Diversity Isn’t Hard. Inclusion Is.

It’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. And this is the first time in many years when I didn’t plan ahead to volunteer or offer event leadership for an organization I love.

A Day On, Not A Day Off, as they say.

So my mind was able to spend more time on Dr. King’s legacy and the purpose of his work. And I have spent most of today feeling fragile and vulnerable. So much of what Dr. King spoke and preached about touches my very soul, my instincts and my hopes. And I’m not alone.

But why does it feel like so many decades later we’re not nearly a far along as the dreams Dr. King set for this country. For you? For me.

In the pithiest way possible, I think we’re still focused on picking out crayons, but never getting around to coloring. And the truth is? We’re not even good at art.

I think we’re focused on the wrong element of sustainable change. Diversity is having the entire box of crayons. Inclusion is knowing how to color with every color in the box.

We’re still fixated on diversity, when the truth is we don’t even know how to effectively include others unlike ourselves.

Inclusion isn’t always “beautiful” but it’s essential to the process of the art. In ways that allow every crayon to be expressed, engaged and leveraged. We have to get more comfortable coloring with the full pack, and not just avoiding it because we know that yellow and blue make green, so why use green?

Its not a perfect analogy. Nothing ever is. I just believe that Dr. King saw all the colors of the rainbow in his dreams. And all we can recall is the black and white photos of his legacy, it seems.

We all deserve better.

[ ben bisbee ]

Ben BisbeeComment