The Best Response Ever About Why Guilt and Shame Don’t Work

This Facebook Live video by Brené Brown, “We need to keep talking about Charlottesville,” posted August 15, might be the best thing I’ve ever come across on how to combat oppressive language without heaping guilt and shame on the other person, building bridges instead. I’d known her name but not her work. This video made me a fan. Strongly recommended.

She has an unusual perspective: a white anti-racist raised in the South, often mistaken for black by people who hadn’t met her, on the basis of her full legal name.

Can we create a world where these girls will be judged "not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character"? Photo by Anissa Thompson, freeimages.com

Can we create a world where these girls will be judged “not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”? Photo by Anissa Thompson, freeimages.com

I’ve been saying for many years that guilt and shame are not effective in making change (and in my work to create social change in the business world, I do my best to harness other motives, like enlightened self-interest). The example she gives of the young man confronting his father shows exactly why they don’t work. Not to confront racism or other isms, and not to protect the planet.

Brené is a better communicator than I am. As I engage in dialogue with “the other side,” I will do my best to remember her communications lessons, and those of Van Jones, whose wonderful riff on how to talk to Tea Partiers I wrote about several years ago.

For more of Brené Brown, visit her website.

Green/social change business profitability expert Shel Horowitz shows businesses how to turn poverty into sufficiency, war into peace, and catastrophic climate change into planetary balance–??while making a good profit. An international speaker and bestselling, award-winning author, his 10th book is Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World.

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