Diversity and Inclusion: Overcoming Indifference and Dissent
Now that the topic of diversity and inclusion has become more “mainstream”, I have been finding myself feeling oddly…indifferent. Those who know me may be surprised. Indeed, I was very perplexed to find myself bored during an International Women’s Day panel presentation around this time last year. It was the first time in over 15 years of passionate engagement and advocacy on the subject that I failed to find even a shred of inspiration in the dialogue taking place. I attended a few more events and discussions over the year, and it was the same. I even brushed off a journalist’s request for me to comment on the rise of racism against Asian Canadians. What was wrong with me? Have I lost hope?
After much serious reflection about the reason for my uncomfortable attitude, I am relieved to say that it is not because of caring less about the issues. On the contrary, my sense of justice has never been stronger.
Unfortunately, I have noticed that the focus of many conversations around D&I seems more digressive than progressive. Rather than talking about solutions and actions that we can take to move forward together, we are still going around in circles blaming and pointing fingers.
I am sorry if I offended anyone with this post. I know that many have suffered immensely, and the injustice deserves to be acknowledged. I am definitely a supporter of efforts to review history and consider the perspectives that were previously marginalized or overlooked.
But what do we actually want to see as reparation? Do we really want to see “the other” suffer and fall? How can we expect our “opponents” to engage with us if we simultaneously need them to stay as they are so we can make a “career” of fighting them?
When a friend asked me whether I still wanted to make a career in D&I, I was surprised by my sudden hesitation. I realized that rather than specializing in dissent, I wanted to be involved in more conversations about solutions. The point is not to make D&I a separate discipline, but an integral part of all decision-making.
The wrongs we have committed are not just from one group against another. These were crimes against all humanity – against the concept of being a wholly diverse and complex human family. None of us can escape from the consequences of our common history, so we might as well find a way to move forward together.