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Taking Responsibility: Diversity & Inclusion



Each day a new event emerges in the news about an organization reacting to a Diversity & Inclusion (D&I)- related issue. The effect is high impact. The reaction sends a message out that begs to be judged and acted upon.


So, what is happening? Have we reached a threshold where our social mores, those that are constructed by news sources, say that it’s not ok to prevent access based on a racial bias? Or, do these events gather attention to the media?


It’s both/and.


In their book, New Power (2018), Henry Timms and Jeremy Heiman discuss how the #MeToo movement is based on the new power provided by crowdsourcing, social media campaigns and decentralisation made possible by access through digital technologies and a value base of collaboration, participation and transparency. I’ve been looking at the D&I media events in the same light. Of course, the abuse of (gender-based) power revealed through the #MeToo phenomenon is a D&I issue. Racially-biased events are also taking their place in the digital landscape. But behind these events, what are organizations DOING about the fact that they exist?


I have yet to be convinced that the reporting of these events is any more than a reaction and a call for cultivating viewers and “likes.” A reaction is instantaneous. Reactions are driven by beliefs, biases, and prejudices. Usually, these are not conscious. They are acted upon without much thought. A reaction is based in the moment. Further, it doesn’t take into consideration long term effects. Little follow-up is done on these stories. The impact of the events is rarely investigated.


What we need is to Respond to each other. To be respons-able. Able to respond. A response differs from a reaction in several ways. First, it takes the consequences on the event into account. To do so, it takes time to consider and to take implications into account. Second, it is not fueled by raw emotion. The emotion of the moment has been made conscious and lost its sting in that it is integrated with thought. Finally, it takes others well-being into consideration.


Key to the discernment between reaction and response is the poise that is required to respond. Where a reaction is instantaneous, a response requires grace, balance and control to process. To cultivate, humane responses to events that are racially-based we need to be poised to respond. With poise, we are able to tease out the implications of these events and identify what needs to change to limit negative consequences and stop them from being repeated. In so doing, these events can be narrated to provoke resonance so that many people can relate to them

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We are responsible to each other and for each other. We must be able to respond and that takes poise. A daily mindfulness practice can help you respond more and react less.


Contact me to learn about training. I offer to Establish a Meditation Practice at Home: Mindfulness Basics at margot@margothovey.com

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© 2019 by Margot Hovey, PhD