Diversity is a subject to which I give a great deal of thought. I am involved with several groups through my company which are in existence to empower and give voice to people who don’t always feel that they are included or are perhaps ashamed to be their authentic selves at work. These are groups which celebrate those often in the minority with regards to race, gender and sexual identity. As part of the women’s group, I have gained strength and empowerment I would not have otherwise had, and the impetus to finally begin to write this blog.
Through my musings on diversity itself, I have come to further conclusion that this concept goes far beyond the inclusion of the minorities listed above. Bias shows up everyday in far more ways than we’d like to admit. I️ think of it as snap judgements born of our desire to rank ourselves above others. And when you actually start paying attention, we do it all the time.
Both our personalities and our experiences shape our beliefs and thought processes. That’s nature and nurture playing games with us all day long. It is within that space where true conflict sits. It’s also the domain from which true connection blooms; when someone comes from the same place as we do, i.e. “That person really gets me.” But it is also the abyss where prejudice resides as well.
Part of being mindful is being aware of the thoughts, feelings and judgements that pop up in our heads and understanding their somewhat fleeting nature and the roots from which they grow. Past that, it is our responsibilities to check ourselves when we get out of line, even if only in our heads. Everyone has a story. We can not allow our bias to get in the way of collaborating with others to solve real problems. When we truly open our ears, to even those who entertain thought processes far different from our own, we grow. And our growth as human beings collectively is our only true hope for enriching humanity as a whole.