What is the offensive, racially insensitive and inappropriate comment that was made during a CE session at INS by a presenter?

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That's either false dilemma fallacy on your part or the INS is an innefective organization (or this is a false dilemma fallacy on my part and it's both!)

Eh, not really. My position is that professional organizations should be concerned with advancing the profession. In this case, INS' mission is to promote neuropsychological inquiry. Professional organizations have limited resources, including time and effort. My position is that those resources should be dedicated to advancing the profession. If professional organizations had unlimited resources, then my opinion would absolutely be a false dichotomy. However, if resources are limited, my position is not a false dichotomy.

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I mean it is a hell of a way to transition into retirement if you are feeling skittish. Also, since I am bored and did a bit of googling, this was an ethics presentation? There is definitely some irony there.
We should fight for what we believe to be true. And should swing fists in the earnest belief that we are fighting for a good cause. It's what good men do, and it earns respect.

We should be cool with another for it.
 
I think that's a misinterpretation of my argument. Personally, I don't think organizations not involved with this particular conference needed to do anything. Not their circus, not their monkeys. In a broader sense, I feel that there is a push to join in the culture wars, in an at best, ineffective way, and at worst, in a counter-productive way. In this push, which at times actually hurts their own cause, organizations are continually putting less effort and resources into their overarching mission as a guild organization. In the end, a receding tide will beach all boats.
Ok, but i just think that setting up the dilemma taht working towards one goal necessarily interferes with working towards another is problematic. We are smart enough, hardworking enough, and have enough connections to do both things. False dilemma fallacies are often a tactic (and a scare tactic at that of repression (i.e., "we could end slavery, but then the crops would all rot on the stalk") or enrich the few at the expense of the many (e.g., we could do something about climate change or you can have cheap, reliable transportation). (I certainly don't think the case at hand is a close to as important as either of those examples, by the way). We can be better as a field, and blaming one thing for the other thing not improving is, IMHO, misguided and excuses inaction and laziness.
 
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Ok, but i just think that setting up the dilemma taht working towards one goal necessarily interferes with working towards another is problematic. We are smart enough, hardworking enough, and have enough connections to do both things. False dilemma fallacies are often a tactic (and a scare tactic at that of repression (i.e., "we could end slavery, but then the crops would all rot on the stalk") or enrich the few at the expense of the many (e.g., we could do something about climate change or you can have cheap, reliable transportation). (I certainly don't think the case at hand is a close to as important as either of those examples, by the way). We can be better as a field, and blaming one thing for the other thing not improving is, IMHO, misguided and excuses inaction and laziness.

PsyDr's views a couple spots above also encompass my views on this particular matter. It's open for debate, but some of us have seen it in action at higher levels.
 
Eh, not really. My position is that professional organizations should be concerned with advancing the profession. In this case, INS' mission is to promote neuropsychological inquiry. Professional organizations have limited resources, including time and effort. My position is that those resources should be dedicated to advancing the profession. If professional organizations had unlimited resources, then my opinion would absolutely be a false dichotomy. However, if resources are limited, my position is not a false dichotomy.
PsyDr's views a couple spots above also encompass my views on this particular matter. It's open for debate, but some of us have seen it in action at higher levels.
I get it. There is certainly a lot of wasted time in any complex organization, especially one that is poorly run, disorganized, etc. that really almost exclusively on the "let's start a subcommittee" technique. I do, however, find it hard to believe that the time spent issuing an apology to the members or somehow censuring the panelist would've significantly interfered with lobbying or other efforts to get increasing in rates for neuropsych CPT codes. If an individual or group at INS cancelled a meeting with a lobbyist about rate increase proposals to draft and send out apologies, well that's just bad practices and procedures, and not an indictment of the need to respond to the incident. Ideally, any time spent responding to the incident now would reduce the future need to respond in the future.

