Diversity and Inclusion – Wherever You Are. Start There.
The progress of diversity and inclusion begins with questions and that can (should!) be uncomfortable.
I recently came across Dr. Constance Iloh’s tweet and it spoke to me on another level. I preface what I have to say with two things: I understand this topic is hard to digest. I also understand people are all at different points with facing and managing the times we’re in.
However, I feel strongly that I’d inevitably be doing a disservice if I didn’t take the opportunity to challenge everyone to get uncomfortable! It’s hard to take a firm look in the mirror and reflect on Dr. Iloh’s extremely poignant statement. Examining how one is active and complicit in anti-Blackness and oppression is exposing yourself to a painful truth you might not be ready to acknowledge or even admit yet. However, it’s so crucial in these pivotal times to reflect inward, discover a new perspective and improve.
As you read this, were you thinking, “where do I begin”? The fact is, we are all starting from somewhere different. Here are some questions that came to my mind that could serve as thought starters in your personal reflection:
- What do your friends look like?
- What do your neighbors look like?
- What brands do you purchase?
- Who stars in or creates the media you consume?
- How often is diversity your main focus when you produce deliverables for a client?
- What do the people in the images you design with look like?
In Your Home
- What do your kids’ friends/teachers look like?
- How diverse is the school they attend?
- Are the extra-curricular activities they’re involved in giving them an opportunity to be in a diverse environment?
All the decisions we make as we navigate life – where you live, who you befriend, what you buy, how you work, what media you consume and share, etc – all play into Dr. Iloh’s point.
There’s some good news – it’s never too late to make a change! Seek opportunities and experiences where people who don’t look like you will be present. Research and purchase from companies who promote diversity and prove it with their words, actions, and leadership/executive boards. Don’t continue to consume the same media because it’s what you’re used to – find new directors, artists, poets, authors. Maybe drive the extra 20 minutes to get your kids signed up for a camp, dance, little league, karate (or whatever else kids do these days) in another neighborhood for different exposure.
Nothing is more liberating and joyful than progress. These micro-changes can help to immediately remove you from being active or complicit in history’s rinse-and-repeat cycle of systemic racism and oppression.
To close out, I just want to share a quote from my favorite musical Hamilton that kept coming to mind when writing this, “history has its eyes on you” – I do believe at the end of the day, regardless of the various approaches we choose, we all have the same desire to be on the right side of history.