Diversity, Inclusion, and Questioning Bias: Creating a Better World Starts with Us
We are at turning point that has been a long time in coming. My aim has always been to be inclusive and inspiring/empowering, and that is how I have lived and conducted my business. However, we need to speak out as Community, we need to stand up as Community, and as a business owner and a human, I cannot simply conduct business, treat everyone well, and hope that people know where I stand.
I stand with inclusion, I stand with people not wanting to live their lives in fear. I stand with coming together and supporting and protecting each other. The #BlackLivesMatters movement does NOT mean that other lives do not matter or that Black Lives are more important in the same way “Save the Rainforest” does not mean the rest of the planet is less important. It means that Black Lives are currently in danger, and as humans, we all need to come together to help change this. See or hear something? Call it out. I don’t speak for everyone, but I feel like we need to do this together, as a Community. We have the power to make a difference by taking steps for long-lasting change.
As a multi-racial person(Choctaw, Cherokee, Black, and White) who looks White and was raised in a White family, my experience has been predominantly White. Since I do not look like the stereo-typical mixed-race person(is there really such a thing?) my experiences with racism have most likely been different from people with different skin tones. My personal experience has been that a lot of people frequently judge based on appearance, and reactions have ranged from surprised to disgusted upon learning about my multiracial background. I’ve had difficulty figuring out my words around this. I’ve felt out of place as a multi-racial person, and I’ve learned I’m not alone in this feeling, and that makes me sadder than the feeling itself. I want to live in a world where EVERYONE has not only a seat at the table, but the freedom to use their voice while they are there – regardless of skin tone, gender identity, sexual persuasion, age, relationship, religion, or other things I may be forgetting to include because they are outside of my scope of experience. I want to live in a world where we feel Community as a way to appreciate the amazing differences of perspective and strength that we EACH bring. Each of us deserves respect, opportunity, assistance in reaching our dreams.
Perspectives, self-exploration, learning, and supportive actions are hugely important right now. Bias is everywhere – it shapes our opinions and view of the world. I look White, and I have received the benefits of that, and I have had to take some time to mull over my own biases and look at where they may have come from so I can do the work needed to make changes. So I’ve been giving myself time for exploration and questioning, as well as self-educating, and I’ve found myself in need of a LOT of information. So I’m taking steps to take it in. Since I value learning and inspiring and empowering others, I want to take an opportunity to share and encourage you to learn more as well. There are lots of great posts and lists available for those who want to explore, learn more, challenge their own viewpoints, continue moving on towards a more inclusive World. A couple that have been helpful and interesting that I have found or have received from others:
This is a living document listing great ideas for action steps, links to educational resources, trainings, and places to donate. Whether you are just starting out on the journey of anti-racism or have been on it for a lifetime and are helping others, there are great things to find in this document.
This was put together by Jocelyn Kopac and her team. Jocelyn is a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion trainer for businesses and organisations, as well as being a serial entrepreneur. They want to help everyone come to the table around the uncomfortable topics involved with racism.
I’ve learned that while we all have biases and we all see the world based on our own unique perspective, that is where we need to leave the absolutes. It is dangerous to say “all *insert racial heritage here* people” or “all *insert profession* people.” This creates a blinding effect, and makes us ignore the differences that come with culture, skin color, heritage, and more. If you find yourself in a position where you aren’t sure how to best help, ask someone – it’s a great place to start. And look for the places of love and understanding in yourself when interacting with others – and even with yourself as you find those beliefs that make you uncomfortable and work to challenge and overcome them.
We EACH have the ability to have a positive impact. Jane Goodall was absolutely right. I’d love to sit with you at the table.