Boxes and Ladders: Getting in touch with my either/or thinking habit

Chapter 37 of Waking Up White: and finding myself in the story of RACE by Debbie Irving

Pick a six-hour period in which you commit to noticing your tendency to box or rank a person or idea. Make a note about each incident, be it a person on the bus, a family member, a colleague, or a person in the media. At the end of your observation period, explore one incident in which you boxed and ranked a person with whom you were interacting. Does your conscious mind agree with your initial judgment? What, if anything, so you think you could have learned had you replaced judgment with curiosity in that situation?

“Boxing and ranking the mess of humanity…provides a kind of order. … But trying to cram the complexity of humanity into either/or and better/worse categories had robbed me time and again of connecting with and learning from fellow human beings.”

“The ingredient that takes the natural human inclination to sort, and adds to it the need to rank, is power.”

“…the borderlands where people from different cultures come together to understand their connection to a shared social system…” is where real relationships and learning take place.

If you would like to join me as I blog about my experiences with race, please read the book. It was life changing for me.

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