analysis? · behaviour · learning · opinion · questions

Inclusion & Diversity….say what?!

Another office blog post being re-blogged. Written this morning September 20, 2013

Are we really living in an inclusive society? Are we open to being inclusive? How many of us really accept diversity?

India prides in “unity in diversity”. One who reads that would just say “yeah right!!” looking at the news in the media (or the way politicians behave…let’s leave that aside though). The United States prides on being the melting pot. One would definitely wonder about this after reading about the racist tweets on a brown skin winning Ms.America. These are just two of the examples. Is Apartheid really over? Are we all really that open?

I caught the local radio show this morning while driving (yes, but this is not another post on driving 🙂 ). There was this differently abled person who heads an organisation here in Chennai speaking about what she thinks is inclusion. Definitely food for thought. She said simply that they need to be part of the normal society – not be treated special, they too have the same emotions like any body else. Jokingly added not all “special” people are goody two shoes & there are those who just are not. She said people have to be sensitive not cautious or condescending.

Talking of inclusion, I do distinctly remember a conversation among a few friends. Two among us were expecting our first child. I was yet to find out the sex of the baby while the other knew she was having a boy. The guys were talking about living in the current society. We were in the USA then. Their statement “We don’t care who my son brings home – white, brown, yellow, black…whatever but he must bring home a girl!”. I was left quite flabbergasted. These were supposedly educated people. I asked them what if he did bring home a guy? Would you ostracise him? Will you love him any less as your son? They did not answer. May be they just were afraid to face my wrath & the debate that would ensue if they said what they were actually thinking.

I honestly don’t know how I can change our society – to make it more open, truly inclusive. I do promise to not be prejudiced. I guess in this way I must say we must be inclusive of people who are closed in their thoughts too – right?! 🙂

This is one random flow of thoughts on the topic- well that is sometimes (ok most of the times) that my brain works.

Anyways, the morning talk show was to promote the Ability Fest organised by the Ability Foundation.

Ability_Fest_2013_poster_sep2013

Those in Chennai can catch this film festival which screens movies next week (September 23-26) from around the world that depict the differently-abled in a sensitive manner. It includes movies like the French Intouchables, Tamil Haridas (with audio description for blind people), Iranian movies and more….

The foundation hopes to help increase sensitivity and make people understand true inclusion through such festivals.  I have been blessed to have met some of the Ability Clan. (They have their visiting cards with one side in Braille – said it is very simple & not expensive either….there is inclusion for you!). They do have workshops to see how well your office/home is diabled friendly (was surprised on how even the display board colouring can make a huge difference to people who are partially blind.)

Hope we can join together and truly build an inclusive society (not just for the differently abled/ LGBT but truly be cross-cultural…. sounds too utopian?! )

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