Are You Doing Your Best to Be Inclusive and Embrace Diversity?
Published on September 24, 2019, at 10:26 a.m.
by Jenna Dalton.
When you don’t do your best to include people who are different from you, you end up lacking different perspectives that can make a campaign better by connecting with increasingly diverse audiences. Whether it’s a large company like H&M making the critical mistake of dressing a black boy in a hoodie that said “coolest monkey in the jungle,” a Dallas police officer who shot her black neighbor in his own apartment, claiming that she thought it was her apartment and that he was an intruder, or not considering a disabled person by making assumptions about their abilities, not including people of diverse backgrounds is a critical mistake.
One day, I was talking about this problem with my roommate, who is black. We were talking about how, in her experience, some people are racist but don’t intend to be. Most people just don’t realize that they are not working in a diverse workplace or that things they say and do are not culturally sensitive. It’s just that sometimes people are more ignorant to this problem.
The necessity of diversity and inclusion is especially important when working in public relations because the public eye will be on your company. You’re the one that is going to have to go into crisis mode when people start realizing that your employees are all the same gender or race or have all the same abilities.
What can you do to be more inclusive?
Here are a few quick ideas to be more inclusive and welcome diversity:
Be more thoughtful. Think of the golden rule: Treat others how you want to be treated. Imagine you’re at work when you see a group of co-workers talking and having lunch during the lunch break, but they didn’t invite you, so you end up sitting by yourself to eat. No fun, right? Talking to people who are different from you not only is more inclusive and kind but can also help create a more positive work environment.
Be aware of what’s politically correct and what’s not. For example, when I was talking to my roommate, she said that some people still say “African American” instead of “black,” which may be offensive because not everyone of color is from Africa. She also told me about how sometimes, when someone asks where she’s from and they find out it’s not from Africa or the South, people keep probing her with more questions about it, such as “Where are you really from?” Or “Where were you from before that?” Such questions are very offensive.
Triple-check whatever you’re about to say or do. Diversity can give different perspectives to something you might have overlooked if you go in with just your experience. While I don’t know exactly who approved of that H&M ad, I bet that if they asked people of color what they thought of the picture before running it, someone would’ve spoken up and stopped it.
If you have being thoughtful and considerate on the forefront of your mind when at work, your campaigns, group projects, team-building exercises and more will be much more successful.