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Stop and Look Both Ways

     There comes a time in your life when you encounter individuals whose opinions differ from your own. This does not discount the fact that there is an opportunity to have dialogue regarding what might be a divisive topic. Just because of that fact doesn’t mean you should shy away from having discourse, embrace the uncomfortable. There are many sensitive subjects circulating the media currently and not all might feel they have the space to converse and express their opinions. 


     According to Reid in “Why Diversity without Inclusion Is Tokenism”, “What steps have you taken to be actively and intentionally inclusive in your social space?….It takes courage, honesty and consistency. It takes a little vulnerability too. Dropping the ego and perfectionism and being open and able to receive feedback, evaluate, adapt and take action. Constantly.” 


But where do we start? 

There are a few simple strategies to become more aware of inclusivity and giving those around you the space to speak: 


- Listen more and talk carefully 

  • Don’t dismiss others contributions 

  • Address the person you’re speaking with accurately 

  • Try not to react but actively listen and respond when it's your time 

- Challenge stereotypes 

  • Recognize unconscious bias 

  • What is the goal of the conversation?

  • What is our common interest?

  • Where are your insecurities coming from? 

- Acknowledge your privilege 

  • “Privileges generally are not created at a personal level. Rather they are the products of the artificial divisions that are perpetuated by the structures, systems, and institutions that exist in our world” (FairForce Co., 2019).

- Stay open and curious. Don’t fear mistakes 

  • The age-old saying that “you learn from your mistakes” is inherently true 

  • There’s no linear path to understanding everything in this ever growing and ever changing world, just do your best.  It's a process, a reflection. 


Happy conversing! 



References


FairForce Co. “7 Ways to Be More Inclusive in Your Everyday Life.” Medium, Medium, 25 July 2019, medium.com/@fairforceberlin/7-ways-to-be-more-inclusive-in-your-everyday-life-9af5ee018372.


Reid, Nova. “Why Diversity without Inclusion Is Tokenism.” LinkedIn, Nova Reid, 10 July 2019, www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-diversity-without-inclusion-tokenism-nova-reid/.



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