I believe we can end racism, sexism and all other -isms. I believe we can create a world where everyone experiences respect and dignity and can realize the fullness of their gifts for their own health and happiness as well as our collective benefit. I believe equality is not only possible, but also necessary to human evolution.
If not, then that’s the place to start. I’ve heard from various sources lately that they don’t believe change is possible. They don’t believe people can — or will — change. They think inequality, racism and unfairness is just a part of life. The human condition. The way things are.
The people who believed the earth was flat thought the same way. The people that believed in the Divine Right of Kings. The people that believed the British could never be thrown out of the colonies. The people that believed human beings of African descent are morally and mentally inferior to Whites. The people that believed we’d never cross the ocean or land on the moon. The people that believed women aren’t capable enough to vote, be scientists or play Olympic sports. The people that believed the Berlin Wall would never fall, or South African apartheid would never end.
These are not the people that changed the world.
If you work for diversity, equity, and inclusion, yet believe in your heart these aren’t possible and that inequity, competition and exclusion are the human condition, then you are out of integrity. You are also not educated about the examples that exist in history, and even today, of a different way of being. Our way of structuring society, feeding ourselves, educating people, being in families, healing the sick, choosing leaders, experiencing community and doing work is not the only way. Nor is it the best way.
You also have no imagination. We are a species that has generated marvelous works of beauty, genius, engineering, power, and cruelty that first sprouted in our minds. We created pyramids, the statue of David, intercontinental highways, satellite TV, antibiotics, the Great Wall of China, writing, MRIs, ballet, agriculture, Don Quixote, the Internet, Mozart, Exxon Mobil, torture and genocide. These are just a handful of recognizable examples from mostly male and European history.
Will we use our incredible power to destroy, to numb, to distract, to create things that are meaningless that no one really needs? Or will we use this power to create a world that works better … for everyone?
We have the knowledge, skills and resources. We can create a world where human diversity is celebrated, equity a no-brainer, and inclusion a way of life – even if this is something we’ve never experienced. Many of us already know how to create this world. The only thing getting in our way is imagination and commitment. No human had flown in an airplane before the Wrights brothers decided to make it happen. We just have to imagine this new way of being as we first imagined so many truly awe-some creations in our history. Then we just have to decide it’s critically important – maybe even more critical than everyone having smartphones, daily coffee from the other side of the globe and the same three big box stores in our neighborhoods.
In D&I we must get clearer on our vision and act from that vision. We must believe in it, even if we don’t live to see its completion. If we don’t, nothing will change, and a lot needs changing. I was once told that men who fit what I’m looking for in a partner are scarce, and that’s why I haven’t (won’t?) find one. No, I said. If I believe that, I’ll never find him because I won’t recognize him even if he’s in front of my face. Scarcity is an obstacle, but not as big an obstacle as not believing something exists or is possible. That prevents the dream from ever happening.
I’m here to change the world. Are you? If not, then step aside and let pass those of us who are. Evolution is still happening.