Respectful Culture: Family, Fourth, and #MeToo Fireworks

By Karetta Hubbard, a founding partner of NewPoint Strategies, LLC. She has more than thirty years of consulting, writing, and lecturing experience in strategic management and organizational change, focusing on innovative approaches to Shared Cultural Wisdom in organizations, a core principle to the firm’s diversity practice.

Every summer our children and grandchildren visit us in Maine. This year our oldest daughter and her husband and their daughter joined us for the Fourth of July Birthday Bash for the United States. Steaks on the grill, salads, blueberry muffins, chocolate desserts were among our eating delights. Because it is Maine, we had obligatory lobster rolls at the Salt Cod Café under a white tent at the edge of the harbor, treating us to a water display of sparkling diamonds on the gentle waves and beyond into the wide-open ocean.

While enjoying the view, we reflected on what it means to be an American. Our discussion wandered from being grateful to enthusiastic, to enjoying quality education for most, but unfortunately not for everyone; to remarkable opportunities for those who work hard, and then discussed the advantages of Unearned Privilege: benefits accrued to a person, or groups of people by virtue of birth, social status, race, class, gender, married status, in fact any privilege not based on hard work or extra effort to deserve it, and the opportunity advantage for those who have the right skin color. (To read the article, click here. To listen to the podcast, click here.)

Then we googled some very funny comments about the current state of politics from Groucho Marx: “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies”, to Mark Twain, “Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it…..?”

We all agreed that we loved our country and our democracy despite its flaws, and that we are better off than most of the world. In fact, lucky to be here.

Politics soon became the center of our conversation. As in most families, we all have different points of views and agreeably put them forth, and then diplomatically disagree. The most interesting part of the conversation occurred when we discussed #MeToo and its impact on our social mores and interactions between the sexes. No real answers or conclusions, as Questions became stated as Opinions. Has #MeToo gone too far?

One answer, “there isn’t a differentiation between grievances. Everyone is painted with the same brush. Should we judge Harvey Weinstein’s alleged egregious misconduct the same as Senator Al Franken’s misbehavior (although not to minimize the woman’s responses)?

Followed other questions. Is the #MeToo spotlight reserved only for prominent men in entertainment, politics and the media? What about other industries where the same grievous conduct occurs?

Finally, are women better off now because of #MeToo? Or will it die out and nothing will really change? Can it be sustained and lead to real change in the workplace?

Our 14 year-old granddaughter concluded with, “My friends and I haven’t really discussed #MeToo, but it occurs to me that Pandora’s box has been opened for women, and since the one positive gift inside is Hope, my optimistic belief is that it doesn’t get closed any time soon.”

Let us know if your family ventured into political conversations and if you had discussions that you would like to share.

Top photo: Bigstock