Stereotypes -Breaking them down and a Call To Leadership

Stereotypes, by definition are fixed assumptions
Others Hold About You and Me.
Often inaccurate , based on exaggerated tv images,
Or passed down by families generationally.

Stereotypes, framed pictures in our minds
Whether seen or unseen.
Constrain opportunities to collaborate or grow
And often demean.

What we’ve learned during this brilliant BDA* Fellowship,
An accelerated and safe environment to explore.
All is not what it seems; one size doesn’t fit all; to every story, there’s more.
The key nugget we will all take away from this experience is:
We are all human beings at our core.
We are all human beings at our core.

Whether we choose to wear traditional wrap , uncover or we’re louder than the others.
Practice religion strictly or liberally.
We are all fundamentally seeking peace and progress in this world.
We each want our kids to achieve more than we.

So, my sincere thanks to BDA*, Intel
My caring Arab and American Fellows
My new sisters and brothers.
The dialogue has been opened wide and so have our hearts.
Let’s continue breaking down barriers.
Let’s chart a fresh new start.

We are the leaders.
We have been chosen to do this work.
The change that comes about, our collective futures,
Will be simply that we never gave up.
It will exist simply because our work never stopped.

Written by Barbara H. McAllister ©
2009 BDA and YAL Conference
Stereotype Panel

BDA-Business for Diplomatic Action
YAL-Young Arab Leaders

2009 Arab and American Fellows

2009 Arab and American Fellows

This poem was inspired by my 3 week fellowship and two way exchange between Arab and Americans as a part of the 2009 Arab and American Fellowship sponsored by DOW, Young Arab Leaders and Business for Diplomatic Action. It was read as a part of my opening and participation in a panel, “Breaking Cultural Stereotypes.” Fellow panelists included John Zogby, Nesrine Halima, Shk Sultan Al Qassemi and Moderator, Jeff Weintraub.

1 Comment »

  1. Valle Said,

    April 13, 2010 @ 2:31 am

    I have heard it said that the first ingredient of success – the earliest spark in the dreaming youth – if this; dream a great dream.

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