Are you as inclusive as you think you are?

It’s been half a year since the new US president was elected. It would seem that the world got used to the idea that this happened. And luckily, so far in the European elections, we seem to be showing up in high numbers to find another way. In the meantime, Amsterdam got bored and allowed the discussion to move beyond the “WTF is happening” rare upheaval of shock, disbelief, and immediate prejudice, that went on for quite some weeks/months after the elections. But it got me thinking about the topic of having a real space, or platform, that allows for true discussion and debate. What each of our roles are. The subtle behavioral preferences that naturally play out daily. How our responses contribute to these issues that continue to undermine a more smoothly functioning, and respectful, society – or just a more positive world as the idealist inside of me longs for.

Do I really allow for others to have their own opinions without judgement when it comes to (political) matters that seem so clear cut to me? Do the people around me do the same? How did this become an ‘us versus them’ discussion? Do the people on the left side of things give space to anyone, who doesn’t share all opinions with them, to truly express their beliefs, doubts, fears, thoughts – as they believe they do? Knowing that most people aren’t extreme in their way of thinking.

Jonathan Pie, who is a lefty, takes lefty responsibility in his video for contributing to the creation of conditions, in which these apparent electoral ‘surprises’ can take place. He uses Trump and Brexit as example to show how the liberals have become as divisive as they believe the conservatives to be. 

What’s happening in the world?!

I’ve experienced this everywhere. With our western world suddenly waking up to the ‘stuff’ that’s been happening all along, and fooling ourselves by being politically correct about every single thing that distinguishes us from one another. Watching this adjustment fuel a new feeling of superiority over those who do not abide, or are perhaps blind to it. I’m not saying that awareness isn’t what’s key here, or that action isn’t needed to make change. But as someone who finds herself in multiple minority groups. I’ve never been so black, so mixed, so much of a woman, so different, so judged for my very existence. I do believe we are in a necessary transitional moment globally, but I sometimes miss the moments before this ‘new awareness’ struck the public eye. And I’m talking about both/all sides throwing labels and prejudice around, often talking about disadvantaged, or minority, groups they aren’t part of – instead of asking, instead of recognising inclusiveness, instead of feeling that it’s enough to tick a box, instead of listening to potentially uncomfortable discussions. Avoiding discomfort has hindered us so much that it has become the source of a global unease that shadows us all. I truly believe we’re missing the nuance here, on both sides. Where’s the grey?! Where’s the real discussion?!

A friend of mine wrote a post the day after the US elections, asking where the love was. Stating how ‘we’ are being just as divisive as ‘they’ are, until we truly start listening to each other. Maybe this is the real lesson here. It might not have been this shocking if there was more of a discussion. This idea spreads beyond politics, permeating into each and every encounter with the ‘unfamiliar’ in our lives.

L I S T E N.

If one side (or the other) didn’t feel shut down by the other. If we acknowledged that there are two, or more sides to every story. If we want to make a positive change to get out of this self-created human mess. We cannot approach it with the same way of thinking as that which created it.

Like with anything else. Question yourself on how you contribute. Start listening. Open yourself to a new, more inclusive discussion. And as Ghandi put it – BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD. It starts from within.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, leave them in the comments below ^^

Love & Light,Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 15.51.40 (2)


© Juel McNeilly

featured photography: Abbas Mushtaq

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