Farnaz on Uncategorized
I was thinking about the spirit of 4th of July celebration this past weekend. An American holiday to commemorate declaration of independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain that was made on July 4, 1776. To me, it represents spirit’s deep desire for freedom and self-expression. I love Benjamin Franklin’s quote, “Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”
I took some time to reflect on what all this means in the multicultural society that we live in, where “we” is getting trickier to define in terms of race, ethnicity and collective identity. Is it “freedom of,” “freedom from,” or “freedom to”? It’s certainly not about every man, woman, and child for himself or herself. But it is the right to think, believe, value, speak, worship, and behave….freedom to choose….so long as it does not infringe on another person’s freedom. It is a shared value, securing to everyone an equal opportunity for life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
In a multicultural society, this typically means both celebrating the uniqueness of each culture and navigating relationships with cultural differences. I think multiculturalism should neither be a demand for special rights for minorities, nor a threat to protecting one’s own cultural identity and safety. It is a phenomenon of resolving differences and building on commonalities based on values of freedom, trust, respect, equality, dignity, open mindedness and mutual happiness.
Shared values are much more important in any relationship than skin color or demographics. Good, happy relationships – personal and professional – have a lot in common across all cultures, and challenges are all the same as well. To read the full article on how to make multi-and-cross-cultural relationships work, click here.
Atlanta (June 29, 2011) – Walk through the mall, a school or a business office today, and in nearly any city in the country, it will be obvious that “we” is getting trickier to define in terms of race, ethnicity and collective identity. Within relationships, cross-cultural is becoming the norm rather than the exception. This shift from a similar-looking status quo to one that incorporates a plethora of faces, has been referred to as “multiculturalism,” and this typically means both celebrating the uniqueness of each culture and navigating relationships with cultural differences. That might sound nice in an employee handbook, but what does it mean at the bank, at a PTA meeting, on a date or even at a wedding?
Farnaz Wallace, Founder of Farnaz Global and expert in multiculturalism and social and cultural change, has developed strategies and frameworks to help people and organizations find success in forming relationships across all kinds of cultural boundaries. “Multiculturalism should neither be a demand for special rights for minorities, nor a threat to protecting one’s own cultural identity and safety,” she says. “It is a phenomenon of resolving differences and building on commonalities based on values of trust, freedom, respect, equality, justice, dignity, open mindedness and mutual happiness.” (more…)
This is not just a woo-woo statement. It’s really true and proven over and over again. I hear people say they want a relationship, want to be married, have children…or stay single and enjoy the freedom…but when they get what they want, they are not happy or satisfied. I hear, see and experience companies and CEOs with aggressive growth plans wanting a strong candidate for a radical change, but when they see or get one, they are intimidated and revert back into protecting the traditional orthodoxies. We say we want this or that, but do we really understand the trade-offs for the benefits we desire? Are we ready for it?
Beliefs are important; they behoove us to guard our thoughts and actions. And they can change by the things we observe, experience and pay attention to. I read a study by Time magazine a while back which indicated that as women have gained more freedom, more education, more economic power, they have become less happy. Integrating the modern lifestyle with traditional visions of family life and relationships – something has to give, right? Women’s movement say it’s no longer a man’s world, but should it be a woman’s world? This study reported that more than two-thirds of women still think men resent powerful women, yet women are more likely than men to say female bosses are harder to work for than male ones (45%W, 29%M). What type of women’s movement are we having?
Men & women of all races and ages largely agree on life goals. Perhaps it’s a shared reality that should be under constant evaluation, and is gender and color neutral. We can’t always try to fit into social and cultural norms, because the template of happiness and success is constantly changing – and it is very unique and personal to each individual.
Heidi Grant points out to studies showing that when people “feel” they were rushed while deciding, they regret the decisions they make even when they turn out well. I agree, but also think cultures create and drive behavior, then habits, then results. When we say we “want” something that is in conflict with the culture and behavior that is deeply rooted in our subconscious minds, we don’t generate the results we so desire. Mind is two-dimensional. Life is not. Can you really draw the footprint of the house from the inside? Be careful what to wish for, you will just get it. And then what??
For my loyal readers, I’ve posted a press release and a TV interview I had with a local Atlanta TV station last month. Click here to watch. It was fun!