Does Diversity Breed Peace?
“Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of justice”. I remember hearing this quote for the first time and thinking about how much sense it made to me after really processing those words.
There are plenty of people who have acknowledged being at peace by knowing that they were “fighting” for the right thing. The flip side of that is true also. There are many who are not in physical conflicts, but are never really at peace knowing there are inequities and/or injustices taking place in his or her group, team or organization. I guess that’s where the term “no justice, no peace” comes from. Is diversity the answer to a more peaceful and harmonious workplace and society?
Diversity alone may not be the solution, but coupled with inclusion, it’s a great start. Although we all live in the same America, we have not all experienced America the same. This is a good thing. The more diverse the experiences of a team or group, then the more diverse the perspectives and potential solutions to a challenge will be. Including diverse perspectives based on the different experiences of this multicultural, multigenerational, dual gender society that we live in has become an absolute must. If you are not including a diverse perspective as a part of your solutions process, then don’t expect to resonate with American consumers. As a matter of fact, by displaying a lack of diversity, you may be brought up on charges of “disturbing the peace”, at least within your organization and/or greater community.
As the saying goes, men lie and women lie, but numbers don’t lie. And the numbers tell us how diverse America is. Because of this diversity that is already in place, it’s baffling to employees, consumers and citizens as to why this diversity is not more readily reflected in different organizations when making decisions that impact those of diverse backgrounds and lifestyles. When companies are not inclusive of the diversity that is available to them, this disturbs the peace of employees and consumers. It does so because it sends a message that only the experiences and perspectives of whatever culture, race, gender or generation is represented at the table is the only opinion that really matters. Is that the case? Maybe – maybe not, but that’s the perception. How do you change that perception?
Recognize that you have biases and prejudices. We all have them. Having biases and prejudices doesn’t make anyone a bad person. Where we fall short is not being open enough and/or comfortable enough to acknowledge that we have them and taking the steps to minimize any damaging behavior, choices and neglect that they might cause.
Most organizations do not set out to disturb the peace. It’s not intentional or malicious in any way. We all make decisions based mostly on our experiences. We are all the sum of our experiences. With that in mind, if everybody at the table looks like you, went to the same types of schools as you, has similar backgrounds as you and thinks like you, then chances are you are not going to appeal to or understand the needs, interests, likes, fears, concerns, drivers or experiences of many of your multicultural, multigenerational employees and consumers. So, does diversity breed peace? My response is yes, but only when you are inclusive of the diversity that is available to you.
Companies interested in learning more about TRUACCESS and this important topic and other Inclusion related case studies are invited to attend TMA’s Inclusion Summit on September 9th -10th at the Venalble LLP, Washington, D.C.- See more at: the-tma.org/diversity-inclusion