I can play the appeal to expert authority card too- I've worked on professional org committees where we have successfully developed positions and secured lobbyists (which is- in my experience, how the big stuff gets done) to argue for things like rate increases, independent licensure boards, better professional training and credentialing practices, etc.,- all things that significantly advanced the profession- while simultaneously successfully worked on other issues like increasing diversity of the professional org board of directors, increased involvement of historically "less heard" groups in our professional activities (including conferences), and had to address similar "untoward" behavior of big name in the field during a conference. It's not unreasonable to disagree with some of the efforts and work of professional groups, but I just think it's dangerous/disingenuous to say that the things you disagree with get in the way of the things you support.

I appreciate the back and forth and differences of opinion on this.
 
I get it. There is certainly a lot of wasted time in any complex organization, especially one that is poorly run, disorganized, etc. that really almost exclusively on the "let's start a subcommittee" technique. I do, however, find it hard to believe that the time spent issuing an apology to the members or somehow censuring the panelist would've significantly interfered with lobbying or other efforts to get increasing in rates for neuropsych CPT codes. If an individual or group at INS cancelled a meeting with a lobbyist about rate increase proposals to draft and send out apologies, well that's just bad practices and procedures, and not an indictment of the need to respond to the incident. Ideally, any time spent responding to the incident now would reduce the future need to respond in the future.

I can play the appeal to expert authority card too- I've worked on professional org committees where we have successfully developed positions and secured lobbyists (which is- in my experience, how the big stuff gets done) to argue for things like rate increases, independent licensure boards, better professional training and credentialing practices, etc.,- all things that significantly advanced the profession- while simultaneously successfully worked on other issues like increasing diversity of the professional org board of directors, increased involvement of historically "less heard" groups in our professional activities (including conferences), and had to address similar "untoward" behavior of big name in the field during a conference. It's not unreasonable to disagree with some of the efforts and work of professional groups, but I just think it's dangerous/disingenuous to say that the things you disagree with get in the way of the things you support.

I appreciate the back and forth and differences of opinion on this.

I don't think anyone is disagreeing with a simple apology and a talking to of this presenter. It's all of the other stuff and added mandatory training of other presenters, for a completely different organization and conference than the one where this happened. It's not really any one incident. Heck, members can go look at board meeting minutes and see how much time and effort from leadership has been wasted on a recent different manufactured controversy.
 
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Hadn't heard of this "controversy" and read some of the comments here detailing what apparently occurred. Sounds like, and correct me if incorrect, that the presenter quoted a patient's response to a WAIS item query during some presentation that apparently was about unusual, off topic, or otherwise deemed inappropriate responses to the questions presented in the assessment.

So my understanding here is that the presenter presented the quoted statement verbatim which included a racial slur. On one hand, I think obviously would have been appropriate to censor the word while still getting the point of the quoting of the patient across for the professional reasons of the presentation.

On other hand it also sounds like this was completely blown out of proportion, the response comes across as pearl clutching. Could the presenter have utilized better professional judgement here, absolutely. But that is common sense that'd you'd censor or edit the word.

I'm quite sure many of us have had patients say some pretty offensive things and use racial slurs in their speech and when talking. A concern I would have here is as psychologists, and the midlevels as well, is that in professional settings especially with patient, we should not be reactionary or emotionally reactive towards a patient we're treating. Professionalism matters. I remember in grad school a professor in some session simulations noted students who displayed visible reactions to "patient" statements and reminded students that it's important to be mindful of both our verbal and body responses and reactions.

I also wonder how , upon casual observation of society in general , that people are more easily offended by more things these days. Obviously the word in question IS offensive, it IS racist, and it IS degrogatory. But what about other situations, statements, etc that people seem to be "offended by," and does this actually dilute the seriousness and focus we should have on actually offensive and racist things being said (i.e. the word in question) directed at another person or group.

Obviously the word should not have been used by the patient and should not have been repeated verbatim (common sense) during this presentation. However, I'm cautious and concerned about people who want to bring out the pitchforks for someone quoting someone else during what I assume was a professional presentation among professionals. I worry if psychologists are visibly offended by things said in the context of treatment or assessment that this also could be a clouding of judgement. I would say it would be a clinical judgement call when dealing with these slurs being said to you during a session or assessment. You can speak out against these things while also maintaining professionalism.

