The world is buzzing around the need to diversify everything, from fashion shows, to xxx and xxx. But it wasn’t until a series of unfortunate.
Why Diversity Does Not Equal Inclusion
The world is buzzing around the need to diversify everything, from fashion shows, to xxx and xxx. But it wasn’t until a series of unfortunate events I experienced at work that I realized that diversity does not necessarily equal inclusion. Add 1 sentence summarizing what discrimination you experienced at work. Add 1 sentence summarizing why you learned that just because your work ticked off boxes for hiring a diverse staff from various ethnic backgrounds, did not create an inclusive environment because that is certainly not what you felt.
CONCLUSION: Provide a solution, what could the employer have done better. What could you have done better? What can anyone reading this article do better? Whether they are an employer or an employee? Do you want to end with a message you want to say to your old company/previous boss?
You read the title right, diversity and inclusion are two completely different animals. Diversity is to be diverse, having a variety of individuals. More importantly, it means understanding that each individual is unique and recognizing everyone’s individual differences; including your own. This includes all dimensions of race, sexual orientation, gender, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, political beliefs and other ideologies. Inclusion, on the other hand, is to feel included. To be clear, it means that all people, regardless of who they are, have the right to be respected, valued and appreciated members of the community. Whether it is in a work environment, or school, all human bodies have the right to be treated as pure equals.
To put things into perspective, think of it this way, we all bleed the same colour and God forbid the unfortunate happens, once you step in the hospital, everyone is trying to do one thing and one thing only: live. Everyone admitted in the hospital is trying to live but if you step out of the building, isn’t that what we are all trying to do? To actually live our lives and figure out the best options are for us?
The strange part is, some people forget we bleed the same colour. That’s when the prejudice, racism and ugly chimes in. The harsh reality is it genuinely happens and it’s honestly difficult to play your cards minus the emotions. To be treated as if your less than because of who you are, is, by definition emotional abuse. But don’t get emotional, then you’re just being irrational. I mean, some people just don’t know, right? Have you ever been in a room you didn’t feel included? Too foreign here, too foreign over there, not good enough for either. Never a sense of belonging because you’re never enough of something.
I never understood the ‘I didn’t know’ when it comes to understanding others’ differences. As a Muslim hijabi, I grew up hearing it left and right. I’m confident others have been in my situation as well; the difference is, it because of their black or disabled or speaks Spanish. This is America. This country, founded on the grounds of oppression, has trained the public to think in three colours: black, white, illegal. You can’t even acknowledge others for who they are, they are grouped in a one-labelled pile and that’s that. They have the audacity to smear the difference between Colombian, Ecuadorian, Mexican, Dominican and moved past the word ‘brown’ and went straight to illegal.
It boils down to this: what options do you have and what should you do about it? To be honest, and before I jump into your options, let me remind you that your feelings are valid and it’s ok to be angry. Once you get the emotion out of the way, organize your thoughts and set up a time to speak to HR. You can choose to remain anonymous throughout the conversation, but why would you want too? What is the fear in shedding light on the poison in the room? Believe me when I tell you, if one person has an infection in the room, someone else has it too, and its best you take out what’s causing it to begin with. It’s not your job to protect anyone prejudice that’s exactly what you’re doing when you don’t report. Who cares if they get upset that you didn’t take shit from them? God forbid they take ownership in the trash that comes out of their mouth.
Also, depending on what state you are in, a union can protect you. Last but not least, do not be afraid. Do not be afraid of having to start over, to find a job that appreciates you, believe me when I tell you: you’re stronger than you think. OWN IT.