November #GetKind: Celebrating Diversity Around The Globe

Diversity themesThis month, we’re stepping away from the usual #GetKind festivities in order to celebrate a theme that we think is becoming more crucial to today’s dialogue than ever: diversity. With the current election in the United States, a shakeup in Europe and Great Britain, and waves of refugees looking for a place to call home, the conversation is often riddled with misunderstanding and misguided name-calling, most of it based on what one person believes another’s worth to be. Throughout the month of November, we’re challenging our supporters to step up and be the voice of reason and kindness that counters the negativity.

The truth is, diversity doesn’t just serve one group of marginalized or affected people, it serves to help us all. By being inclusive, open-minded, and welcoming to all ethnic groups, genders, LGBTQ community members, the disabled, and those of varying world religions — no matter how tough some might find it, or how it pushes people out of their comfort zones — we become better for it in the long run.

“Diversity enhances creativity. It encourages the search for novel information and perspectives, IMG_1505leading to better decision making and problem solving,” Scientific American‘s  Katherine W. Phillips wrote in 2014, citing “decades” of research by leading organizational scientists, psychologists, sociologists, economists and demographers. “… Socially diverse groups (that is, those with a diversity of race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation) are more innovative than homogeneous groups. … [And] when we hear dissent from someone who is different from us, it provokes more thought than when it comes from someone who looks like us.”

Of course, aside from all the selfish aspects of inclusive and respectful dialogue between groups is the obvious “pro”: Diversity increases kindness in the global community and makes everyone feel like they’re part of one cohesive human race — something we should all strive for each day.

How can I help celebrate diversity this month?

We asked our staffers this month to tell us about their unique experiences and how they recommend our supporters #GetKind:

  • “As someone who grew up very comfortably, it’s highly important to recognise the diversity between people and their experiences,” Events Officer Bec writes. “You can’t assume all experiences are the same because that leads people to ignore things that need attention, ultimately because you’ve developed a very self-focused perspective of ‘I don’t need this so no one else does’. If you remember diversity is everywhere, you’re acknowledging that each person you meet is an individual and can accept that their needs will be different.”

    • How to help: Learn a new language other than your own; tutor those in your 15592147525_d1e6462906_kcommunity who are starting to learn the local language as well; and learn about others’ cultures in order to better understand them as people. Spend one day having one-on-one conversations with ESL students to allow them to practice their language skills or plan an outing to a grocery store for them, so they can practice life skills in their newly-acquired language.
  • “I’m biracial myself. And I think it’s important to remember that people who are members of two communities often feel like they don’t belong in either,” Development Officer Maria explains. “I’ve often felt like I’m too white to be part of the Korean community, but too Korean to be considered part of the white one. Diversity and inclusion go hand in hand.”

    • How to help: Be open with those who struggle with their identity, either as an ethnic minority or as someone who hasn’t been welcomed because of their place in the LGBTQ community or because of physical or mental disabilities. Listen to their thoughts and strive to be inclusive of them and their ideas whenever possible — without pre-judging or labeling their grievances callously. (Even a thoughtful vent-session between friends can be therapeutic.) Most importantly, remember that topics which traditionally provoke a divisive response — such as the Black Lives Matter Movement and women’s rights — might make you uncomfortable at first and provoke you to feel like you have to explain yourself. Try to avoid doing that. As many will point out, minority groups aren’t trying to make you angry by holding discussions — they’re just trying to make you aware of what’s happening. If you’re feeling impassioned, that
      just means that you’re headed in the right direction.
  • “With the kind of rhetoric that has been flying about lately, and the rise of hate crimes against POCs and the LGBTQ community in response to political turmoil, I think efforts have to be made to educate and inform others (and ourselves if need be) of those communities that may need our help and support,” Bhumika Makwana, assistant regional representative (U.K.-South), explains. “It isn’t just about race, but also about religion, age, sexual orientation, and disabilities.”

    • How to help: Take it upon yourself to learn more about the world around you, as well as its inhabitants. Don’t put the onus on minority groups or marginalized members of society to teach you why certain things are wrong — take the proactive approach and educate yourself whenever possible. Start small: Hold conversations with friends and family who are different than you and just listen to what they have to say; volunteer to help those who need it — groups like refugees are currently at the top of the list— and embrace their culture and practices respectfully; attend church with someone who belongs to a religion that you don’t know much about, if you’re religious. You can also take traditional 14516011756_1cf62046fc_kclasses at your local college or attend lectures or seminars at the community center to better grasp more complex topics like intersectional feminism, same-sex marriage and adoption legislation, transgender rights, and indigenous history and cultures.
  • “For years as a child, I was bullied and called ethnic slurs by kids who didn’t know any better, or who hadn’t learned not to do so,” marketing co-manager Melanie writes. “The people who stood up and said something when they saw it happening became some of the most important people in my life later on, and I’ll forever be grateful for their voices.”

    • How to help: Speak out when you see bullying or demeaning and degrading language being used against diverse groups. Whether it’s xenophobic comments made during a family dinner; racist, sexist, or homophobic language scrawled on 10314223086_4cae67c34e_ka school bathroom wall; or lewd or ableist jokes made at the expense of others, do your best to call out what’s wrong, without stooping low and becoming accusatory yourself. That can be difficult, of course, since emotions are often running high. But if you make a mistake in the language you use, you can always apologize for it and reinforce your point in a more open fashion too. Making yourself heard can be scary — but it helps change the dialogue for the better, no matter how small of an impact you think you’ll make.

Random Acts knows we won’t change the world in one month — but we’re hoping that, with your help, we can spark the beginnings of a wider, more impactful movement that eventually shifts things for the better.

Will you help us #GetKind for diversity?

Images: Fibbonnaci Blue; Tony Altar; People’s WorldUdey Ismail; Cluster Munition CoalitionDanny HammontreeUnited NationsNathanMac87; Oregon DOT