Now if the presenter was using the slur in their own words or directed at the patient or describing the patient (or anyone else) yes that is something to be outraged about and to speak out strongly against. But that does not sound like the case here?

I think the comedian Bill Burr has a bit on something like this, not the N-word but other words.
 
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I'm not sure if anyone has the authority to use the word or similar ones in a professional setting.
I…agree? I mean I don’t think I ever even so much as implied they did. In fact I think I implied the exact opposite at least twice since I created this thread.
 
Hadn't heard of this "controversy" and read some of the comments here detailing what apparently occurred. Sounds like, and correct me if incorrect, that the presenter quoted a patient's response to a WAIS item query during some presentation that apparently was about unusual, off topic, or otherwise deemed inappropriate responses to the questions presented in the assessment.

So my understanding here is that the presenter presented the quoted statement verbatim which included a racial slur. On one hand, I think obviously would have been appropriate to censor the word while still getting the point of the quoting of the patient across for the professional reasons of the presentation.

On other hand it also sounds like this was completely blown out of proportion, the response comes across as pearl clutching. Could the presenter have utilized better professional judgement here, absolutely. But that is common sense that'd you'd censor or edit the word.

I'm quite sure many of us have had patients say some pretty offensive things and use racial slurs in their speech and when talking. A concern I would have here is as psychologists, and the midlevels as well, is that in professional settings especially with patient, we should not be reactionary or emotionally reactive towards a patient we're treating. Professionalism matters. I remember in grad school a professor in some session simulations noted students who displayed visible reactions to "patient" statements and reminded students that it's important to be mindful of both our verbal and body responses and reactions.

I also wonder how , upon casual observation of society in general , that people are more easily offended by more things these days. Obviously the word in question IS offensive, it IS racist, and it IS degrogatory. But what about other situations, statements, etc that people seem to be "offended by," and does this actually dilute the seriousness and focus we should have on actually offensive and racist things being said (i.e. the word in question) directed at another person or group.

Obviously the word should not have been used by the patient and should not have been repeated verbatim (common sense) during this presentation. However, I'm cautious and concerned about people who want to bring out the pitchforks for someone quoting someone else during what I assume was a professional presentation among professionals. I worry if psychologists are visibly offended by things said in the context of treatment or assessment that this also could be a clouding of judgement. I would say it would be a clinical judgement call when dealing with these slurs being said to you during a session or assessment. You can speak out against these things while also maintaining professionalism.

Now if the presenter was using the slur in their own words or directed at the patient or describing the patient (or anyone else) yes that is something to be outraged about and to speak out strongly against. But that does not sound like the case here?

I think the comedian Bill Burr has a bit on something like this, not the N-word but other words.
Another angle is that this was an intentional attempt to rile up everyone’s attention (for whatever reason) at the expense of a certain cultural/racial group, which is sick in and of itself. The offending party could simply be a non-racist attention seeker.
 
Another angle is that this was an intentional attempt to rile up everyone’s attention (for whatever reason) at the expense of a certain cultural/racial group, which is sick in and of itself. The offending party could simply be a non-racist attention seeker.

Do we want to assume negative intent or positive intent here? I would think we should give a colleague the same benefit of the doubt we might a patient in a similar situation.
 
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I get it. There is certainly a lot of wasted time in any complex organization, especially one that is poorly run, disorganized, etc. that really almost exclusively on the "let's start a subcommittee" technique. I do, however, find it hard to believe that the time spent issuing an apology to the members or somehow censuring the panelist would've significantly interfered with lobbying or other efforts to get increasing in rates for neuropsych CPT codes. If an individual or group at INS cancelled a meeting with a lobbyist about rate increase proposals to draft and send out apologies, well that's just bad practices and procedures, and not an indictment of the need to respond to the incident. Ideally, any time spent responding to the incident now would reduce the future need to respond in the future.

