Traits of US White Male Culture: Action over Reflection

Note: This column is part one of a series on the characteristics of white male culture. We will work to examine how these traits show up in the world and tie them to events and behaviors that are in plain view of everyone who follows current events in the US and around the world.

A good friend once asked me if I knew what a Frank Sinatra leader is. He said some leaders believe to be is to do, while others believe to do is to be, and a third group know the value of do-be-do-be doing their way through work. This third group, he said, is the Frank Sinatra leaders.

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TRAITS OF US WHITE MALE CULTURE: Low Tolerance For Ambiguity And Uncertainty

Note: This column is part one of a six-part series on the characteristics of white male culture. We will work to examine how these traits show up in the world and tie them to events and behaviors that are in plain view of everyone who follows current events in the US and around the world.

“You’ve got to learn to be sure of yourself.”
“Don’t guess what the answer is — figure it out.”
“What do you mean ‘I don’t know’? It’s your job to know!”

Many of us have heard messages like these from parents, teachers, mentors and even bosses. At best, these sorts of statements are meant to motivate us to be confidant, to find the answer, to figure things out. At worst, they are misapplied motivational techniques that could invoke shame instead of spur confidence and action. Either way, these prompts, and other messages like them, instill in us a low tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty.

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