“My parents told me that if I worked hard I could be anything I wanted, be whoever I wanted. When I got out of school and started working, I found that wasn't true.”
I was struck by that comment, made by a woman of color, during our conversation. As the father of mixed-raced daughters, I wish the above statement were not true. It speaks to a world where we are not looked upon as unique individuals, worthy of respect and dignity simply for who we are and what we are capable of, instead it speaks to a world of exclusion, where due to race or gender we are, sometimes purposefully, placed into a box we do not belong in, and did not create.
We each have our view of the world, formed of the stories we create around the events we experience. And in my experience, in order to truly expand our own view, we need to listen, and seek to understand, the views of others.
For some of us that means we need to purposefully seek out more diversity, for where we find ourselves may not be that diverse.
For me, at this moment, purposeful inclusion, for the benefit of expansion of self and thought, is the name of the game.
To that end, my challenge to you is this –
Today, take a look at the people around you. Do they look like you? Sound like you? Believe as you do? That's your baseline group.
Next, proactively seek out someone not in your group. Introduce yourself. Ask that person about their story. Be curious and open to whatever he or she says. Simply listen to learn.
Finally, leave a comment about how your world has expanded by what you've learned from that person. I'm excited to hear about your experience.