Every human being is equal and deserves to be treated as such. However, the world and society, at large, that we have been living in has been under the influence of patriarchy for so long that. Let’s know some Thought-Provoking Questions about Diversity and Inclusion.
- Only certain genders are accepted as the norm,
- One gender is considered to be superior to the other,
- More importance is given to a particular skin color,
- Only heteronormative relations are considered to be ‘normal’.
Because of these misconstructions that they have created, the world we live in divided, cruel, and offensive to those it considers outsiders or the ‘other’ i.e., not part of the mold. To be free from these deceptive illusions we must ask ourselves thought-provoking questions on diversity and inclusion, to ensure that we in no way endorse such bigotry or xenophobia.
Thought-Provoking Questions to Ask Yourself
- Social media and the news are abuzz with the disappearance of influencer Gabby Petito. While much attention and dedication towards solving the cases of missing women are good and much appreciated, unfortunately, the same is not extended to women of non-white colors. This reveals a phenomenon called the “missing white woman syndrome”.
- Research and find out how many missing women cases are registered in your locality. Of which how many are white, black, Asian, or Hispanic? Find out the proportion of each type in both the solved cases and the pending ones. You’ll see a huge difference depending on the color of the missing people.
- Take a step further and research which all missing people cases grabbed such widespread media attention. Again, check the proportion of such cases on the basis of their skin color. You’ll soon notice a pattern wherein more focus and attention is paid to those cases where the victim happens to be a white person. So, the next time such a case grabs your attention look and analyze it through the lens of race.
- Do you spend an unnecessary amount on fairness creams or place a lot of importance on the color of your skin? Self-introspect and ask yourself how this came about? What gave you the impression that fairer skin is equivalent to being more beautiful?
- At the top of your head, how many non-white Disney princesses can you name?
- Have you ever wondered why Disney princess stories always follow the pattern of damsels in distress who require a prince to help them?
- Do you assume a person’s gender and pronouns from their outward appearance?
- How much effort have you put in making sure that you address people by the right pronouns (not using ones you think are right but those pronouns that they identify themselves with)?
- The patriarchal system divided gender into binaries of men, women, and sexuality to just heterosexuality. With the realization that this is not the case and that there are different genders and sexual preferences, it is understandable that it can get confusing. But upon coming to terms with your ignorance, have you put in any effort to unlearn and re-educate yourself about these different LGBTQ+ terms?
- How aware are you of your own biases? Introspect and find out.
- How many actors, actresses, singers, artists, etc., do you know belonging to a different race, gender, and sexuality that have won famous awards?
- How many times have you seen the LGBTQ+ community represented in popular media like films and television shows by the community members themselves?
- How many shows have you come across that focuses primarily on LGBTQ+ characters?
- What cultures and countries of origin do you value? Because that points out a lot about the people you value too. It is important to understand that equality of perception will lead to equality of treatment.
- Charles M. Blow in his article in the New York Times puts out a thought-provoking question when he asks if your heart was broken when the Notre-Dame cathedral burned but were you even aware of the fact that a fire razed Brazil’s oldest science museum resulting in a huge incomparable loss.
Questions to Ask Your Employer about Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
Before you start a new job or even in the case of the workplace you are currently involved with, research and find out how diverse and inclusive your company is. The more open and inclusive they are, the more humane they will be. Such companies will always be much easier to work with. Do basic research or ask the hiring manager of your company to figure out the answers to the following questions.
- Find out the ratio of different genders employed in the top management levels and at the starter entry levels. If you find out that most of the top employees are white men while those at the bottom level are primarily women or people of African, Asian, or Hispanic origin, then chances are you won’t be promoted beyond a certain level if you do not fit certain categories, primarily that of being a white heterosexual male.
- These companies seem diverse and inclusive because at a glance they employ people from various backgrounds and preferences. But what needs to be looked at closely are the position of these people at the company and how much they are able to ascend the hierarchy. This will provide proof of whether the company is actually inclusive or does token gestures for the sake of its image and reputation.
- Research and find out if any of the top executives or managers of the company are famous or especially infamous. In case they have been in the news for sexist or bigoted remarks made by them, or due to sexual assault cases or similar charges pressed against them, investigate how the company responded to such allegations. Did they help hush up such incidents or did they properly deal with them? This will tell you on whose side the company is and whether they will actually protect all of their employees.
- Does the company have a working harassment redressal council?
- Do they have the policy to protect their LGBTQ+ staff and policies that ensure their protection against discrimination?
- Is there equal pay for all or does a pay gap exist within the organization?
Questions to Ask Your Employee about Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
It is important as a business owner or as an employer/ manager that you enable an open and inclusive environment for your workers. This will ensure better productivity and morale at the workplace.
- Why do you think we should care about diversity and inclusion?
- Do you have a problem working with people from other races, genders, or communities?
- Would you have a problem taking directions from i.e., having to work under a person belonging to another race, gender, or community?
- What is your opinion on consent and privacy?
- Do you feel that there is adequate representation from diverse sections within the organization?
- Do you feel that opinions from all sections get valued equally?
- Do you feel represented and heard within the organization?
Understanding Diversity and Inclusiveness through an Example
To better understand why diversity is important, let us take an example. Once an eagle sitting on the windowsill of a man’s house. The man, who had never seen such a bird before, captured it and remarked on how ugly it looked. He removed and “fixed” all those parts he considered wrong, the curved hook in the beak of the bird, its talons, etc., and then released it into the wild remarking that now it was beautiful. However, this meant that the bird would not survive in the wild for long.
The man altered the bird to suit what he thought was best. This is often what happens in the case of human beings as well. Certain people have a set of norms under which people should function and anyone responding differently is altered and made to fit those categories. But what needs to be understood is that what you think best will not always be what is best for another. Each person has different perceptions of what is beautiful and what suits them. So, don’t force people to suit the categories you think are appropriate.
Understanding Terms- Bigotry, Xenophobia, White Woman Missing Syndrome
Bigotry refers to an unreasonable attachment towards a particular belief or ideology and refusal of acceptance of others for not fitting within those beliefs.
Xenophobia is prejudice towards people from other countries. Believing in the superiority of one’s own country and looking down on people from other countries who live there.
White woman missing syndrome refers to the disproportionate coverage given when the missing person tends to be a white able-bodied upper-class woman. In contrast to this, missing black, Asian or Hispanic origin women aren’t given the same media attention or coverage.
With the world filled with so much hate, it is up to us to make it as kind and cruel-free as possible for those around us. Allowing people to be who they wish to be without categorizing them into different boxes and labels will allow people to live happier healthier lives, more in tune with themselves. Thus, for a more diverse, happy world, we must ask these thought-provoking questions to ourselves, our employers, employees, and the community at large, and self-introspect once in a while.