I can play the appeal to expert authority card too- I've worked on professional org committees where we have successfully developed positions and secured lobbyists (which is- in my experience, how the big stuff gets done) to argue for things like rate increases, independent licensure boards, better professional training and credentialing practices, etc.,- all things that significantly advanced the profession- while simultaneously successfully worked on other issues like increasing diversity of the professional org board of directors, increased involvement of historically "less heard" groups in our professional activities (including conferences), and had to address similar "untoward" behavior of big name in the field during a conference. It's not unreasonable to disagree with some of the efforts and work of professional groups, but I just think it's dangerous/disingenuous to say that the things you disagree with get in the way of the things you support.

I appreciate the back and forth and differences of opinion on this.
1) I love the way you're addressing this.

2) I think we each have reasonable opinions.

3) While I don't necessarily disagree with your position, I would like to clarify mine.

a. I don't necessarily think that meetings with lobbyists were canceled. I do think the BOD and members spent their limited time in response to this incident. I also think that the spent time could be used in a manner that is more consistent with the mission statement. Finally, I think that the APA has already created a process for how to deal with this that does not include the INS' response. Admittedly, INS is not really american so that is a barrier to APA involvement.

b. Bigger picture, I think that organizations implicitly/procedurally teach professionals how to act (e.g., If an organization responds to an issue using X process, it would be reasonable for individuals to believe that X process is the appropriate way to respond to that issue). Ideally, that modeled response would increase the viability of our profession (eg., maybe don’t cry in court, wait until you’re in a private setting). I tend to believe that viability is a continuum. In that perspective, I believe that the procedurally taught response was not one of resiliency, but one of “falling apart”.

Racists gonna racist. Unethical people are gonna be unethical. That’s not something that’s ameliorated by CEs.
 
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Do we want to assume negative intent or positive intent here? I would think we should give a colleague the same benefit of the doubt we might a patient in a similar situation.
But what is the positive or even neutral intent behind a seasoned white male psychologist using the n-word in a professional setting in 2024? someone who presumably existed close enough to the civil rights movement to be aware of it? I guess that’s the hiccup in my attempts to suspend assumptions of ill -intent. I can’t give this individual the same grace I would a patient because they are not our patient in a therapy session. They are an esteemed professional in a clearly-defined professional space. I will leave the unconditional positive regard up to him and his therapist.

The organizational responses across the board were…not useful. But dude, what response were you expecting?
 
I can only speak for myself, but I would love to never discuss someone using the n-word again. Also, as a Black woman who has a ton of privilege, it is still always jarring to hear it used in professional settings by White folks, even with the best intentions. If it went unchecked, I probably wouldn't go again. I wouldn't write an opinion piece or even discuss it with anyone other than close colleagues. However, I wouldn't go back. I have quietly left several social groups because of their casual use of the n-word.

There is not a great middle ground here. Was the reaction overkill? I am not the arbiter of "appropriate responses." Based on the response from the conference, I would be more likely to attend in the future. I have been in MANY more situations where the reaction was silence or someone coming to me privately (sometimes months later) to apologize that someone else was inappropriate. I have left many spaces because of ambiguity of at least aspirational values.

I can totally understand why this might not be the right call for someone who lands more on the side of openness and freedom. My experiences up to this point make me value different things. I just wanted to push back on the idea that everyone would feel gleeful about this situation.
 
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I just love cookin' some gumbo for my orange tabbies (Roscoe and Lily) and kissin the hell out of them.

Life is too good, yeah.
 
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But what is the positive or even neutral intent behind a seasoned white male psychologist using the n-word in a professional setting in 2024? someone who presumably existed close enough to the civil rights movement to be aware of it? I guess that’s the hiccup in my attempts to suspend assumptions of ill -intent. I can’t give this individual the same grace I would a patient because they are not our patient in a therapy session. They are an esteemed professional in a clearly-defined professional space. I will leave the unconditional positive regard up to him and his therapist.

The organizational responses across the board were…not useful. But dude, what response were you expecting?

