Fareeha Usman, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Innovation Manager, Dynamo North East.
We are different, very different from each other. Some of us wear a mini skirt whereas some of us wear a burka. Some of us have a turban on our heads whereas some of us have a hat. Some people worship idols and then some people bow their heads down on a mat facing in the same direction. But what are these differences exactly?
As humans, it is natural to not immediately accept what feels unusual to us. A person who has spent his entire life in a French household would find the sound of the bells in a temple really surprising.
But we often forget to look past these things that are on the surface of the people and actually look deep into who and what they are. It is crazy how the world has developed so much with countless technological advancements that are changing the future but we as humans still judge each other by the colour of our skin.
But has anyone ever thought that just as much as we are different, we are all the same? Incredible as this line may seem but we are the same. By being the same I am pointing towards the idea that we all are like trees. On the surface it may seem that we are all standing apart from each other but right below the ground, we all have a connection. Now that connection might take the shape of similar incidents that we have been through, a feeling, maybe a favourite song, an ice-cream flavour, friends online and the list goes on and on. It is the little things that make us connect with each other beyond the surface.
A connection is not an interchange of information. Connection is an exchange of sympathy. It’s an exchange of sentiment. That’s when connection takes place: the second we sense that somebody cares about us, we’re open to learning from them. Each of us has a different story, but the one thing that we all have in common is that we all want to connect with others, we want the feeling that we are being cared for and we always remember how people make us feel.
It is impossible to say that we cannot disagree with anyone ever. It is good to disagree and have your own opinion but only on the matters of what is being discussed. Looking down upon someone just because of their appearance is pure stupidity. We tend to naturally degrade a person who belongs from an underdeveloped country since we think that the individual is carrying all those problems with him. But if that would have been the case, we would not have been able to have many leaders, tech specialists and inspirational personalities rising across the world.
Some things are deep rooted in the mindset and there are factors like media, social sites and extremist leaders that further add to that negativity of intolerance. But now the world has started to realize where the problem lies. People have started to acknowledge that inequality does exists in their daily life, may it be discrimination on the basis of gender, race or colour. There is a percentage of people who want to put an end to all this madness but again, there is a percentage of people who have become so comfortable in this setting that only a basic discussion on the topic is enough to infuriate them.
“A white has no superiority over black and a black has no superiority over white except for piety and good action.” – Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
The understanding that we need here is that if life has worked out for you, the odds have been in your favour and if you find yourself in the position of slightest authority or superiority you are to be at service and that is not a privilege. The higher your status is, the bigger is your responsibility of giving out in the world and making a positive change.
We may think that joking about someone’s looks or sharing a meme on someone’s ethnicity or maybe just calling out to your female colleague that she whines too much about period pain is not as small as it seems. When we experience interpersonal rejection, an insult, a mean word, the feeling is as real as physical pain.
It is crucial to understand that the same remarks we make on anyone else would make us feel the same way. No matter what language we speak, our hearts break the same exact way and in that one moment, no difference really matters. Because that sameness is what binding us together. It is time we know that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength!
Watch part one of the 6 month series around Dynamo’s EDI action plan presented by Fareeha Usman on the Dynamo YouTube channel.
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