From the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this post, which I have re-blogged in its entirety –
“I used to use the word diversity all the time. Now, I’ve learned to use the word inclusiveness.” (Oprah) I live in a community which is very diverse…over 60 different languages spoken in the homes of our high school families. Oprah reminds us that it’s possible to be diverse without being inclusive. “Inclusive” is an action word, to reach out and welcome in. We are not really a community, a church, a neighborhood without being inclusive. ;-) Jack
The change noted in Oprah’s quote is one of perspective. Instead of being “outside looking in” at how things are, as the word diversity allows us to do; the word inclusiveness forces the perspective of being inside and taking action to be a part of what is going on all around us.
Pivoting is the term de jure in business and political vernacular this year. Literally it is used to mean making a change in direction or opinion about something, but is used to make the speaker seem somehow more businesslike or serious. In politics pivoting allows a candidate to change directions without seeming to be wishy-washy on something. The candidate can say that, “I didn’t change my mind on that, I pivoted.” Whatever, it is still a change of direction or mind.
One reason that some diehards are finally pivoting from the use of diversity to espousing inclusiveness is that inclusiveness allows them to remain somewhat relative and influential in the conversation or events that are happening, rather than being labeled as old fashion or accused of fighting a rear guard action against the inevitable demographic changes that are happening in our society. They have realized that they can join the movement or be by-passed by it, if they are hunkered down in their foxholes trying to resist the changes. In U.S. politics those foxhole resisters are the ones gerrymandering political districts to try to avoid being overrun by the demographic changes. Those “safe districts” are their foxholes and they are hunkered down in them.
Jack points out that it is possible to be diverse without being inclusive. It is pretty much impossible these days to be inclusive without also being diverse. There are certainly communities and even whole countries that have populations that are relatively homogeneous in their ethnic makeup; however, even in those cultures there is both some diversity (whether it be in class or religion or other characteristics) and most have achieved some level of inclusiveness. Some have not and we have seen the use of “ethnic cleansing” in many of those places, whether it is driven by differences in ethnicity or religion.
Events around the world and the massive movement of people throughout the world constantly force the reexamination of the characterization of people using the terms “Us” and “Them”. More and more of “Them” are joining the ranks of “Us”, such that the “Us” population is rapidly growing while the “Them” population is becoming smaller and less relevant. The sooner we get to an understanding that it all of “Us” that have to learn to live together the better.
So perhaps, instead of building walls to keep “Them” out; we should be working on strategies and programs to help all of “Us” have better and more productive lives. We need not only to pivot to using the word inclusiveness; but, also to start living inclusive lives. Just keep an eye out for the foxholes dwellers. There are some really frightened and angry people living in those holes. The challenge for Us is to figure out a way, not to by-pass Them, but to include them, too. Sometimes it ain’t easy being inclusive, but in all times that is better than the alternative. Let’s keep expanding “Us” until there is no more “Them”.
Have a great and inclusive week ahead.