Positive intent is not unconditional positive regard, it is just not automatically assuming the worst:

Positive intent: You had poor professional judgment in your choice of words and presentation, apologize for your mistake and learn to do better
Negative intent: You are a racist and purposely meant for this to happen based on your choice of words

What am I expecting from the responses from the board and other leadership? A measured professional response that can be applied to anyone that is unprofessional in this environment. In other words...leadership. If you are going to take on the position and tout yourself as a leader, be a leader. When you learn about unprofessional conduct, address it with your membership and set clear expectations for behavior at your conference. The end. Don't engage in this behavior and in the future please do this if you witness inappropriate or unprofessional behavior that needs to be addressed. If, in the future, contentious topics are discussed, let's handle it in this manner. That's it. The rest of it is just a political circus. Frankly, whether the guy is racist or not is between him and his therapist.
 
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Positive intent is not unconditional positive regard, it is just not automatically assuming the worst:

Positive intent: You had poor professional judgment in your choice of words and presentation, apologize for your mistake and learn to do better
Negative intent: You are a racist and purposely meant for this to happen based on your choice of words

What am I expecting from the responses from the board and other leadership? A measured professional response that can be applied to anyone that is unprofessional in this environment. In other words...leadership. If you are going to take on the position and tout yourself as a leader, be a leader. When you learn about unprofessional conduct, address it with your membership and set clear expectations for behavior at your conference. The end. Don't engage in this behavior and in the future please do this if you witness inappropriate or unprofessional behavior that needs to be addressed. If, in the future, contentious topics are discussed, let's handle it in this manner. That's it. The rest of it is just a political circus. Frankly, whether the guy is racist or not is between him and his therapist.
We all absolutely fail and need to do better. I think that's the spiritual angle.

I still like my tabbies, though.
 
We all absolutely fail and need to do better. I think that's the spiritual angle.

I still like my tabbies, though.

Most everyone involved in this situation has been supervised and has been a supervisor. We all know how there is always room for personal and professional growth as we subject students to this. Certainly, we should also expect learning does not end when you are handed a piece of paper and expect of ourselves what we expect of trainees. We all should know how to deliver professional criticism in a manner that is helpful and not malicious. Did we forget how to do this?
 
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You are an honorable man, and I'll stand beside you, no matter what. Understand this. You're an awesome dude.
 
Most everyone involved in this situation has been supervised and has been a supervisor. We all know how there is always room for personal and professional growth as we subject students to this. Certainly, we should also expect learning does not end when you are handed a piece of paper and expect of ourselves what we expect of trainees. We all should know how to deliver professional criticism in a manner that is helpful and not malicious. Did we forget how to do this?
I still like my tabbies and my gumbo.
Edit: and my red pepper. And my alligators.
 
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I try to take everything as positive intent - not for their sake, but for my own.

In this case, whether to say "n-word" or the actual slur is just an inhibition task. Things like travel, stress, interpersonal issues, aging, etc., can make it hard to inhibit. What if it was you? have you ever misspoke? freudian slips?

Personally, I think some kindness, grace, and charity is in order here.
 
Many, not everyone. I’ve never heard a professional say it in a professional setting and extremely rarely in non-professional settings by white collar types. And, in those instances, interestingly enough, the handful of times I’ve heard that have been in NE progressive cities. Some of that is I simply don’t interact with people who talk like that. But also, I think it is pretty rare today in psychology. Even, in this instance, it wasn’t targeted at anyone.
I live in the Midwest and used to live in the South. I have had people unironically refer to me as "colored." By professionals. People who regularly work with Black staff and clients. Did they mean offense? Probably not. Did I trust them at the same level afterward? Nope! Is that fair? No idea. My goal wasn't to be fair. It was to protect my sanity and career. I find that the n-word happens less in professional settings, but still definitely occurs with professional people who feel very comfortable finding reasons to use it. Again, I typically just bow out without any fuss. I have left my "call in" days behind me.

For me, this is not even a political discussion. Based on the description of the events, I have no idea what ideology this person has. Based on anecdotal experience, it feels more regional and cultural than ideologically-based how and why the n-word shows up. When I'm looking for a place to land, I look for a lack of confederate flags and no use of the n-word. You'd be amazed how many places I have scratched off the list. I might miss beautiful and amazing human experiences, but there are a lot of people and places. I'll figure it out.
 
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"We'll take the trail marked on your father's path."

