You are a Racist

Marshall: Brent, how about you? What request have you written down?

Wanting to be Treated as a Human Being – Son/Father

Brent: “Father, think of me and treat me like an equal — with respect.”

Marshall: Wow.

Brent: There were other ways I could have said that.

Marshall: Well, I’m glad you’re picking a really rough one tonight because it’s been very interesting to me that, when you put certain labels on another person, it makes it so difficult to speak Giraffe.

Sounds like you have this person labeled “father.” That’s almost as devastating as to label the other person “my child,” or “my husband,” or “my wife.”

Brent: So is it better to call him by his first name?

Marshall: Oh no, it’s not that. If you even think that he is a father or there is such a thing as a father, you see, then immediately it’s going to be hard to speak Giraffe. To speak Giraffe, we have to get over seeing people in roles or with labels. So I’m glad you used that example.

My work involves different kinds of people who want to apply Giraffe.

I work with the military, showing them how to use it in military situations. I also work with the police. A lot of people I work with are in very dangerous jobs. Invariably they’ll come back when I return for a follow-up and say, “Hey, it works wonderfully on the job. Now help me with a difficult one: talking to my father, or my son, or my wife.”

I’m just saying that in these family situations, given the difficulty, we want to be sure to use what we call positive action language.

Brent: I want to use positive phrases and tell him how I feel?

Marshall: And what you want. What would you say to the Dad again?
“Treat me like a human being“?

Brent: That’s basically it! [Laughter]

‘Treat me as a Human Being’ Heard with Jackal Ears

Marshall: Now, if the other person is speaking Jackal, do you know what? They won’t hear that as a request on your part. They’ll hear you saying that they are an inhumane person who treats you like you’re not human. They’ll get so caught up with the imagery and the judgment that in fact they’ll start treating you like you’re not a human being.

I’ll try to show you tonight that judgments lead to self-fulfilling prophecies. If we judge another person as being “someone who is not treating us like a human being,” and we approach them with that thought in our minds, we’ll usually talk to them in such a way that they’ll end up doing the very thing that concerns us.

What’s even more tricky about that is that we don’t even have to say it out loud. If we think that way about another person, even if we try to speak Giraffe it won’t be possible because we’ll have Jackal eyes.

Wanting to be Treated as Human Beings – Students/Director

Some black students I was working with in Dallas, Texas held that exact judgment “not treating us as human beings” in relation to their school principal. They thought that he was a racist. Already I knew they were in trouble, because if you think anybody is anything, it’s going to make it very hard to get what you want from them.

I’ll suggest tonight that judgments are tragic expressions of unmet needs. When we think that “somebody is treating us inhumanly,” our judgment is basically saying, “I’d like something that I didn’t get.” Putting our needs in terms of judgments makes it very hard for other people to give us what we want.

So they had this principal labeled as a racist. They wanted the same kind of thing you want: “We want him to treat us like human beings.” “We want fairness.”

Now, they had already gone to him and said those things. I asked them, “What did he say?

“’Get out of here or I am going to call the police!’”

We worked hard on how to get judgments not only out of our thinking, but also out of our requests. We also worked on being able to say what we want in clear terms. When you use language like “being treated as a human being,” what is it that you want the other person to do? How do you say that without bringing in things that sound like judgments?

We worked Friday night, Saturday and Sunday.
They got 38 things clear and expressed them in Giraffe language.
Monday morning they went in and confronted the principal.
They called me up Monday evening – elated.
He had agreed to all 38 things.

That Thursday the Dallas School District called me up and said, whatever I taught those students, would I come down and teach it to their administrators.