Ok, so lets inspect this idea a little further. I had a friend ask: “Are you seriously comparing diversity and inclusion to partying and dancing? Lets face it, if inclusion were REALLLLYYY that simple, the problem wouldn’t even exist in the first place.” My answer was short: “Uhhhhh, yeaahhh- because the problem is still prevalent and polarizing. We have proven methods, free education about it, and the information is more accessibility than ever before … and people are STILL getting it all wrong!” Just to be clear, I was solely talking about dancing!
At some point or another, we have all seen someone dancing, or at least that’s what they called it, and thought to ourselves: “What the heck are they doing? I mean, I’m not saying I’m an expert, but I sure as hell know dancing isn’t supposed to be done like THAT!” Or when someone is trying to be inclusive and starts the conversation with “Oh you’re Asian? I went to China once!” or “Oh, I bought you a book about plantations. I mean, you are colored right?” We aren’t experts, but we sure as hell know inclusion isn’t suppose to be done like THAT!
Yet, it does and did happen…. both the statements (yes, the book gifting actually happened to me) and the bad dancing! How? Because people aren’t trying hard enough, or maybe trying too hard. Inclusion isn’t that difficult, but it does take a little effort- especially if you have no idea where to begin, just like dancing! If you don’t know what to do on the dance floor and you’re about to do the Running Man to a slow moving country love song by Blake Shelton, stop yourself… and then start with a finger snap and a little body roll. If you feel yourself about to tell your African coworker that you had a friend in the 4th grade from Africa, stop yourself… and then start with a finger snap and a little body roll. Well not literally, that would most likely be very weird and awkward- unless of course you work in a dance studio. However, the finger snap could be: “Hey, how was your weekend?” and the body roll could be a follow up question like: “What did you do?” Before you know it, you go from finger snapping to break dancing. Maybe not that drastic, but you get my point!
The same way that dancing feels good and people want to do it whether they’re good at it or not, is the way we should look at inclusion. Except inclusion is easier because there is no literal rhythm required. It just takes a little courage and a lot of respect. If you can do a little finger snap with a hint of a body roll (EVERYONE can do this move), you can do inclusion- it’s just a matter of being willing to dance and saying “yes” when asked!