Toxic Environment – It Infects Everything

Go Lean Commentary

24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” – The Bible re: Building on a Solid Foundation – Matthew 7:24-27 – New Living Translation

Having a solid foundation versus a sandy foundation, for a house, may not matter too much during a normal sunny day, but when “push comes to shove” – during a storm – is when the surety of the house becomes important. Will it stand, stabilize and survive?

A weak foundation for a house can be likened to the toxic environment of a community, think a workplace filled with harassment and discrimination or a neighborhood with blatant racism where minorities endure burning crosses on their lawn.

Such communities may have some functionality, but will it stand, stabilize and survive when “push comes to shove”?

Here’s the answer: No!

As Jesus Christ cautioned above: “it will collapse with a mighty crash”.

It is fair to conclude that we all want a “house that does not collapse during a storm”. It is also fair to assume that we all want to live in a community that is NOT a toxic environment. But just as Jesus described the heavy-lifting effort of building a house on a more solid foundation, we must conclude that it is also heavy-lifting to foster a community (workplace or neighborhood) that is not a toxic environment. For the record, we got toxic environments here in the Caribbean; we got it bad. But we must reform …

Ready for the effort?!

The path of least resistance is just to “fall into hate, bigotry, xenophobia and intolerance”. But to weed these defects out of society – or to not allow them to foster – we cannot default to that path of least resistance; we must do the heavy-lifting work; the homework, the shop work and the community work.

This is an acute issue for our Caribbean communities; we have near Failed-States as a result. These blatant societal defects can no longer be tolerated. We have lost good people; many have fled our society in search of refuge; we have Pushed many away, while others have been Pulled by more hopeful invitations – the “grass on the other side has been greener”.

This was the assertion in the 2013 book Go Lean…Caribbean, where it pronounced this in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Page 12):

xii. Whereas the legacy in recent times in individual states may be that of ineffectual governance with no redress to higher authority, the accedence of this Federation will ensure accountability and escalation of the human and civil rights of the people for good governance, justice assurances, due process and the rule of law. As such, any threats of a “failed state” status for any member state must enact emergency measures on behalf of the Federation to protect the human, civil and property rights of the citizens, residents, allies, trading partners, and visitors of the affected member state and the Federation as a whole.

Every month, the movement behind the Go Lean book presents a Teaching Series to address issues germane to Caribbean life and culture. For this month of September 2020, we are looking at Toxic Environments. This is entry 1-of-6; the first one; it introduces the thesis that “doing the right thing, while not always easy, always pays off in the long run”. Despite our past, we can always start anew. There have been many bad experiences of hate, bigotry, xenophobia and intolerance in our Caribbean actuality. To cure these societal defects, we must reflect, recognize, repent and reconcile.

Yes, we can …

Let’s start now! Consider here, the full catalog of the series this month:

  1. Toxic Environment: Ready for Football – Washington “Redskins”
  2. Toxic Environment: Homophobia – The problem is the Hate, not the Fear
  3. Toxic Environment: Opposite of Diversity & Inclusion
  4. Toxic Environment: Lessons from Yugoslavia
  5. Toxic Environment: Ease of Doing Business
  6. Toxic Environment: Make the Caribbean Great (Anew)

The Go Lean book, serving as a roadmap for the introduction of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), asserts that Caribbean stakeholders must do the heavy-lifting to mitigate the societal defects. The purpose of the roadmap does include optimizing the economic, security and governing engines for greater opportunities, but we must have a good foundation first. The purpose of this month’s Teaching Series is to focus on that foundation. There is a glaring need for reform, as we have a long track record of bad behavior like hate, bigotry, xenophobia and intolerance in our Caribbean communities.

We have been fostering a toxic environment in our culture in which these bad behaviors have been permitted to flourish. This is not good! A toxic environment pits villains against victims; in the long run, the victims seeks refuge elsewhere. This is true with a toxic workplace and a toxic neighborhood. This is also true for the Push dynamics of Caribbean abandonment:

  • “Push” refers to people who feel compelled to leave, to seek refuge in a foreign land. “Refuge” is an appropriate word; because of societal defects, many from the Caribbean must leave as refugees – think LGBTDisabilityDomestic-abuseMedically-challenged – for their life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
  • “Pull”, on the other hand refers to the lure of a more liberal life abroad; many times our people are emigrating for societies that have better expressions of the rights for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

The Caribbean is not the first nor the last toxic environment. There are many of them out there. We must look, listen and learn from toxic workplaces and toxic neighborhoods. Just because we are not alone does not mean we can be complacent; we are still bleeding populations – we must stop the bleeding.

Let’s consider one example from the United States …

… that of the team in the National Football League (NFL), the Washington Football Team, formerly known as the Washington Redskins. Just that name “Redskins” – a derogatory reference similar the the N-Word – shows their disregard for the toxic environment they were fostering. See the details in the Appendix below.

