How many times did diversity topics come up in your conversations this week? Were there missed opportunities?
On Tuesday, July 22 I received a email from an organization with the subject line “Eid Al-Adha Mubarak”. The text read “ May your day be full of happiness and love.” I supported a day filled with happiness and love, but it would be meaningless to send felicitations and not have some understanding of the holiday being celebrate or observed. I reached out to a Muslim friend to find out more about the observation.
This week, I spoke with a friend who had discovered Netflix series “Pose” and another who reminded me that “Never Have I ever” had begun a second season, giving us the opportunity to acknowledge and express appreciation that the LBGTQ+ and Indian communities were being represented in the media. Media created a window in which we could peek into the lives of others and appreciate how we were different and alike.
A Thursday early evening phone call with an older relative was the highlight of the week. Her cageyness about her whereabouts trigged my implicit bias. Age equaled fragility, right? And, my responsibility was to protect “My Old People”?
I slowed down my runaway thoughts and response and checked myself. I realized that fragility was not a fact with this person and my protection probably felt like smothering and outright disrespect. I fought the desire to control and went with curiosity—listening and asking questions. She was safe and okay and would call me later with an updated status. Did I like it? No, but I could live with it. “My Old People” are older adults who are able and capable of taking care of themselves and will invite my assistance —not my meddling— when they need it. They are related to me. I do not own them or their free will.
Add to the topic and conversation list: promoting neurodiversity to increase innovation when strategic planning, advocating for diversity and representation in the judiciary, and reviewing materials for a teen leadership academy session on generational diversity and intersectionality. In this respect, my week was not unusual. Opportunities to routinely discuss diversity topics are plentiful.
We all have many opportunities to talk about diversity and to promote it along with equity and inclusion.
Sometimes I am the learner. Eid Al-Adha is referred to as the major Muslim holiday. It marks the culmination of the pilgrimage to Mecca and commemorates the willingness of Prophet Abraham to sacrifice his son in his devotion to GOD.
Sometimes I am teacher. Neurodiversity is acknowledging people think differently and there is a value of bringing that variety together to generate innovation.
Both the student and teacher experiences are rewarding. And when I self-check and correct like I did on the age bias, I am reminded that diversity work is a continuing process.
This week be aware and take advantages of the conversation opportunities.