Written by Lt. Gen. James C. “Jim” Slife, Commander, Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Florida
It's all about "diversity of thought"...or is it?
In this episode of AFSOC Unfiltered, Lt Col Chivis and I cover a broad waterfront: the "onion of identity"; diversity of thought; being the only XXX in the room; representing an entire category of people. As I reviewed this episode, I found myself laughing out loud at several points. In addition to being a great officer, Lt Col Chivis is a heck of a fun guy to be around!
Listen and watch here.
In this episode, we reach a point where he and I just have a different set of experiences and each clearly views the world through the lens of his own experiences. I see a green triangle; he sees a yellow square. I suppose it's human nature to want to categorize things as "right" and "wrong" but in this case, I think they're just different. While I can't see the world through Myron's eyes, I trust him enough to believe that what he tells me he sees is an actual thing. It's a fascinating discussion, even if it's a bit disquieting to realize that perhaps there's another world out there and I'm simply oblivious.
We also learn about the value of "seeing yourself" in others. I've lived a life where I never had to wonder what limitations society would put on me because of my gender or the color of my skin. What I've found is this is not a universal experience. Lt Col Chivis busts me up when he recalls seeing a Black astronaut..."An astronaut? Really? We do that?"
We're nearing the end of this series of discussions on race, but I'm still listening and learning in order to be a better leader. I hope others are benefiting from these conversations as well.