(Readers: The blog centers around the author’s prediction that the US will experience a 5th revolution by 2020-2025.  Some early vignettes precede the revolution; later vignettes follow the revolution.  Many characters appear regularly.  More about the blog and the author.)

(Scene” Jordan having coffee with administrative assistant, Gelly.  The conversation continues after a break for a coffee refill.  Link to Part 1.)

Gelly:  “So, how do you think blacks should change?”

Jordan:  “The very first step…and I think the first step taken by every other ethnic group…is a change in attitude.”

woman_parentGelly:  “Not sure I understand but how should they change?”

Jordan:  “Change the focus from the past to how they can improve.  Once they make such a change, there will be many people who be willing to help.  But blacks have to make the change first.”

Gelly:  “You said before the break that demanding others change attitudes toward blacks won’t really help.  Why?”

Jordan:  “Because you cannot force me to change my attitude.  I’ll change my attitude when I am ready.”

Gelly:  “Your approach sounds so abstract.  Have you got an example where the approach worked?”

Jordan:  “Remember the Great Carnac?”

carnacGelly:  “Of course.  But what does the Great Carnac have to do with this issue?”

Jordan:  “One of the most influential people in my life was the Great Carnac.  Not the real Johnny Carson Carnac but someone who helped me change my attitude and behavior.”

Gelly:  “You’ve mentioned the Great Carnac before but I’ve forgotten the context.”

Jordan:  “Years ago when I was in the corporate world, our department was spun off and set up as a separate unit.”

Gelly:  “OK, so what?”

stare-downJordan:  “The guy who took my former office and part of my former responsibilities turned out to be what I thought was a real pain in the you-know-what.”

Gelly:  “Yes, I know what.  What happened?”

Jordan:  “Our new group was having a training session and the Great Carnac was leading the session.  She had not earned the title the Great Carnac at that time.  After the session I talked to her about the problems with my colleague.”

Gelly:  “This guy have a name?”

Jordan:  “Yes, Mr. E. S. Cue.”

Gelly:  “And so what was the problem with Mr. E.S. Cue?”

Jordan:  “I thought he was making lots of poor decisions…at least by my standards.  I also thought that if the staffs involved reported to me again everything could be fixed.  I was, in effect, demanding things change.”

Gelly:  “And what did Carnac suggest?”

Jordan:  “She said I was the problem, not Mr. Cue.”

Gelly:  “Very perceptive.  And what did she suggest you do?”

Jordan:  “Before she offered a solution, she had me complete an exercise.”

Gelly:  “I like this.  The exercise was?”

Jordan:  “I had to picture myself as Mr. Cue sitting in my old office.”

Gelly:  “OK, then what?”

Jordan:  “I was to visualize myself walking into Mr. Cue’s office.”

Gelly:  “And?”

Jordan:  “I was to blurt out the first word that came to Mr. Cue’s mind as I walked through the door.  She insisted I say the first word, no matter what the word was.”

Mickey-Mouse-fingerGelly:  “So what was the word?”

Jordan:  “Really want to know?”

Gelly:  “Yes.”

Jordan:  “The polite version is a-hole.”

Gelly:  (laughing) “I can buy that.  Some people we work with now probably have the same thought as Mr. Cue.”

Jordan:  “Really?”

Gelly:  “Really…but only on occasion.  So what did she suggest you do?”

Jordan:  “Respect him.”

Gelly:  “That’s it?  Respect him?  Like Aretha wanted r-e-s-p-e-c-t?”

Aretha-aretha-franklin-27121751-1280-1024Jordan:  “Like Aretha.  Respect something about him.  Anything I could find.”

Gelly:  “Then what was supposed to happen?”

Jordan:  “My problems with Mr. Cue would go away.”

Gelly:  “That seems so simple.  Did it work?”

Jordan:  “Yes, it did work and getting there was surprisingly easy.”

Gelly:  “How’d you do it?”

Jordan:  “Remember the book, ‘The Little Engine that Could’?”

little-engineGelly:  “Great book with a great theme, ‘I think I can; I think I can.’”

Jordan:  “I changed the words slightly to ‘I know I respect him; I know I respect him.’”

Gelly:  “When did you start changing your attitude?  And how?”

Jordan:  “I started that afternoon.  The men’s room was about halfway between Cue’s office and my office.  About 2:00pm…and don’t ask me why I remember the time but I do… we both headed to the men’s room.”

Gelly:  “Them what happened?”

Jordan:  “I kept trying to find something about him to respect.  I found something but I cannot remember what it was.”

Gelly:  “And your problem went away?”

Jordan:  “Not that afternoon.  But every time I was around him, I kept saying to myself, ‘I know I respect him; I know I respect him.'”

Gelly:  “Then the problem went away?”

Jordan:  “In about four months, Mr. Cue retired unexpectedly.”

Gelly:  “Really?  What a break.”

Jordan:  “And when I went to his retirement party you would have thought I was his long-lost friend.”

Gdarth_vader_by_mehdiinconnu-d4rdopcelly:  “So you went from arch-enemy — Darth Vader – to long-lost friend in four months?”

Jordan:  “Yep.”

Gelly:  “And you really believe your showing respect is what changed the relationship?”

Jordan:  “Yep.  I’ve had the same experience several times, although now I try not to let relationships deteriorate.”

friendsGelly:  “That experience is really interesting.  You think the same approach could work for the black population?”

Jordan:  “Yes.  But I have to think…and this might be unpopular and certainly not politically correct…that if blacks took the first step and started to show more respect for others, then the attitude of many people would begin to change also.  Much like what happened with Mr. Cue.  Remember I took the initiative.”

Gelly:  “The approach does seem counter-intuitive and certainly controversial.  By showing respect, does that make blacks feel subservient to whites?  Has the feeling of the Jim Crow era.”

Jordan:  “Hold that thought.  I need to take a break.”