The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is a private, non-profit, statewide membership organization that “promotes health in Massachusetts through advocacy, education, community organizing and coalition building.” They’ve been frequently cited by Charlie Baker and other politicians when deciding when to reopen or close businesses and schools. This is School Nursing Director Karen Robitaille, which acts under the umbrella of the MDPH.
She also serves on the East Longmeadow Board of Health, which issued a cease and desist to a family owned mini-golf and driving range in May.
Well, Karen recently wrote a blog speaking as the leader of the school health unit update team, and it basically sums up why you must never, ever listen to any of these people:
Perfectionism. I’ve got it. In fact, I have struggled with this my entire life. I’m a Capricorn, an INFJ (Meyers-Briggs personality profile), and the daughter of two parents with perfectionism, so maybe it’s in my DNA. At times it has served me very well, but more often than not I can see that it harms me, as well as those about me. Consider the definition from Oxford (and while you’re at it, note the marked increase of the term in the last twenty years or so):
I bring this up for two reasons. First, I feel like many nurses also struggle with perfectionism. It’s a piece of what can be a very damaging culture in the quest to become a nurse. Sometimes it makes sense; after all, in our profession, lives are at stake. Mistakes can have terrible consequences. But perfectionism also stifles creativity and learning, focuses on the negative, and makes what could be seen as an opportunity for growth into a personal failing.
Which brings me to the second reason for writing about this. Recently I came to understand that perfectionism is also a characteristic of white supremacist culture, which shocked me right to my core. In my personal endeavors to learn more about how to be an anti-racist, I’m determined not to look away when a concept does this to me. I encourage you not to look away either. Perfectionism does far more damage than I ever realized, but I have also learned that there are antidotes. My favorite is creating a culture, “where it is expected that everyone will make mistakes and those mistakes offer opportunities for learning” (https://collectiveliberation.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/White_Supremacy_Culture_Okun.pdf). I think this is probably super important for us to try to practice at this point in our history. I’m going to try harder (but not perfectly!) to let go of this damaging behavior. Care to join me?
With great respect,
She cares. She read AND donated money.
Being a perfectionist is “white supremacist culture.” This is the woman who gets to decide when your crotch fruits return to school. As a Board of Health member she gets to decide when your business is allowed to open. This person thinks that doing your job and doing it well makes you a white supremacist, likely because she is a racist white woman who believes that black and brown people are incapable of pursuing perfection at whatever they try to do. Anyone this dumb must never, ever be allowed around the levers of power, and we must stop taking them seriously.
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