Diversity is good for everyone.
Let me repeat that.
DIVERSITY IS GOOD FOR EVERYONE.
I am really working on becoming better educated in issues surrounding race, sexuality, gender and privilege. I want to know more and be able to take part in the conversation in an informed, intelligent way. I am sure that I will get it wrong but I want to try. I think it is important to try. A really important conversation about diversity is going on right now. We have this amazing opportunity to learn about each other and make the world a more inclusive, accepting place. Sounds great, right?
Apparently not everyone thinks so.
I can’t quite understand how we are living in 2017 and there are still people who don’t recognize that privilege is a thing and that we need more diversity in books, movies, TV etc etc etc. I would imagine that people take that conservative attitude because they are scared. I suppose they worry that, by including more people in the conversation, they will be written out and ignored. Hence this blog post giving my two cents worth.
Diversity is not about exclusion. Your voice still matters even if you are the embodiment of privilege (i.e. a white, straight, cisgender, middle class male). Everyone’s voice matters in a diverse world because we want everyone to be represented, happy and cared for. Is this a bit of a hippy approach? Maybe – but it’s worth a shot. Even if we never get it quite perfect, at least we can get better.
On that note, privilege is a thing that needs to be recognized if we are going to get anywhere. You are not being criticized for your privilege. Not at all. You are just being asked to recognize your privilege and then use it to support minority groups. Your privilege might be relative. For example, I am a bisexual female. Thus, I belong to two groups that are not adequately represented or equally treated. But I am also white, cisgender and middle class. There is my privilege right there. My privilege does not mean that I don’t also suffer and struggle in my own way. It is not denying the way that I am not privileged. However, I still have an element of privilege and that means that I have a responsibility to learn more about people who’s experience is different to mine. It is my responsibility not to be prejudiced. It is my responsibility to be sensitive to other’s.
When we embrace diversity, everyone benefits. Diversity is good for everyone because it doesn’t take away anything from anyone. It enriches the lives of the privileged by exposing them to new people, new places and new ideas. It allows maligned and ostracized groups to feel seen and to freely live their lives with pride. Hopefully, it helps us work on the issues of class in our society and offer everyone a better future. Why would you want to live in a world where people walk down the street in fear that somebody is going to harass or hurt them? Yes, there will probably always be bad people – but we are also creating people who commit crimes out of anger, pain, self-defense or as a reaction to an unjust system. Maybe we should stop creating those people.
Diversity is good for everyone because it will help to drain the world of much of the hatred that, honestly, is just wasting all of our time. Think of the time we could spend doing more, loving more, living more if we weren’t spending all that time hating other people. I’m sure that our conversations would be much more interesting, for one thing.
I am tired of diversity being up for negotiation. In this day and age it is a non-negotiable. Diversity doesn’t hurt anyone – a lack of diversity does. Let’s start getting this right. In my small corner of the universe I am trying to educate myself, learn more about people who are different to me and trying to figure out how I can be a better ally. I am also trying to figure out how I can better represent groups that I form a part of e.g. women, and LGBTQ+. I haven’t figured it all out yet but, by the sounds of things, none of us have. The great thing is that we can work on it. I’m sure we can all agree that none of us are above that.