What we have learned from the historicity of the Washington “Redskins” over those many years is that they had no regards nor remorse for offending others

… this normally means that they would have no regards nor remorse for offending their own people. This is exactly what has happened. We learned of other victimizations of this toxic workplace. See these two stories here:

Title 1: Washington Redskins Cheerleaders Describe Topless Photo Shoot and Uneasy Night Out
By: Juliet Macur

When the Washington Redskins took their cheerleading squad to Costa Rica in 2013 for a calendar photo shoot, the first cause for concern among the cheerleaders came when Redskins officials collected their passports upon arrival at the resort, depriving them of their official identification.

For the photo shoot, at the adults-only Occidental Grand Papagayo resort on Culebra Bay, some of the cheerleaders said they were required to be topless, though the photographs used for the calendar would not show nudity. Others wore nothing but body paint. Given the resort’s secluded setting, such revealing poses would not have been a concern for the women — except that the Redskins had invited spectators.

A contingent of sponsors and FedEx Field suite holders — all men — were granted up-close access to the photo shoots.

One evening, at the end of a 14-hour day that included posing and dance practices, the squad’s director told nine of the 36 cheerleaders that their work was not done. They had a special assignment for the night. Some of the male sponsors had picked them to be personal escorts at a nightclub.

“So get back to your room and get ready,” the director told them. Several of them began to cry.

“They weren’t putting a gun to our heads, but it was mandatory for us to go,” one of the cheerleaders said. “We weren’t asked, we were told. Other girls were devastated because we knew exactly what she was doing.”

Source: New York Times Investigation – posted May 2, 2018; retrieved September 20, 2020. See the full story here:


VIDEO 1 – Redskins Cheerleaders Reveal Disturbing Details Of 2013 Costa Rica Trip | NBC Nightly News –

NBC News
Posted May 3, 2018 – The cheerleaders tell NBC News that in addition to their passports being taken, they were forced to be topless for a calendar shoot, and later asked to escort team financial backers to a party.

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Title 2: At least 15 women are accusing Washington Redskins staffers of sexual harassment, report says
By: Ellie Kaufman, Pete Muntean and Laura Robinson, CNN
The Washington Redskins have launched an internal investigation after 15 former female employees and two journalists who covered the team accused team staffers of sexual harassment and verbal abuse, the team told CNN.

The allegations were first reported by The Washington Post on Thursday. The newspaper obtained screenshots of text messages in which Richard Mann II — the team’s assistant director of pro personnel — made inappropriate, sexual comments to a female employee. Mann was fired in the past week.

Former employees also accused Larry Michael, the team’s former senior vice president of content and play-by-play announcer, of talking about the attractiveness of a college intern in 2018 when he was being recorded for a team video, the newspaper reported. Michael retired Wednesday.

CNN was not able to reach Mann and Michael for comment Thursday.

Owner Dan Snyder and former team president Bruce Allen were not directly implicated in the sexual harassment allegations brought by the female employees and reported by the Post. But Snyder was criticized for fostering a culture in which the behavior was permitted.

Source: Cable News Network – posted July 18, 2020; retrieved September 20, 2020. See the full story here:


VIDEO 2 – Washington Redskins accuser says she hopes for new policies –

Posted July 23, 2020 – At least 15 women are accusing Washington Redskins staffers of sexual harassment, report says

We must change (reform and transform) the Caribbean to rid ourselves of our own toxic environments. How do we do that?

A previous Go Lean commentary from March 5, 2019 identified the chain of events: thoughts-feeling-speech-action. See an excerpt here:

[Thoughts-feeling-speech-action] is usually the order and process for change. Change doesn’t just start with Action; a lot more goes into it. It can be likened to a factory process; there is input and there is output. While Action is the output, “Thoughts, Feelings and Speech” qualify as input.

Got Change? Want Change?

The movement behind the book Go Lean … Caribbean asserts that we have to be prepared to contribute the appropriate Inputs. In fact we must start changing the current Inputs to better reflect the values we want to see in our society. That means changing our thoughts, feeling and speech.

The Go Lean roadmap has always focused on the actions for changing the Caribbean eco-system. We have always had focus on the thoughts-feeling-speech-action continuum. The target change here is what the Go Lean book refers to as a change in community ethos (Page 20).

  1. the fundamental character or spirit of a culture; the underlying sentiment that informs the beliefs, customs, or practices of a group or society; dominant assumptions of a people or period: In the Greek ethos the individual was highly valued.
  2. the character or disposition of a community, group, person, etc.

