The other day, I came across a baby clothing brand that I absolutely LOVED. They were having a major sale and I wanted to purchase a large haul until I decided to check out their social media. I went to their feed and I scrolled for minutes before I could find any babies or kids that looked like mine. As I continued to look, although I could see kids of color on the page, I immediately felt it was to show diversity, but not necessarily inclusion. Needless to say, I made the decision that those clothes weren’t for us.
Diversity is important but it’s only the first step in the decision of representation.
Diversity obliges out of necessity, where inclusion is compelled out of morals.
Inclusion will stop you in your tracks to ask if all people have space in this place?
Inclusion will have you ask if any type of person, any race, gender or body type can see themselves in your product.
Inclusion will stop you from talking so you can take in the messages, views & opinions of others.
Inclusion will refuse a speaking gig or conference appearance if you know those around you who are just as talented & gifted are being paid less.
Inclusion is the check & balance that keeps us from being set in our ways, comfortable & lazy about doing the work to include others who may not be or think, or feel or exist in the world exactly as we do and its work as creatives, makers, small business owners, content creators & conference hosts should be willing to do.
I don't have all of the answers, but I do know there are ways that we can hold ourselves accountable to do better, because some of us walk through the world painfully aware of just how much of it we don't belong in, and that shouldn't still be in this progressive world of ours.
So if you’re looking to improve, here are two simple questions to start with:
Does my product, content or event reflect the community or world that I live in?
Could a person who is coming across my work for the first time find themselves reflected back consistently in what I am presenting to them?
At the end of the day, we all want to belong and know that who we are, AS WE ARE, is enough to do so.
There are two powerful pieces of work by two incredible women that are worth checking out if you want to dive deeper into understanding this idea of inclusion.
One is a powerful Ted Talk by Luvvie Ajayi entitled " Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable" that you can view here and the other is a beautiful story of restoration by The Iman Project that you can access here. Both are very different circumstances and examples but still support this idea of inclusion. Head over and get some really incredible free education.
Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation when making a purchase, or wanting to be a part of a community? Did you speak up or stay quiet?
What are some ways you practice inclusivity?
I would love to hear your experience and answers to the questions above. Vulnerability is where we all grow and rise to the occasion.
With strength, courage and wisdom,