In sport, particularly rugby and football, the fans and the players are usually very zealous for fair play. The general expectation is that the competition must be fair and a referee has the job of making sure that the players abide by the rules; although we all know that some players push the boundaries of fair play and others bluff a foul for advantage.
The best pitches for play are near enough level, but the game still has two halves and at half time the players swap sides just to make sure there is no advantage in gradient or with the sun shining into the eyes of players, wind direction or just the condition of the pitch.
When we come to the topic of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion passions and emotions of people can similarly be high for rights, recognition, and opportunity and being treated fairly and not excluded. In this arena of ideologies, faiths, beliefs, philosophies, overt and hidden disabilities and other protected characteristics there is often competition, tension and conflict for visibility, recognition and ultimately fair play.
In the work place, the general rule, which I agree with, is to ‘leave our differences at the door’ and to get on with the job, being considerate and amiable to each other, and for the most part that works very well.
However, in my view when we look at the practicalities of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion there is very little recognition and acknowledgement that there is significant latent tension and conflict in the different ideologies, faiths, beliefs, and philosophies that people identify themselves with. This manifests itself when the owner of one of more protected characteristics imposes their ideology on another and compels that person to comply with their inherent beliefs and use abuse or a biased interpretation of the law to ensure conformity. This is not Equality. This does not recognise Diversity and this certainly does not offer Inclusion.
I am a Biblical Christian. Yes, I am one of those people who actually believe the content of the Bible and that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” – a rare breed on the diversity spectrum today!
What I want to see in the arena of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion is a level playing field where people can indeed “bring their whole self to work and perform at their best”, but not necessarily expect others to agree or comply with their perspective or reality.
Accepting difference in thoughts and ideas is what makes us human. Some thoughts have merit, some certainly do no not. Within this arena critical thinking, evidence, truth, honesty, impartiality, integrity and objectivity, must still apply otherwise we are being forced into an Orwellian world of 2+2 =5.
Our challenge is that we need to be brave enough to look Diversity straight in the face and recognise that Diversity and Difference are a ‘couple’ that have to walk together, but don’t have to hold hands!
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