We hear a great deal about diversity, inclusion, the rights of various groups of citizens.
Our Country is based on a very fundamental principle, e Pluribus Unum – out of many, one. We were once known as the melting pot of the world, people came here to be Americans and enjoy a better life. That ideal has never fully been realized, of course, not everyone enjoyed full inclusion or fair treatment and many still don’t.
However, is that an excuse for not striving for the ideal of full inclusion and full participation?
Don’t we work against the ultimate goal of full inclusion when we divide ourselves into sub groups? I recall the motto “respect diversity.” Respect of course, but not to isolate diversity at the expense of inclusion. If we all celebrate groups, how can we be one out of many?
Do we run the risk of those outside a given group perceiving a desire not for inclusion but for recognition primarily within a group? Is a Black or Hispanic organization for leadership the same as an organization for leadership absent of any group designation? Do they have equal value or do they work against full participation?
Here is one example. These are groups promoted by and supported by one corporation.
American Association of Blacks in xxx (industry)
Black Professional Network
Asians& Pacific Islanders Reaching for Excellence
Community of Emergency Responders and Families
Functional Environmental Achievement Team
Health and Wellness Team
The Young Professionals of xxx
North American Young Generation in xxx
Resources for seasoned, inclusive and engaged xxx professionals
Connecting Employees in Remote Locations
Hispanic Organization for Leadership and Achievement
Gay and Lesbian Alliance
Military Vets and Advocates
Native Americans and Indigenous Peoples
Women in xxx
Working Parents and Caregivers
But such divisions are not limited to the workplace. There are many awards and other recognition programs for various race and gender groups. If everyone gets a trophy, is their value in the trophies? If every student gets an “A,” has anyone gotten and A?
Could our desire for recognition, correctness and fairness be having the opposite effect? Instead of enabling a single goal of high achievement, are we lowering our standards and instead celebrating average and in the process working against true inclusion?