I admit the title of this post was a bit over the top (okay, way over the top).
I feel like when most people hear the word "diversity," they think Oh g-d, he's not going to rant about white privilege, being nicer to disabled people, or rave about some new religious animal-worshiping cult... is he? SO uncomfortable.
Well, the answer is "hell, no," I am not going to talk about any of that stuff. But I've been researching the b'jesus out of "diversity," because of the new direction of The i'Mpossible Project (not to mention our new book with fifty "diverse" stories), and because I've been traveling a lot the past four years to forty-one U.S. states, Canada, Mexico, Australia, and England. I've had conversations with thousands of different people, with diverse backgrounds, religions, accents, skin colors, genders, sexual orientations, and even colloquialisms (it's not just po-TAY-toe vs. po-TAH-toe anymore, baby). It's pretty incredible how many great people live in this world... and how terrible we can all be sometimes at communicating with one another. Petty disagreements over parenting styles or freedom of some kind of choice turn into icy cold shoulders and even war when an "agree to disagree" would do just fine.
But the fact is: diversity makes us more innovative and better innovators. There is a world of information from people we've never met on new parenting techniques, how to get your spouse to try spicy food, how to make a thirty year marriage fire on all cylinders, or how to reintegrate rehabilitated ex-convicts into society and the workplace.
How do we make diversity a priority?
At school we can:
- Make sure all students have access to the same quality of resources, regardless of race, class, religion, disability, or sexual orientation.
- Foster an environment and even create events where students learn about other races, cultures, genders, and ethnicities.
In the workplace we can:
- Create coalitions to give a voice to whatever *minority exists in the workplace (*think outside the box here. If I was the only straight guy working in sales for a gay cruise company, then I would be the minority.)
- Create an environment where it is acceptable to disclose a mental health condition to employers and to receive paid time off to receive treatment for such a condition, much as one would for cancer or another physical health condition.
Diversity helps open the channels of healthy communication. And healthy communication leads to cooperation and ultimately to peace and prosperity.