People often fail to understand the importance of diversity. They assume it’s all about quotas and political correction but it is about so much more. Diversity (and we’re talking race, class, gender, sexuality, political affiliation, religion, all of it) is about putting multiple points of view into a conversation. It’s about ensuring that no one is operating in the kind of cultural vacuum where they don’t stop to consider context. It’s why certain people and shows and publications keep running into the same brick wall of public outcry about diversity—because these people consistently demonstrate a callous and willful ignorance of context. They see these lines that shouldn’t be crossed and cross them anyway because they are blissfully unencumbered by context…
I’m not outraged about this one tweet. I’m outraged about the cultural disease that spawned this tweet, the one where certain people are devalued and denigrated for sport and then told to laugh it off because hey, you know, it’s humor.
Or I’m outraged because I was twelve the first time I was called a cunt and I didn’t even know what the word meant. I was nearly thirteen the next time, and by then I did know what the word meant. An old man told me he loved “fresh cunt” and was not shy in detailing what he was going to do to mine. I was wearing a jumper and tights. And that’s also part of the cultural disease, this need to explain to you that I didn’t ask for it, that I was dressed modestly. This particular incident is not even something I have ever spent too much time thinking about because, frankly, it’s one of the lesser offenses. It barely registers until something reminds me of it, like a poorly considered tweet. Cultural disease.
If you get too riled up about this sort of thing, you’re humorless. You’re easily offended. You’re told to “get over it.” You’re told to have a “sense of humor.”
I might be all laughed out…"
Definitely read this entire article, and stop and feel something, feel everything for where it came from. It’s a very good, very tough piece.
What knocked me clear out of my tracks, however, was this first paragraph.
This was maybe the most enlightening, epiphanic explanation of the need for diversity I’ve ever read. When you work in fields (government, non profit) that have long debates over whether it is more virtuous to hire the very best person for the job regardless of race, gender, age, etc, OR to focus first on attracting a good, diverse range of talent, you start to lose site of this point. The most important point.
It’s not about “giving opportunities” or equity or presenting yourself a certain way for public perception. It’s about conversation, perspective, the things I wouldn’t have thought of without you and you wouldn’t have thought of without me.
So, thank you, Roxanne Gay.
Bookmarking for future conversational reference.
Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan, “Did The Creative Class Really Save Your City? Probably Not” from Fast Co.Design
Will, on coming out, but more importantly, on being human.
That looks like too many commas, but I don’t subscribe to the patriarchal society of grammar, so.
— Victor Frankl, from The Atlantic ”There’s More to Life Than Being Happy” by Emily Esfahani Smith
— Dr. Jeff Healey on discussing the deactivation of implanted defibrillators with patients, from “Powerful, painful shocks given by implanted defibrillators can be more stress than they’re worth: doctors” (National Post)
National Post article by Scott Stinson