Stanley Pierre-Louis: Diversity, Belonging, and Racial Justice

In this series of blog posts, we asked our experts to share their perspectives on issues of race and racism and highlight the work they are doing in their respective fields. “What is your vision for the future of childhood? What are you doing in your professional capacity to achieve that vision, and/or who needs to do what to achieve that vision?”

Growth mindsets challenge assumptions and spark imaginations

Stanley Pierre-Louis is President and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association, which represents the U.S. video game industry.

At this time of national reflection on the impact of racism on the criminal justice system and other revered institutions, the question that drives me most is this: what can we do as a society to prompt real, sustainable change? A key part of the answer, I believe, is to encourage a growth mindset, especially among children and adolescents.

As a Black American, learning about the death of an unarmed citizen who looks like me sparks outrage, fear, and sadness—but not surprise. More personally, it pains me to be having yet another conversation with my teenage son about the reality of race in America. It makes for a painful, frustrating, and difficult experience. At the same time, I remind him that progress only occurs when you are willing to believe that something better is possible.

Childhood is when we begin to form our beliefs and mindsets. So, we must move from a passive celebration of diversity to the active pursuit of diversity as a way to strengthen systems of all kinds. Just as racist concepts are taught and modeled, so are beliefs about equality and the idea that diverse systems are better systems. Growth mindsets provide a foundation for this kind of thinking.

Parents, caregivers, and teachers are critical to helping children form their views on race and equality through an open, growth mindset. There is no one right path. But if we use this notion as our guide and embrace growth mindsets over fixed ones, we can teach our children to stay curious, challenge assumptions, and develop the resilience needed to find a new path forward. Great resources for parents and teachers can be found at Mindset Works.

Adopting a growth mindset also helps us teach curiosity and wonder—qualities that spark ideas that lead to innovation in the classroom and in life. All children deserve to be able to imagine what’s possible and then make their dreams come to life.



See more posts in this series:

Voices on the Future of Childhood

Christy Crawford | Jordan Taitingfong | Mariana Díaz-Wionczek | Martez E. Mott
Pablo MirallesRahsaan Harris | Stanley Pierre-Louis | Vicki Ariyasu