Cool lyric.

 
My goal is not to be perceived at all.
 
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It is best to be a 'happy warrior' and throw yourself into the fray.
 
I live in the Midwest and used to live in the South. I have had people unironically refer to me as "colored." By professionals. People who regularly work with Black staff and clients. Did they mean offense? Probably not. Did I trust them at the same level afterward? Nope! Is that fair? No idea. My goal wasn't to be fair. It was to protect my sanity and career. I find that the n-word happens less in professional settings, but still definitely occurs with professional people who feel very comfortable finding reasons to use it. Again, I typically just bow out without any fuss. I have left my "call in" days behind me.

For me, this is not even a political discussion. Based on the description of the events, I have no idea what ideology this person has. Based on anecdotal experience, it feels more regional and cultural than ideologically-based how and why the n-word shows up. When I'm looking for a place to land, I look for a lack of confederate flags and no use of the n-word. You'd be amazed how many places I have scratched off the list. I might miss beautiful and amazing human experiences, but there are a lot of people and places. I'll figure it out.

You know, based on that criteria, you would have hated where I went to grad school. In my first week, I passed one confederate flag, received two racially ignorant comments, and witnessed a drive-by shooting. And that was before orientation. Yet, it is a place with a large African-American population.

I still get casual racist comments on a regular basis by old rural veterans. That's life.
 
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You know, based on that criteria, you would have hated where I went to grad school. In my first week, I passed one confederate flag, received two racially ignorant comments, and witnessed a drive-by shooting. And that was before orientation. Yet, it is a place with a large African-American population.

I still get casual racist comments on a regular basis by old rural veterans. That's life.
I grew up in Alabama, did grad school in Kentucky, and practice in rural Louisiana. There are plenty of racist crackerists here, lol. Most of them are harmless idiots, but a few are really nasty types. I'm a white guy, so I have no idea what it's like to be the focus of their idiocy.
 
Hello, you glorious bastard. I love you!
 
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You know, based on that criteria, you would have hated where I went to grad school. In my first week, I passed one confederate flag, received two racially ignorant comments, and witnessed a drive-by shooting. And that was before orientation. Yet, it is a place with a large African-American population.

I still get casual racist comments on a regular basis by old rural veterans. That's life.
Oof, that sounds like my masters program. I was in and out in 2 years, fortunately. I lived in that area for quite a while though and got used to the flavor of racism there. It was kind of refreshing to know who to avoid. Midwest nice is a curse. Instead of giant flags being flown like down south, I'll see a little sticker or something on a window. It's more tasteful, but easier to miss.

My veterans can be similar. I have to save all my energy to remain therapeutic when they want to dive deeper into racial stuff. Now that I'm thinking about it, I have recently coached a couple of folks who had similar experiences to the person in the OP. Maybe that's why I have no patience for it anywhere else. I have used up all my grace for the human in front of me. Someone else can take over for the rest of my everyday experiences.
 
Oof, that sounds like my masters program. I was in and out in 2 years, fortunately. I lived in that area for quite a while though and got used to the flavor of racism there. It was kind of refreshing to know who to avoid. Midwest nice is a curse. Instead of giant flags being flown like down south, I'll see a little sticker or something on a window. It's more tasteful, but easier to miss.

My veterans can be similar. I have to save all my energy to remain therapeutic when they want to dive deeper into racial stuff. Now that I'm thinking about it, I have recently coached a couple of folks who had similar experiences to the person in the OP. Maybe that's why I have no patience for it anywhere else. I have used up all my grace for the human in front of me. Someone else can take over for the rest of my everyday experiences.

The south is definitely less subtle about it. The wonderful thing here is that you don't need the patience for it. That's what the organizational leadership should be modeling. You can feel whatever way you would like.



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My immediate leadership is great. It gets more nebulous the higher I go up the chain. I keep my head down and do my job these days. If something egregious has happened, I ask my immediate leadership to stick their neck out on my behalf. That has gotten me through the last year and I'm hanging out in that space for now. I'll adapt again when it changes one day. I'm enjoying the peace for now.
 
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