An important question I asked often is: What is diversity and why is it important?
I believe that diversity means strength in difference. Diversity includes everyone, encompassing the differences between groups, among groups, and within our own identities. I embrace diversity as an asset in my relationships with others as I seek to foster equity and inclusiveness.
I have put together a video below to explain how diversity can add value to your life, your business and the world.
Lesson 1: What is Diversity and Why Is It Important?
Follow along with the Closed Captions Below
Hello and welcome to this course.
I’m going to kick us off by giving you
some of the most important pieces
of information that you need
to get through and learn,
some deep understandings of diversity.
The first question is,
“What is diversity
and why is it important?”
I’m going to tackle this
by looking at
these three concentric circles
right here on your left hand side.
You exist in connection to other people,
so that have you in the center,
and then on the outside
your immediate family or relationships,
whether those be friends or family.
So you exist in connection
to those people.
However, they exist
in connection to others as well,
and so you have yourself, your family,
and then your broader society.
Now, why this is important,
is because you act in ways,
as we all do, to shape the outcomes
of your close connections,
as they do for you.
You act to shape those outcomes,
and in turn,
those people are shaping
the outcomes of the society, right?
So I’ll give you an example.
In places where people come up with
an amazing idea,
they share it with their family,
and sometimes that idea
can ultimately lead
to global governmental changes, right?
And so that’s the impact
that you as an individual can have
on the close connections around you,
and ultimately the society around you.
However, in the same way,
the society shapes the ways
in which our close connections operate.
And those close connections in turn
shape the way we operate.
So think about perhaps growing up,
how certain things that you do
were put inside of you, or…
you learned those habits and techniques
from those closest to you.
But the truth is that many of them
learned those same things from others.
And so that’s how the society
and the individual relate to each other.
The reason why diversity is so important,
is because understanding the way
these things operate
can make us more effective,
and can help us understand
ourselves that much better.
a deeper understanding of yourself,
and how you, your…
experience of being influenced and shaped
from the family and society,
can help you be
incredibly successful at work,
and can help you build
stronger family relationships.
And so that is one of the core reasons
why diversity is important.
It’s the ways in which
we can operate in the world
which is made up of multiple people
of different perspectives.
And how we can be
both culturally sensitive, affirming,
and, in the work place, productive.
So with that information
let’s talk a little bit about…
some diversity myths.
These are some of the key things
that people say often about diversity.
And these might be on your mind
before you’re getting started
in this course.
I’m going to debunk them right here.
And the rest of the course
I’m going to do is
spend time with you working through
some of the main components.
So I hope you’re excited.
Myth number one.
Diversity only applies to women
OK, let’s debunk this.
Diversity is not only
about certain groups.
a man for example, like myself.
I am both a middle-class man,
I exist in a city and not a rural area,
I have a certain religion,
I am of a certain age,
I speak a certain language,
I have a certain nationality.
And each of these things
makes me diverse in certain places.
Makes me different in certain places.
Therefore, because I have
these differences, and so do you,
diversity applies to all of us.
Right? It doesn’t just apply
to certain groups of people.
So that’s myth number one, debunked.
Myth number two.
Diversity is a new phenomenon.
Diversity is not a new phenomenon.
If you look at the world map,
we have over 8.5 billion people
in this world.
All of them are different
and have strengths in different areas.
And so diversity is not a new phenomenon
we’re just talking about it
in a way that is inclusive,
in a way that brings people together.
In the past, if you think about
the history of colonialism and slavery,
there has been a very big push
to push out any kinds of difference.
And what diversity is doing
is naming the fact that the reality is
that we have a lot of difference already.
That’s myth two, debunked.
Myth three: Diversity equals deficiency.
This is probably one of the biggest myths.
Diversity is actually a strength.
Think about the fact
that when you have people
of diverse backgrounds on a team,
the creativity, the adaptability
and the innovation increases dramatically.
Once you learn the skills to communicate,
to understand the ways
in which culture operates,
you can then use those skills
in a productive way to produce outcomes.
The problems in the world
have been created by a certain mindset.
And it takes diversity
to shift that mindset
and create new solutions.
So that’s myth three, debunked.
Myth four: Diversity equals divisiveness.
It is not diversity
that equals divisiveness,
it is the way we approach diversity
that divides us.
Through this course you
will learn skills to bring you together,
to make sure that diversity
is actually inclusiveness,
that diversity is actually a strength.
And so divisiveness comes from the way
in which we interpret difference.
Inclusiveness comes from the way
we embrace difference.
Number five: Diversity is to be feared.
Once again: Diversity, difference,
we are all different in multiple ways.
I listed a number of them
in the beginning of this slide.
If we were ostracized, or…
oppressed based on
all the different identities,
we would have 8.5 billion people
would be living in isolation.
The truth is, diversity is something
to be embraced.
It is something to be…
utilized as a strength,
and our human capacity
can be exponentially accelerated
based on the ways
in which we deal with each other,
and the ways in which we work together.
So myth five, completely debunked.
In the next parts of this course,
we’re going to be diving
into the diversity and leadership,
we’re going to be looking
at anti-bias training.
We’re going to be looking at ways in which
you can transform your organization
to be inclusive,
to bring people together,
to be productive members of society,
and to have some fun along the way.
I hope you are enjoying
this course so far,
and I look forward to seeing you
in the next lesson.