While not sleeping – relatively briefly – last night, I came across this video of another talk by Malcolm Gladwell. He consistently makes me think. This particular talk is on tokens v pioneers and the strategy of using tokens to maintain the status quo.
Yeah, I can’t explain it that well. But remember when Hillary Clinton was campaigning to be the presidential candidate? Gladwell asserts that should she win, she would be the last female president of this country for probably a very long time. Why? Look around the world. When she was campaigning, we kept hearing how behind the US was – lots of other countries have had women presidents/prime ministers/etc. And many of them have had one and only one woman as head of state.
He used the Australian Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard as an example. I don’t recall all the details and it would make sense just to watch the video rather than to trust my memory. He recounts how the press treated Gillard – and how so much was about what she wore and how she looked, things that never would have been covered if she had been male. Everything she did was criticized and judged based on her being a woman. So, in the end, the country ( press? ) was so convinced how horrible she was that if another woman runs for the office, they can say we tried that – look at how awful it was. And another woman won’t be the head of state for a long time.
I suspect we can say the same thing about the first black president. It will likely be a long time before another black president is elected in the US at least based on Gladwell’s theories. Consider all the ridiculous press about birth certificates – still today after all this time.
He answered questions toward the end of the talk about why some are pioneers and some are tokens. Why was Jackie Robinson a pioneer while in other fields (i.e., women in neurosurgery) a token is allowed in and then the door is closed. It’s interesting, thought provoking.