2022-04-24 – Attributes of White Supremacy Culture: Perfectionism

As we work to dismantle racism in our institution, we are continuing our exploration of the attributes of White Supremacy Culture. Today we will look at Perfectionism.

While there is a tradition in UU circles to express appreciation for work that is done, those expressing that appreciation have often shared in the work effort, and credit is often shared based on the power of the recipient rather than relative contributions. It is more common to highlight inadequacies than to complement, and that is often done indirectly rather than engaging with the person. Mistakes are seen as personal failures rather than as an expected occurrence in any activity. Making a mistake is confused with being a mistake and doing wrong is confused with being wrong. Lessons are not learned; practices are not improved. Antidotes for this are related to cross-cultural, interpersonal relationship:

  • Develop a culture of appreciation, both individual and organizational.
  • Organizational culture should center learning so that mistakes are opportunities for growth.
  • Foster an environment in which a mistake can still lead to a positive result.
  • Evaluative culture must start and end feedback with what went well and discussions about mistakes should be interactive conversations about future improvement.