Oh, hello there! I’m Tiffany. Tiffany Thomas, not Haddish just to be clear. I write how I talk and most times I have to resist the urge to begin sentences with “and”, “or”, and “but” because that’s how I speak. And (<===see what I did there), I believe in diversity. Why can’t conjunctions be leaders of sentences too, just like 98% of the other words out there? Nonetheless, I am a black, 32 year old married lesbian who recently cut her hair bald…. and wears it bald- just in case you’re wondering or cared just a little. I could basically check 4,857 diversity boxes, yet for so many of my “good years” I never resisted the urge to fit in. In fact, it was always a goal of mine to be a tiny particle of a well blended milkshake rather than the shiny maraschino cherry on top!
….Wellllll until now that is! “First Inclusion, Then Diversity” is the world as I see it with lots of randomness in between. Typically it will all be tied to inclusion and diversity in some way, or at least that’s the plan. Who we are is a major aspect of where we are and why we are, so our differences have to celebrated- all 4,857 of our differences!
So why this title? Because diversity ALWAYS comes before inclusion! Like “i before e except after c”, issa rule. Really though, it is an actual phrase with its own pretty little D&I acronym and all! There are: mashed potatoes and gravy, ups and downs, pros and cons and now diversity and inclusion. Have you ever heard someone say “cons and pros” or “pass the pepper and salt”? You probably have not, and if so, it would make you think, “why the heck are they saying it backward?” Well, THAT’S HOW I FEEL ABOUT INCLUSION AND DIVERSITY!
I think we are saying and doing it all wrong! Do I really want to come to the party (diversity) if I keep showing up and never get the opportunity to dance (inclusion)? Many of our companies, organizations, friend groups, churches, etc. lack visual diversity because we are missing the inclusive mentality. We are not asking people to dance and perhaps that’s because we don’t know how to dance ourselves. Let me be clear, we don’t know how to be inclusive because we don’t know what it literally looks like or how to do it. However, inclusion is a basic finger snap and a body roll, we just have to learn how to catch the beat (I can’t let go of this dance metaphor). We have to be willing to try new things, step out of our comfort zones and begin with an open mind, which is why I now love eggplant parmesan- something I would have NEVER EVER tried before (“randomness in between” inserted here)!
I want to talk about food, love, people, experiences, gender, sexuality and things I know very little about but want to explore all in the name of First Inclusion, Then Diversity.
What are your thoughts, what comes first? Inclusion or diversity?