Conservative Outreach, ‘Traffic Stop’ & Mental Health at Work

Reaching Out to the Right by Jeremy Bauer-Wolf

In the hopes that their institutions don’t become echo chambers of one-sided political thought, university presidents are reaching across the gap and meeting with their conservative students. Some presidents are finding the move helps rebuild the relationship between these students and their institutions. It might even help avoid another situation where conservative students invite overly controversial speakers (Miles Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter, for instance) just to feel like they are being heard. Jonathan Veitch, president of Occidental College, found that when he sat down to talk to his conservative students, they were more libertarians than traditional conservatives, and he assigned them some required reading on conservative thought. He hopes to work with them to invite more respectable conservative speakers to campus. Claire E. Sterk, president of Emory University, talked to her students about how to navigate conflict during a debate. She says, “It’s OK for us to disagree; it doesn’t mean we don’t have to respect each other… And just because you have a difference in one domain, doesn’t mean you can’t connect. It’s really stimulating, that kind of engagement.”

A routine police stop quickly turns perilous for a black man in this Emmy®-winning short, from Aeon

In the Emmy Award-winning short film Traffic Stop, a Black man raised by white parents encounters police brutality for the first time. Having grown up in a predominantly white world, Alex Landau was, at the time, unaware of the harsh realities of being a Black man in the United Stateshis family embraced somewhat of a color-blind approach to race. So when he is pulled over with his white friend for an illegal left turn, and his friend is handcuffed for weed possession, he unwittingly asks the police for a warrant. In response, the police beat up Alex to the point of almost killing him. Alex’s mother, Patsy Hathaway, says that she didn’t fully understand why skin color mattered before the incident. Now both Alex and his mother have a different understanding of race in this country. Alex reflects, “I was just another black face in the street, and I was almost another dead black male.”

What I’ve Learned from Talking About My Bipolar Disorder at Work, by Rhoda Meek from Harvard Business Review

Surveys show that while almost no one feels comfortable discussing mental health in the workplace, 15% of people experience mental health problems while at work. Rhoda Meek, who has bipolar disorder, reflects on why it is so hard for her to be open about her mental illness: She’s afraid of being seen as a weak leader, of people assuming her decisions are because of her meds, of people doubting her ability, or judging her for her mental condition, and of letting her colleagues down. One time at work, she was too afraid to share that she had changed meds and ended up making her colleagues work longer hours in the process, “My self-image had ceased to be based on real things like data, my track record, or the feedback I received. I was starting from perceptions, not facts.” After a number of negative experiences, Meek realized there was another way to be a leader among her colleagues—“a more empathetic way.” Today, she allows herself to take the time off that she would tell a member of her team to take, lets her team know that while she may be offline unexpectedly, she will always appoint someone to cover her, and finally, to “tell everyone why.”

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