Net Neutrality: blah, blah, blah…

You’ve been hearing the term “Net Neutrality” for a while now. You sort of know it’s about keeping open access to the internet, for all. But you haven’t looked into the boring details because other people are taking care of that for you. Now… TODAY… is the time to change that.

The FCC is rolling back the Net Neutrality protections put in place during the Obama administration. Today is the day where the internet comes together to stop them. If we don’t, big cable companies (in other words, your internet providers) will control what we see and do online. Widespread throttling, blocking, censorship, and extra fees will follow.

What this will mean in the real world is an internet that ever-more-closely mirrors the extreme stratification we see offline. Small nonprofits won’t be able to get their messages out to donors and clients. Social justice activists will no longer have a level playing field to get the word out. And you–as a customer–will pay more money for an internet that is measurably worse than the one you have now.

So what can you do?

1) Take a few minutes today to really understand what we’re facing.

  • Watch and share the explainer video below
  • Visit Battle for the Net (if you don’t want to sign up for their list, just scroll down the page for tips)
  • spread the word on social media

2) Let Congress know that this FCC rule matters to you.

Standing on Hillary’s Shoulders

Hillary's Shoulders

Moses never made it to the Promise Land, but he led thousands of others across the dessert to reach there.

Susan B. never got to cast a legal ballot, but she paved the way for millions of other women to do so.

Martin never saw his dream fulfilled, but because of him Barack Obama became POTUS.

Hillary will never be president, but she has made it probable–not merely possible–for another woman to make it.

Each of us stands on the shoulders of giants. Thank you, Hillary Clinton, for boosting us so high on your shoulders.  You are battered, but not broken. You were beaten up, but never gave up.  And I’m #StillForHill.

“You can tell me what’s right
You can say that I’m wrong
You can tell me I’m weak
So you can think that you’re strong

But you can’t take my soul
Or the gifts I’ve been given
I’mma go down, go down
Go down singing”

— From Go Down Singing by Theo Katzman, Tyler Duncan, and Michelle Chamuel

 

How’s Your Cultural Competence?

 

Cultural competence helps in herding cats.

We’re all in this together.

My friend Milly jokes, “You’re the last white person I’m educating.” She’s referring to her role in developing my cultural competence. While this is funny, consider the serious issues that underlie her statement. Many people like me, who grow up white and privileged, make assumptions based on our own experience, or the lack thereof.

By “privileged” I don’t mean wealthy. I mean being able to walk into an expensive shop without worrying that the clerk will think you’re shoplifting. Or being able to assume your teenage son can come and go without being shot by police. People of color, on the other hand, don’t have this kind of privilege. Many grow up navigating two different worlds, the world of white privilege and the world of their less privileged, direct experience. They understand our world better than we understand theirs. This is a major handicap if we are unconscious of our privilege.

People of privilege sometimes make assumptions, attribute motivations, or come to conclusions that are inaccurate and possibly detrimental to our teams, projects, and organizations. I was lucky. I worked with people like Milly, who took the time to talk openly with me about issues of race, class, and privilege.

What’s more, we both worked in an organization–the Girl Scouts–whose leaders had the courage to offer safe, structured spaces for this kind of talk to take place. It was the early 1980s, when few workplaces made cultural competence a priority. We didn’t always get it right, and not everyone was on board, but many of us made an honest effort. It paid off for me, not just professionally, but in all aspects of my life.

Make it a point to educate yourself about how best to operate in today’s multicultural workforce. Whatever your racial, ethnic or cultural background, cultivate colleagues who can help you become a more effective teammate and manager by creating a work environment that values diversity. Cultural competence is no longer a skill that is nice to have. It is an attribute that is essential for success in a global economy, even if you never travel beyond the place you were born.