Editor’s letter : Dabbling in Diversity

I’ve never been very good at sport. My netball team won something when I was about 11 but I’m pretty sure I was there because I was tall. At high school, I played cricket – the team’s only spin bowler (but without so much of the spin) and the number 10 batter. Social netball in my 20s was fun, but with team called the Hovering Bunnies we were never going to be taken that seriously. And I think I was even beaten at mini-golf by six-year-old recently… but numbers aren’t my strong point either.
So there are two ways this could go from here – diversity (as in not everyone can be the winner) or the need for followers as well as leaders.
Taking diversity, it permeates everything this month – diversity on boards, working alongside people with mental health issues, what sport can teach us about business success, the EEO awards. You can’t get away from it.
Which perhaps makes it all the more surprising that you can actually get away from it pretty easily. And often without even realising it. Most of the places I’ve worked have been severely white and middle class. Maybe it’s the jobs I’ve chosen – but maybe I’m fooling myself that my outlook and environment is more varied that I think. Yep, it’s looking that way. I sit back content in the belief that I don’t discriminate on the basis of gender, race, religion etc… which is all very well except that I don’t actually get the chance to. That came out wrong… I’m not saying that I want the chance to – my point is that it’s all very well feeling saintly when opportunity is firmly out of your reach.
That came out wrong too – I have no intention of reaching for discrimination (anymore than I’m sure I already do) but the actual, real, final point (yes you may breathe sigh of relief now) is that we think we’re so liberal and PC but perhaps that is because in our safe little worlds, we don’t get the chance to encounter much diversity.
What’s to be done? Positive discrimination, equal representation, forced diversity? Perhaps it would be good starting point for engaging with an increasingly diverse world.

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