I recently attended a session that talked about the opportunity to respond to fear and hatred with generosity.
These words struck me, and in thinking about the things that we hear and experience, and how if we don't know we don't know. It is important as we go through our lives to be curious and learn about the experience of others. This learning will inform future decisions and actions but often threatens reality as we know it.
When we look at the opportunities for inclusion, when we start by understanding that others don't know what they don't know, then we have the opportunity to help them know. It's a powerful opportunity to help others learn and to share the experiences we've come across and assisting them on their learning journeys.
When I read stories this week that strike me as ignorant, racist or discriminatory, it makes me hope these occur only because people don't know what they doesn't know and that it's an opportunity for them to learn. We see examples of this with religious or cultural examples nearly daily in the media. The recent example of the Quebec Education Minister suggesting that Malala could teach here if she removes her headscarf. When I encounter situations of racism against Indigenous people, I hope that is because they don't understand or they haven't had the opportunity to learn the truths. When I encounter biases in the workplace, that I see and I articulate and then I have to stand up against, I hope its because it's an unconscious bias and with the right opportunity they can be challenged, discussed and overcome.
It is my hope that if we create the opportunity for generosity as the response to fear and hatred, then we have the opportunity to teach about diversity. The opportunity for people to learn, to evolve, to understand what our similarities are and what connects us. If we are patient with them while they take that journey, then we have an opportunity to create a more inclusive society.
Andrea Carey is a Canadian Certified Inclusion Professional (CCIP), holds a Masters of Education in Leadership Studies and is an inclusion instigator. She brings extensive experience in business operations, facility management, human resources, strategic planning, marketing, group facilitation and in product development. Her passionate and engaging approach to inclusion provides a platform to understand the challenges, develop a strategy that aligns the organization’s needs with global trends and connects them to tools to ensure successful implementation. She works with Sport for Life Society on inclusion and improved access for participants in sport and physical activity; as a volunteer with the Canadian Paralympic Committee as a Board Director and Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee; and with INclusion INcorporated to support clients to create cultures of belonging and inclusion where everyone can thrive.