“We have an admirable commitment to diversity and inclusion.”
The quote is boilerplate and has a feel good quality about it. The quote is passive and largely meaningless. It papers over possible flaws in actual inclusion. Variations of the quote have been used by politicians and hiring managers for years. It looks lovely on public relations press releases.
There is the positive-sounding adjective–admirable. We notice the popular buzzword–commitment. There are the politically correct words–diversity and inclusion. By saying or printing such a statement, response by an inquisitive reporter or job applicant is postponed or otherwise delayed.
In order to claim to have a commitment to diversity and inclusion, there needs to be consistent action to positively address exclusion and the lack of diversity in meaningful ways.
Those of us who belong to long-excluded minorities crave tolerance, acceptance, and inclusion in the same manner that members of the dominant majority take for granted. What should be non-negotiable human rights are not political opinions and should not be hot-button talking points. People of minority status have struggled greatly in order to secure the legal rights and responsibilities of citizenship. In most cases, the struggle to preserve and retain those hard-won values is ongoing.
The reasoning behind true inclusion is to allow each person to grow and be ourselves. When we have the personal assurance of acceptance, our minds are free to share in society as productive individuals. An inclusively diverse nation suffers less civil unrest. An inclusive corporation enjoys the creative input and labor of everyone; thus reaping greater productivity and profits due to higher employee morale. We have long known about these attributes. Such realizations are nothing new.
In practical terms, higher levels of social responsibility is measured in terms of overall improved living conditions, physical and mental health levels are better, and cities are more like communities. The ethical qualities of dignity, equality, and inclusion pay dividends across the board. This is a no-brainer.
I realize that I’m preaching to the choir about inclusion, but it bears repeating that there is still a long ways for global society to implement authentic acceptance and inclusion of minority status people. Even in the “land of the free”, there are powerful voices advocating that we roll back laws and policies that protect minorities. There is the mistaken, limiting belief that exclusion is the way to improving society. There is the belief that there is no moral responsibility to meaningfully include everyone in the day to day operation of society.
It would be great if we could simply shift attitudes through writings such as this one. It would be wonderful if anti-discrimination laws alone could remedy the situation. The truth is that societal change is glacially slow. Too many folks wear happy faces to conceal their unwillingness to accept people of minority status. They cite that personal belief and tradition must always be respected regardless of circumstances.
Attitudes do eventually shift, but not on the time-line of people who are negatively affected by retrograde attitudes. In the foreseeable future, there will be major problems of discrimination and exclusion. Millions of people will never be able to share their talents and contributions with the world.
Exclusionary policies prolong suffering in the world. Inclusion makes the planet a better place.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes composer/musician Brian Eno. “You either believe that people respond to authority, or that they respond to kindness and inclusion. I’m obviously in the latter camp. I think that people respond better to reward than punishment.”