The Intentions vs. Outcomes Matrix

I have a quick question for you: Imagining your racial-justice-accomplished, ideal, utopian future society, which outcome do you most aspire toward? A society where one's...

  • Race is entirely unimportant, a relic of the past.
  • Race is far less important than today, but still plays a role.
  • Race is roughly as important as it is today.
  • Race is more important than it is today.
  • Race plays a central, integral role in society.

It’s no secret I’m not a big fan of how highly we regard intentions. There’s even a whole chapter in my book about it, and it recently led to a great conversation, which led to this more visual representation of the dynamics between intentions and outcomes. Use it how you want and let me know what you think! (oh, and you can read a bit more about it below)

Click the graphic to biggify!

Intentions vs Outcomes Matrix Edugraphic

It’s not that I don’t love well-intended people — I do. It’s just that a well-intentioned person who uses bigoted language has the same impact as a bigoted person who uses bigoted language, as an example. The targeted identity is still attacked, marginalized, and dehumanized. And when we start making the distinctions between whether or not the person who used the bigoted language _meant _it or not. This sometimes turns into a victim-blaming-type conversation where we get mad at the person who was offended because “they didn’t mean it” and “you shouldn’t be so sensitive” and I blame most of this on our belief that intentions are often more important than outcomes.

I could go on. But, well, I already did. Hope this edugraphic helps clarify things for the visual-oriented learners!

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About the Author

Sam Killermann Self Portrait

Hi! I'm Sam Killermann. I'm the author of A Guide to Gender: The Social Justice Advocate's Handbook, and I was featured in Katie Couric's NatGeo documentary "Gender Revolution". I created It's Pronounced Metrosexual in 2011. I write everything here and doodle the doodles myself. Bonus: everything I create is uncopyrighted and freely accessible — I even coded (& open-sourced) this site itself, my gift to you. Read More →

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