This focus, fostering change in the community ethos, has been a mission for this Go Lean movement from the beginning of this movement. This theme has been elaborated in many previous blog-commentaries; consider this sample here: Cleaning up the Toxic Use of the N-Word to improve Black Image When Rising from the Ashes – Watch Out for changes to Bad Ethos Stamping Out Hypocrisy from Community Ethos & Leadership The need to change Bad Ethos to launch ‘New Commerce’ Mitigating Bad Ethos on Home Violence Learning a Lesson from History – Changed Community Ethos for WW II Changing from Least Common Denominator to an Entrepreneurial Ethos

Cleaning up our toxic environment is conceivable, believable and achievable. We have seen it done many times before.

But, it is not just a matter of changing a brand name – like for the Washington Redskins – we have to change the community attitude. We have to message against:

hate, bigotry, xenophobia and intolerance

The presence of these bad attributes are not in dispute. The strategy for abating them is not in dispute. It starts and ends with messaging. This is 1-of-6 in that messaging. The rest of this Teaching Series portrays the messaging for the above-cited attributes. You are urged to lean-in to every entry of this series to glean the insights, strategies, tactics and implementations.

We cannot change the world, but we can change “us”. It is heavy-lifting to abate bad attributes, to reform and transform our society. But this is what must be done. It is the only way to make our regional homeland a better place to live, work and play.

Yes, we can!  🙂

About the Book
The book Go Lean…Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all member-states. This CU/Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society.

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Who We Are
The movement behind the Go Lean book – a non-partisan, apolitical, religiously-neutral Community Development Foundation chartered for the purpose of empowering and re-booting economic engines – stresses that reforming and transforming the Caribbean societal engines must be a regional pursuit. This was an early motivation for the roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12):

x. Whereas we are surrounded and allied to nations of larger proportions in land mass, populations, and treasuries, elements in their societies may have ill-intent in their pursuits, at the expense of the safety and security of our citizens. We must therefore appoint “new guards” to ensure our public safety and threats against our society, both domestic and foreign. The Federation must employ the latest advances and best practices … to assuage continuous threats against public safety.

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xiv.  Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation. 


Appendix – Reference: Washington Redskins

The Washington Football Team are a professional American football team based in the Washington metropolitan area. Formerly known as the Washington Redskins, the team competes in the National Football League (NFL) as a member of the NFC East division. The team plays its home games at FedExField in Landover, Maryland, with its headquarters and training facility located in Ashburn, Virginia. The team has played more than 1,000 games and is one of only five in the NFL to record over 600 total wins. It was the first NFL franchise with an official marching band and a fight song, “Hail to the Redskins“.

The team was founded in 1932 as the Boston Braves before changing its name to the Redskins the following year. The franchise then relocated to Washington, D.C. in 1937, where they have been based since. …

Washington’s former Redskins name and logo drew controversy over its history, with many criticizing it as offensive to Native Americans. Pressure from major sponsors of the league and team eventually led them to retire the branding in 2020 as part of a wave of racial name changes in the wake of the George Floyd protests. The team will play as the Washington Football Team until a permanent replacement is chosen later. The team is valued at approximately US$3.4 billion according to Forbes, making them the seventh-most valuable team in the NFL and the 14th-most valuable sports franchise globally.[2]

Redskins name and logo controversy
The team’s former Redskins branding, used from 1933 until 2020, was one of the leading examples of Native American mascot controversy as the term redskin has been defined as offensive,[81] disparaging,[82][83] and taboo.[84] Various people and groups, such as the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), considered the name a racial slur and attempted to get the team to change it for decades.[85][86] Supporters of the name countered both the dictionary definition of the term and the testimony of Native Americans by asserting that their use of the name was intended respectfully, and referred only to the football team and its history.

In a 2013 letter “To the Washington Redskins Nation”, team owner Daniel Snyder stated that while respecting those that say they are offended, a poll conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center in 2004 found that 90% of Native Americans were not offended by the name and logo.[87][88] This poll was essentially replicated in 2016 by The Washington Post with near identical results. However, public opinion polling, which places the question about the Redskins within a longer telephone survey on other topics, was deemed scientifically questionable by academic researchers. As an alternative, social scientists from the University of Michigan and University of California at Berkeley performed a study in 2020 that measured Native American opinion in detail, finding that 49% had responded that the name was offensive, with the level of offense increasing to 67% for those with a stronger involvement in Native American culture.[89]

Following renewed attention to questions of racial justice in wake of the George Floyd protests in 2020, a letter signed by 87 shareholders and investors was sent to team and league sponsors Nike, FedEx, and Pepsi urging them to cut their ties unless the name was changed.[90][91][92] Around the same time, several retail companies began removing Redskins merchandise from their stores.[93][94] In response, the team underwent a review in July 2020 and announced that it would retire its name,[95][96] with a new name and logo to be chosen at a later date.[97][98] As a team rebranding process usually takes over a year, the team will be playing as the Washington Football Team until a more permanent name is chosen.[99][100][101]

Source: Retrieved September 20, 2020 from:

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