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Diversity and Inclusion: Where is it Coming From?

Let’s take a moment to lay a bit of context to figure out how to have diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

First some context

I am not a feminist.

Even though I have felt first hand there patronising attitude of men who didn’t think I was as good as them and have been paid to do jobs the same as my male counterparts as well as delivering often better quality.I do not fight for the right of ethnic minorities.

I am not a racial activist.

Even though I have been glared at and looked down on for being brown, been grouped in to populations that are frowned on for taking advantage of government support/financial aid and stereotyped for what I will be when I grow older, or just for not being white.

No I am not these things.

I am a humanist.

I believe we are all one and we are all equal. To believe anything else, the only person that would suffer is me.

My observations

In the last few months I have been reading articles, attending webinars and watching training videos on diversity and inclusion. Being back in the corporate world, with diversity and inclusion high on my organisation’s agenda, I wanted to raise my awareness on what the current thinking is and how equality for all is being promoted in business.

There are some interesting things that have been expressed, but in the most part it’s disappointing to see that messages are coming from a place of pain or “positive action” being pushed by playing a hand of ‘fear of repercussions’.

To promote equality must we tear down the group or people that are believed to be favoured, in power or seen as better?

Absolutely not.

How does that make a discriminated group any better as human beings?

Acting in this way, allowing negative feelings to drive intentions, thoughts, actions and beliefs doesn’t seek to have a win-win situation.

My perspective

For me, achieving diversity and inclusiveness in the workplace is a win-win situation.

Here’s a little bit of science/psychology behind why this is a much more supportive and effective outcome.

The prior, where we use negative emotions (from negative experiences and events) to be our driver, we operate from a place of stress – stress on body, mind and spirit. Operating from here, not only do we do further harm to ourselves, it is also much less ineffective than operating from space of compassion and kindness.

Now I know, some people will read this and think that I’m wrong and that of course they are operating from a place of kindness and compassion. Here’s a little more science for that. Consciously you may believe this to be true, but if you have been discriminated against for anything and it has caused you a negative emotional response, and then it’s happened again and again…and then you’ve even had the same emotional response but to something entirely non-discriminatory…you’ve been creating and then deepening your neural wiring of that feeling and emotional response (subconscious level programming, what makes you, you). Embedding into your core, creating your personality and your attitude. You know personality, that thing that we don’t give feedback on because it’s what make us, us…

What’s more effective?

If as ‘the discriminated’, the core belief is that we are equal.

If as the accused ‘discriminator’, the core belief is that we are all equal.

And now, imagine for a moment the abundance of other benefits that come with having a belief so giving, so kind and compassionate.

How do you operate from a place of kindness and compassion when you’ve experienced all that pain and hurt?

You forgive, you accept and let go. Free yourself of the shackles of your past experiences, let go of your emotional baggage so that you can be your true self (you’re real personality!) – which is innately good, positive, kind, compassionate and loving. If you believe diversity is good for business, really and truly embrace all of diversity – this isn’t just about promoting fairness for minority groups, this is about promoting fairness no matter what!

Not only is this a healthier way for you to live, but it makes the world a more enjoyable place to be.

To attract and build equality and inclusiveness you must be equal and inclusive.

One simple rule to follow…

Be the change you wish to see in the world. ~ Gandhi.

Bhavna Patel