Joyce's Pulitzer Inclusion Lessons
One person can change the direction of someone’s life and how another human feels on any given day.
Question accounts of why someone is successful. Myth, omission, lies, and self-deception may mask the truth.
Beware of revisionists, including history teachers with an agenda and people who stand in the way of quality education.
You. Injustice is prevented by individuals with the conviction and courage to do and give whatever they can to make things right.
Accountability. Revealing ugly truths in American history is a required step for reforms of the justice and education systems.
Connect. Survival and happiness depend on mutual respect of each other and our shared surroundings.
Defy age. It’s just a number.
Know your history. America is a place that not only enslaved people, but informed on and hung escaped slaves and abolitionists, and conducted medical experiments and involuntary sterilization on Black Americans.
Understand Why. Actions and beliefs grow from life experience, ideology, culture, basic needs, relationships, physical/emotional state
Find Common Ground. The “enemy” is a person just like you are.
Nurture the young. Bad situations trigger bad behavior. Stealing, drugs, and truancy are symptoms of food insecurity, lack of supervision, loneliness, boredom, and PTSD.
Truth. See who you really are and how people in your society actually live.
"The main reason [for the fiction decision] is that not one of the three entries received a majority and thus, after lengthy consideration, no prize was awarded." - Sig Gissler, Fiction jury chair
Reconnect. People from your past provide your progress report on personal growth. Time is the Goon.
Understand. Lack of knowledge can be a trigger for shame, resentment, fear and bad decisions.
Persevere. You’re never too old to get better.
No regrets. What you didn’t do hurts more than an of the moment penalty.
Endure. You can handle way more than you think you can.
Serve mindfully. Use your skills, interests and uniqueness to do something actually makes a difference.
Live your beliefs. Do more than preach about the right thing to do.
Morality trumps the system. Evil is evil no matter what the law permits and who has done wrong.
Transparency. Withholding essential facts is selfish and unfair.
Self-love. Bullies require a victim. Beware that self-love is only one-piece of addressing bullying.
Create. All forms of literature and art have the power to educate, expose, inspire and prompt action.
Audience Awareness. Know who to ask for help and when to offer advice. Consider professional and life experience before you ask, respond or refer.
24 hours can seem unendurable. Make time for someone in need.
Admit flaws and unspeakable reality. In yourself, in people you love, in your country. Differences are not flaws. Blame is not acceptance.
Visualize the future. Imagine how life can be better for others and what you can do to help create that reality.
Embrace vulnerability. The search for community and connections requires putting yourself out there in a world where the American Dream remains a dream, not reality, and all people are imperfect.
DIY Attitude Makeover. Reinvention is possible.
It’s OK to move on. Your people and your happiness just might be somewhere else.
Act. You know something and have a perspective that others do not.
"Don’t presume. Keeping up appearances is sometimes a strategy to hide big problems."
Heed. Disaster should not be a surprise.
Perpetuate good. Tap your talent, teach your skill. Recognize and find a path beyond ugliness in your past. Your father’s beatings do not make a life of serial womanizing OK.
Accept. Manipulation does not end well.
Reparation. When you’ve done the unspeakable – slavery – fair treatment of Black citizens is the absolute minimum required response.
Don’t forget. Not feasible to mentally delete bad history or possible to make things better without acknowledging wrongs.
One face. Show integrity in all you do. A position of power like law enforcement magnifies disconnects and bad behavior.
Embarrassment reveals. Awkwardness/shame about being with someone says you haven’t accepted the person you’re with and/or you’ve encountered really judgmental people.
Share. People with virtually nothing give their last nickel and scrap of food to others in need. It’s not hard to give when you have resources.
Sisterhood. Lift each other.
Kindness and self-control. Every judgy, nasty thing you say is an invitation for more of the same.
Think about the wrapper. Instead of judging appearance and behavior, imagine the why: fit-in, stand-out, aspiration, resources, cultural custom, time-crunch, weather, comfort, parental modeling, etc.
Reform. Address societal issues that cause crime, wrongful conviction, imprisonment, recidivism, and death row including, poverty, systemic racism, public education, housing, lack of support for single parents, employment opportunities, substance abuse, guns, mental illness and access to mental health counseling, and the experience of living among people who commit crimes.
Provide/Get Help. Addressing addiction requires compassionate support.
Ouch. Insults that bother you may not disturb someone else because they’ve been subject to so much worse.
"Richard T. Baker, who administers the prizes on behalf of Columbia University, said that no prizes were given in these two categories because no recommendation “was clearly leading the pack.” - New York Times, April 19, 1977
Accessibility. Be clear and memorable without being insulting, boring or pretentious.
Listen objectively. Be aware of bias, detect misinformation, consider what’s not being said.
“All three members of the Pulitzer Prize jury on fiction expressed distress and bewilderment yesterday that their unanimous recommendation for a prize for Thomas Pynchon's “Gravity's Rainbow” had been turned down and that no fiction award was given this year.” – New York Times, May 8, 1974
Be classy. Don’t talk down to adults with limited education or children. Be especially nice to someone who tried and did not get the desired outcome.
Silence speaks. People are feeling and reacting even when they are not verbal.
“One place understood helps us understand all places better” ― Eudora Welty
Empathy. Terror can follow extreme pain. People don’t always have the bandwidth for interaction.
Systemic kindness. Unrelenting challenge requires a network of patient, skilled caregivers.
Fact Check. Verify sources like a legit journalist or scholar which, thanks to the internet, is a lot easier to do now that it was during the 1960s.
Universal suffering and joy. What happens to you happens to all of us.
Thoughtful service. Giving of yourself involves what you do as well as what you don’t
Understand your family tree. Reflect on recent generations through an inclusion lens. Think all the way back to your original ancestors, who are everybody’s ancestors.
"We felt there was nothing worth a prize in those categories” comment attributed to Newbold Noyes Jr., editor, of the Washington Star by the New York Times, May 5, 1964
Act. Being passive is being complicit.
Safeguard second chances. Ensure community safety as well support and supervision.
Be childlike. Act like nothing in your life has interfered with your reasoning process.
Be true. Reflect your principles in your actions; overrule ambition, retribution, expediency, and quid pro quo.
People rally around imperfect individuals. Intelligence, humor, kindness, helpfulness, a valuable skill, fairness and optimism are magnetic.
Respect bandwidth. Grief, age, beliefs, alcohol and other considerations affect interpretation and response.
“My fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.” - JFK
Backyard awareness. People are suffering nearby. Find out and reach out.
Resist. People who don't follow bad orders create progress.
“On Sept. 11, 1941, Charles Lindbergh gave his notorious ‘Who are the war agitators?’ speech in Des Moines, Iowa. Designed to persuade Americans to stay neutral in World War II, the speech ultimately backfired and Lindbergh was painted as a Nazi-sympathizer and anti-Semite.”- “This Week in History,” Deseret News, Cody Carlson, September 12, 2013
Resolution. Skills, effort, strength, creativity, suffering, joy, and endurance are not enough.
Reflect. Do you really understand the person, their situation, and the ramifications of your intended action?
Humility. Trying to impress doesn't. Don’t assume you know things you don’t.
Fair trade. Treat the people you do business with respectfully and equitably.
Now. People were writing about systemic racism 70+ years ago.