Inclusivity is all about increasing our knowledge and awareness of differences, and our ability to interact with people that are not the same as us.
There are some differences we can easily see because they are visible, such as differences in race or age. There are other differences that are not so visible, such as differences in religion, level of education and sometimes even gender.
When you encounter a person of difference, what meaning do you attach to the difference? When and how did you develop these interpretations and evaluations of these differences?
As humans, we are inclined to want to change others who are different from us. We want others to be like us. In essence, we work to carve or sculpt others different from us to be something more like us.
Understanding diversity and inclusion, on the other hand, embraces acceptance, respect and empathy. It means we understand that each individual is unique and this is OK. The exploration of differences and diversity happens best in a safe, positive and nurturing environment.
This means understanding each other, and treating diverse others as they wish to be treated. We move beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.
When we are open to diversity and differences in others, we are more open and willing to initiate and develop relationships with persons that are different. Practice suspending judgment of those different from you as you develop more dexterity when it comes to diversity and inclusion.