Diversity and Inclusion
This book will help you have difficult and bolder conversations, confront uncomfortable truths and not be afraid to talk about race as long as you’re willing to learn.
Rather than trying to turn us into perfect, fully woke people, The Person You Mean to Be treats us as falliable human beings. Even though you’ll need to confront some uncomfortable truths as you read through it, this book offers hope that we can always be better. It feels very relevant for the time we’re in now.
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🔥 The hot take
Most of us want to be “a good person”. But when we get so focused on being good and stop accepting that we make mistakes along the way, we set ourselves up for failure. We walk on eggshells, terrified of saying or doing the wrong thing. When you don’t take risks or make mistakes, you won’t learn.
No one’s perfect. Even good people have bias and screw up sometimes. But we all have the capacity to learn and become better. Instead of getting hung up on being a good person, Chugh argues we should focus on being good-ish. And, in fact, our mistakes make us better people (provided we have a growth mindset).
Instead of having a fixed mindset that says “I am not a racist” (or similar) and gets defensive at any criticism, acknowledge that you’re fallible and a work in progress. The book gives practical tips to listen to your growth mindset voice. When you say the wrong thing, instead of getting defensive or apologising or bailing out, you can simply say, “That wasn’t my intention. Would you be willing to tell me what I did wrong?”
Chugh reminds us that our unconscious biases usually don’t align with our conscious beliefs. But this doesn’t make us bad people. The Person You Mean to Be shows us how biases show up in our behaviours and reminds us that they can be corrected.
You’re encouraged to self-reflect throughout the book. Rather than bristle when someone suggests that you have privilege, Chugh suggests you think about how “tailwinds” have propelled you forward in life. And make an effort to find out how “crosswinds” have held you and others back.
We constantly have the chance to make new connections and learn from others and our mistakes, through social media, everyday conversations, and any old day at the office. This book gives meaningful tips, examples and reassurance as we “stumble upwards” to be good-ish people.
🗺️ Where this book will take you
🔧 What this book wants you to do differently
⚡ The must-discuss parts
Nice people still play a part in racism. People who aren’t typical racists still play a role in systems that preserve and perpetuate racism.
Good intentions can be counterproductive. Have you tried engaged in saviour mode, sympathy mode, tolerance or typecasting? These good intentions do more harm than good.
Beware of the dangers of generalization. Women may be lumped into the same group. But a white woman’s experiences won’t be the same as those of a woman of color. Don’t assume the whole group looks and thinks the same, and has the same lived experience.
Seek out different points of view. Too often we dismiss other perspectives that don’t match the dominant perspective.
🛒 Where to buy
UK customers can buy the book here.
U.S customers can buy the book here.
This book review was first published in the Inclusion Works Leaders Network – a digital community for D&I leaders to swap challenges and ideas. If you have views you’d like to discuss,
This resource was taken from our Inclusion Works programme, which was created with a network of more than +100 diverse contributors and advisers. We learn from, amplify and cite creators of different races, ethnicities, genders and cognitive styles and continually work to represent all dimensions of diversity.
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