the complex challenges we face when trying to crack or remove the glass ceiling for diverse groups. There are just as many variables. One of the variables that is not given enough attention on our Diversity & Inclusion journey are the glass walls we raise within and between groups. We cannot focus our energy fully on the glass ceiling because we are too busy exercising our attitudes and beliefs towards people in other groups and people in our own group.
It is an open secret that when a woman gets promoted it is often other women who criticize her and question how she got there; perhaps going so far as to say “I don’t like to report to a woman”. It is perhaps not so well understood that that same phenomena, known as “internalized oppression” is alive and not well in all groups. African Americans, Latinos, Asians, and GLBT all have their own version of this exclusionary behavior. Whether the argument is about the color line or the use of derogatory self deprecating language within the group, all of these factors serve to keep us focused horizontally and not vertically. We are collectively, and albeit unconsciously, colluding in a process that prevents us making more progress. As Willie Lynch told the slave-owners 300 years ago “turn them against themselves and you will have control of them for years to come”.
Human Facets consultants have expertise in addressing this complex phenomenon. If you are interested in discussing this further please contact me at the email address listed below. I believe passionately that this is the next frontier. Join me in overcoming it.