What Sparked the Diversity Discussion?

Diversity has become a popular word in our society. It not only shows it self in the differences between people, but also in how we have chose to accept and include those who are different from us. Up until about three years ago, this whole idea of diversity and inclusion was always in the background, but we didn’t see or hear about it as much as we are now. What sparked the diversity discussion?

History of Racism and the Antiracist

As I talked about in my featured author post last month, Ibram X. Kendi introduced us to the term Antiracist who is one who battles against and gets rid of the racist thoughts and beliefs. Through his book, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, he presents a different way for us to view the diversity in our country, from the eyes of people of color.

Many of the sparks for the continuing discussion about diversity comes from the difference in how people of color are treated by the police. This difference is shown in the number of deaths of people of color that have happened during traffic stops or other police altercations. Not to say that some of the same things haven’t happened to white people, because they have, just not as often.

One big spark

As we discuss the topic of diversity and inclusion, it is important to note that events throughout history have spurred on the conversation and shown the necessity for change. The most notable example is found with the death of George Floyd which sparked an increase in the discussion about racial justice, inequalities and the Black Lives Matter movement.

What happened? I think we all heard about what happened. Due to technology and a woman with a cell phone, this video was captured and shown to the world. George Floyd was arrested for passing a counterfeit twenty-dollar bill at a Minneapolis convenience store. When police arrived, he was restrained by Minneapolis police offices for eight minutes and forty-six seconds. In that time, he struggled for his life while the police believed he was resisting arrest. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital shortly after his arrival there.

Another spark

Did you know Black teens are taught by their parents to be afraid of police because they will not treat them fairly? That idea showed itself in a most recent example of police brutality. The beating of Tyre Nichols in Memphis. In this case, Nichols was pulled over for reckless driving, beaten to near death, and died later in the hospital.

We can see the police video of what happened to Nichols just like we saw the video of George Floyd. Both of these videos are disturbing to watch, but show us what happens when people do not embrace the differences in others and treat them as they would like to be treated. Sure, they both may have broken a law, but the crime they committed didn’t warrant the treatment they received while in police custody or to ultimately die for.

We need to understand diversity and implement more inclusion in our country. By understanding and accepting others, we build a stronger community. Sometimes we need these sparks to see that change needs to be made. Unfortunately, we have had too many of these sparks.

How do we talk to our teens about diversity?

Check in with your teen or young adult and see what their feelings are about what happened to George Floyd or Tyre Nichols. Be open to how they feel. Then guide a conversation with one or more of the following phrases

  • People are people. We all do the same things like eat, sleep and work.
  • Everyone is unique and should be treated fairly. Regardless of what they look like or where they live.
  • When you meet someone, open up your mind to people’s differences and accept them. Not only will you learn about them, but they will also learn about you in the process

Let me know how your conversations go in the comments below.

Have a great week!

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