My all time favourite TV series is M*A*S*H, a comedy/drama centred around the doctors and nurses of the 4077th M*A*S*H unit during the Korean War. The series was so popular that it outlasted the duration of the 3 year war, spanning 11 seasons and 251 episodes.

The strong characterisation and story lines presented thought provoking themes that provide an ideal platform for lessons on life and leadership. Whether you are a fan of the show or not, I'm sure you will connect with my leadership insights from M*A*S*H.

LEADING FROM THE TRENCHES features bite-sized, candid insights that speak into the gritty space of leadership through the eyes of a fellow leader seeking to "lead with all diligence" (Romans 12:8).

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Racial Division

Episode 31:  L.I.P.(Local Indigenous Personnel)

Hawkeye:    Fact one – Phil loves Kim and Kim loves Phil, so much so they created fact two – a baby. Phil is being shipped home and wants to take his wife and baby.  Pretty complicated, huh?
Nurse:     And so you had to arrange for a marriage between one of our guys and a gook.
Hawkeye:    What are you trying to tell me?  You don’t care for LIP’s?
Nurse:      Not when they marry our people.
Hawkeye:   “Our people”? Since I’m one of them, who are ”we”?
Nurse:      Whites, silly.
Hawkeye:    Oh, us. Of course. You’re built lieutenant.  You’ve got a body I’d like to take a lifetime getting to know….But somewhere in that luscious chemistry are some pretty unappetising ideas.  I don’t think I can take the mix.  Goodbye Lieutenant Hoffman.

Hawkeye tries to help an enlisted man who wants to marry a Korean local girl who is the mother of his child.  In the process he is confronted by the red tape of the Army and the racist attitudes of a nurse he is trying to get to know.

In an age when political correctness and tolerance are the prevailing ideologies, you would think that colour of skin would no longer be a barrier in social circles or the workplace.  If only that was true!  I have recently interacted with professionals who are new arrivals to Australia from Iran and India who cannot find employment because of their ethnicity. Racial and religious differences continue to divide a society that prides itself on the value of ‘fair go.’  Leaders must face the challenge of digging beneath the facade of tolerance to create an environment of genuine acceptance.  “We can get the new world we want, if we want it enough to abandon our prejudices, every day, everywhere. We can build this world if we practice now what we said we were fighting for” (John Maxwell).

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