Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion are getting quite a bit of attention lately. In addition to being accommodating to all, we also need to be cognizant of our unconscious bias, or the quick conclusions or assumptions we reach. We tend to make our own story about a person, to judge them without knowing all of the information. In Matthew 7:1-2, Jesus tells the disciples, ““Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” So if we are judging others, what are they thinking about us, for we probably aren’t coming across as our best selves if our judgometer (my own word) dial is spinning out of control. I believe we have all been in instances where we are aware of others judging us and perhaps ridiculing things we are saying, doing or looking like. In those instances, we most certainly know it doesn’t feel right. Therefore, it is important to remember to leave our unconscious bias at the door, which is hard to do, since after all, it is “unconscious”. However, I think if we pause and reflect, we really do know when we are quick to make a judging observation that maybe isn’t justified.

For those who may be confused by what diversity and inclusion mean, they really have separate and distinct meanings. Diversity is what you are (race, ethnicity, gender, religion, social class, ethical values, age, national origin) and inclusion is what you do (do you invite and respect others who are not just like you?). Another important consideration to include is “equity” which provides opportunity and network support. If you are inclusive but not equitable, are you really inclusive?

While it is sometimes easier to be around others just like us, with common interests and goals, those actions do not include others and do not support diversity. On the other hand, and as Jesus encourages, when we do welcome diversity, it is only then we can allow everyone to belong and bring their best self forward and grow stronger through our differences. Angelina Jolie stated, “Our diversity is our strength. What a pointless life it would be if everyone was the same.” May we also be inclusive, equitable, and grow from the diversity that provides strength when embraced.

Dear God, help us to not be judging of others. Instead help us to remove the chains of our unconscious bias and be more inclusive to those around us. Help us to be more welcoming and open to diversity acceptance, even in times when it doesn’t seem natural. In all cases, help us to support equality for all and let all voices be heard with thoughtful and open eyes and ears. In your name, we pray. Amen

Wendy

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