A recent email message said, “It seems like every time I read the news, there is some story about racism, homophobia, transphobia, bigotry, agism, gender discrimination. What’s going on? In the “old days “ you didn’t hear about all of this discrimination. It’s because people are overly sensitive. You can’t say anything without being accused of wrong doing.” The sender complained that it was people like me who talk about diversity that are creating the problem by focusing on differences. (Because no one would ever notice that we weren’t all the same?)
And I have to agree, the sender was right; 30 years ago you didn’t hear about all this discrimination because-
1- Racism, homophobia, transphobia, gender discrimination, etc. were more accepted, unless you were one of the people at the other end of the bigotry, but few people listened to you anyway.
2- There was no internet so unless it was in the newspaper or the evening news no one heard about it. And since, it was more accepted, it wasn’t worth mentioning.
3- We didn’t have the so- called mainstream support that we have now, with celebrities speaking out against racism, companies like Target refusing to back down on transgender bathrooms, and even pro-athletes supporting same-sex marriage.
To the person who says that those of us involved in diversity and inclusion are the cause of all the problems, that we are creating divisions by talking about differences, and everyone was getting along “so well,” before we came along,” I have to say, “the country, the business world and our communities are better off because of our work. We’ve helped bring the issues of racism, discrimination, homophobia, etc. to the mainstream; we’re willing to be uncomfortable if it means that ultimately people will be more comfortable together. We’re curious and want to learn more about differences. We’re even more excited to find so many commonalities in our multiple identities that bring us togeither. We also know that our work makes us all part of the greater good. and that we all can fit under the greater umbrella of humanity. So let’s keep diversity and inclusion alive in every part of our work and our lives.