As times have advanced, inclusion has been more emphasized as people have become more educated; however, progress is still far from perfect, and there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. In the past, discrimination of races was unfairly implemented as the roots of the country were founded on the superiority of the people in power. Although those days are over, there are still extremists, microaggressions, and casual racism in today’s society, which is still harmful to minorities as it carries prejudiced outdated mindsets. Racism can cause a plethora of issues on health - both physical and mental. In a lot of cases, there is racial bias, and treatment neglect is higher for minorities. Additionally, people who have experienced racism also experience depression, anxiety, stress, and more (1). Representation and giving minorities a voice is extremely important. After years of being treated as inferior, representation allows minorities to feel like they are valid and included. Specifically, if minorities see themselves in the media, there is a safe place for them to feel seen and proud of their own identities. Seeing someone that looks like them in a huge role will create a sense of familiarity and endearment. Diversity and inclusion allow others to learn more about other peoples’ cultures as well and be more educated about the struggles minorities face. Without representation, people can, unfortunately, feel more isolated and lower one’s self-esteem (2). In the workplace, diversity can also lead to more ideas, problem-solving, and new thinking. People from different backgrounds can use knowledge from their own cultures and contribute to the force, boosting productivity and efficiency. Diversity and inclusion can also attract more people that would like to be in a more diverse workforce, creating stronger relationships and environments in the company (3).
So, how can diversity and inclusion be implemented? The first step is to always educate oneself. For example, think about common stereotypes and think about inaccuracies, and how some of these stereotypes may seem “harmless” but can still be quite negative. Ask questions and learn about all different cultures - be an ally. Be supportive of others, and be welcoming as including someone can really make a big difference in their lives (4). Remember to always keep an open mind!
“The effects of racism on health and mental health.” Medical News Today, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/effects-of-racism#children. Accessed 30 June 2022.
Truong, Laura. “Cultural Representation is Important, Even If It's Through Disney Characters.” The Teen Magazine, 1 March 2022, https://www.theteenmagazine.com/cultural-representation-is-important-even-if-it-s-through-disney-characters. Accessed 30 June 2022.
Ordorica, Salvador. “The How And Why Of Building A Diverse Workforce.” Forbes, 26 July 2021, https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2021/07/26/the-how-and-why-of-building-a-diverse-workforce/?sh=42182cc44cb1. Accessed 30 June 2022.
“How to Promote Diversity In Your Everyday Life.” The Ad Council, 1 November 2018, https://www.adcouncil.org/6-ways-you-can-promote-diversity-inclusion-in-your-everyday-life. Accessed 30 June 2022.