What is one of the most unnoticed appliances we have at home? OK, right, the blog post title gave it away. You’re probably more interested in learning *how* inclusion and equity are like a refrigerator to me.
Your first guess may be about a temperature metaphor. Something about diversity being “cool” these days? Or maybe that diversity, equity and inclusion work is sending chills down some people’s spine?!
I meant none of these. But I am glad your imagination is up and running. 😊
So, here is the thing with refrigerators: we only notice them when something is wrong. And when something is wrong with our refrigerator, things are bad. Panic is an adequate, appropriate reaction to such an incident. We need to take immediate action, and are in “damage control” mode. We need to take immediate action because what we store in our refrigerators are the building blocks of ourselves: the food and drinks we need to function and regenerate.
Most of the time though, we don’t pay attention to our fridge. It is an appliance we leave on even when we are not home. Even for a prolonged period. It is doing its thing in the background, without us needing to do anything specific to keep our food fresh and available when we need it.
The problem is, in most organisations, there is no “inclusion and equity fridge” at all, or our fridge is only being turned on sometimes, for a few hours, and then back off, or it is on, but the doors are kept wide open.
None of these strategies lead to actual diversity, equity, and inclusion.
We wouldn’t wonder that stuff goes stale, smelly, and toxic without putting them in a functioning, adequately used refrigerator, would we?
Well, it turns out we do that with our inclusion and equity efforts.
Also, inclusion and equity are not available as “take-away” nor can they be home-delivered by an underpaid racialized and/or otherwise vulnerable person. It is an appliance that belongs to the must-haves of any human-friendly space which deserves that name. It needs to stay on, stay clean, and always keep things at their corresponding right temperature.
I cannot make my own fridge, really. Making a fridge takes skills I don’t have, so I am buying my fridges from folks who know how to make a proper fridge. I am willing to invest in energy efficient, and sustainable, quality appliances that meet my needs.
Kudos to one of my Alexander Technique Teacher trainer Stuart Gutman for bringing this metaphor to this week’s training (about our background resting muscular tone, not DEI work though).
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