Culture

The Culture of Inclusivity is Fast Fading Away

By Ogbonnaya Agom-Eze, Editor-In-Chief

“We need to reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion. This isn’t a matter of political correctness. It’s a matter of understanding what makes us strong. The world respects us not just for our arsenal; it respects us for our diversity and our openness and the way we respect every faith.” — Barack Obama

“We are a nation of communities… a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky.” —George H. W. Bush

“We have created a society where individual rights and freedoms; compassion and diversity are core to our citizenship. But underlying that idea of Canada is the promise that we all have a chance to build a better life for ourselves and our children.” — Justin Trudeau

Everyone matters!

To each his own—people are free to like or prefer different things in life. One wonders if this is the watchword of many societies these days, considering that inclusivity seems to be dying a slow and gradual death. Inclusivity is the fact or policy of not excluding members or participants on the grounds of gender, race, class, sexuality, disability, etc. The inability of some communities or groups of people to accept changes in the dynamics of human relationships and co-existence makes it difficult for inclusion to be the mainstay in many cultures today. We have seen the evidence of this in workplaces, sports, education, immigration, and so on. However, this begs the question of why it is difficult for individuals, organizations, and governments to accept diversity. In this essay, we will look, though briefly, at some of the reasons why inclusivity—as an acceptable culture that makes commonsense—is dying.

A Little Thanks to Racism

Racism must be one of the most protracted battles humanity is continually fighting. Can we say that we are overly optimistic that there is a yearning for cultural diversity and acceptance in our societies? Maybe not. However, racism is one of the primary reasons to blame for why the culture of inclusion is leaving many societies. In the soccer world, for instance, some players of specific races (e.g., Black) in distinct regions are subject to racist chants and gestures. For example, Mario Balotelli, an Italian footballer, has been cited to have left the Italian Series A because of the many racist gestures he suffered from opposition fans and players during his time there. Moreover, this is just a snapshot of the many who were forced to leave countries that have populace exhibiting these qualities because the society failed to accept them for their race, cultural, ethnic heritage, or some difference or the other. The same occurs in schools too, where children from different races or cultural heritage experience bullying for their ethnic background. To be honest, this is a sad state of ignorance, to say the very least.

Immigration & Ethnicity

The movement of people across the borders of various nations is as old as man. For some reason or the other, man has always migrated across nation-lines in the pursuit of greener pastures. For instance, over time, there has been a need for citizens of underdeveloped countries to move from their places of birth to economies that are more conducive. However, these people, because of certain limitations that have to do with cultural orientations have found it difficult to assimilate into new societies. This difficulty is rarely due to a challenge in learning new languages or adopting new cultures. The reason may be due to certain factors such as immigration policies of the host nation. Some of these policies may be harsh, making it difficult for migrants to assimilate fully into those societies. Sometimes, it could also be that the populace of the host nation is not welcoming the notion of having migrants in their country, and as a result, treat them harshly. In other words, assimilation and inclusion becomes a nightmare to these migrants. Harsh treatment of the other, the migrants, may stem from a place of hate. Sometimes, it may also originate from past experiences with previous migrants, who in the stead of behaving logically, revert to a life of crime, making the host populace averse to the assimilation of new migrants.

When people move to a new country for the first time, they often need a period for which they would have to settle into the new environment. The palatability of assimilating into such societies mostly hinges on the acceptance or rejection they face from the original inhabitants of such communities or nations. People naturally gravitate towards places where they are welcome. People are generally drawn to an ambiance of tolerance. For instance, what has made the United States of America and many parts of the Western world what they are today, on a large note, can be attributed to the rule of diversity. For example, the name United States of America signifies a melting pot of many cultures, a cauldron of the hybridization of humanity. I am sure that all races and all kinds of people make up the United States and in many nations of the developed world at a macro level. From a macro perspective, we see heterogeneity. However, it is when you dive into the oceans of such heterogeneity that you start seeing some schisms in how we treat each other in the micro sense of society. We need to rise above this to a higher plane of logical reasoning for living. We need to stop rationalizing at an altitude of two thousand feet and start thinking from ten thousand feet and above level that is beyond petty and riddled with cultural acceptance of the human element for what it is.

Cultural assimilation or non-assimilation

The issue of inclusivity or non-inclusivity is not just prevalent where two or more races of people are involved. Sometimes, we see the cancer of non-inclusivity among people of the same race, but varying ethnicities. For instance, we have had cases of Xenophobia (i.e., the fear or hatred of foreigners, people from different cultures, or strangers in different countries or fear or dislike of the customs, dress, etc., of people who are culturally different from oneself), both in Western and African societies. For example, in the most recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa, where individual members of South African communities were responsible for the deadly assault of citizens of other African countries is a typical example. Isn’t that sad? Same racial makeup, but different ethnicities at play—yet, the inhabitants of the nation still spewing hatred and violence against their kind because of varying ethnicities. As gut-wrenching as this may sound, it is happened and may be happening in other places that have not been cited as an instance.

Sadly, one sits back and marvels at such display of hate that landed many in hospitals and even claiming the lives of some. Now, that is a perspective to ruminate on. In the case of these xenophobic attacks, one wonders why people who share the same racial origin would hone in on the difference of ethnicities and inflict such harm on others. One would first think that being from the same racial pedigree or makeup would be a point that unites all as one rather than becoming a source of discord. These things make it difficult for inclusivity and diversity to have a home in most societies. The need to blame others for our weaknesses, or the failure to accept others as part of the human element, has also been the reason why many people who have migrated to these hostile nations have had to go back to their former communities. For those that suffered these attacks, would it not have been much better to endure hardship in their home countries, where there is acceptance than suffer harm or death in an ecosystem where you’re not wanted? Well, the answer to this question is entirely subjective. If all things were equal, people would not migrate away from their societies. So, what are the catalysts that motivate people to move from their nations to other countries?

End Xenophobic Attacks

A lot of things can cause someone or a group of individuals to dislocate from their current geographic settlements in search of better habituations—it could be push or pull factors. Pull factors are the things that draw people to consider wanting to emigrate from their own nation to another nation. For instance, first, some pull factors are development and industrialization and hope for better jobs with better remunerations. Second, the ease of travel is another pull factor—people are now able to travel from one place to the other very fast and efficiently by air, land, and sea. Third, the advance means of communication by phone and through the Internet has made the world a global village. This ease of communication is a pull factor in drawing people to developed nations. We can communicate with people in other lands because of the channels that the World Wide Web provides. Fourth, there is a sharp birth rate decline in many industrialized nations leading to labor shortages and the need for skilled workers (e.g., consider Australia and Canada). Because of this, people tend to migrate towards these nations that are seeking more labor. Fifth, stable democracies and the religious freedom is another pull factor.

Sixth, the rapid growth of global economies pulls people to those nations that are experiencing such a growth. Seventh, English is predominantly spoken in many lands, and the language factor pulls people to different places. Eight, the prospect for greener pastures cause people to want to emigrate. If the above factors are drawing people from various countries to developed nations or more desirable locales, then it clearly forms a basis of why inclusion is important and the need for it not to fade away. With the mass movement of people to new geographic locations, the discussion of assimilation, inclusion, and diversity becomes of paramount note. On the flip side, what are the push factors pushing people away from their locales to search for greener pastures? First, is the bleak outlook when it comes to career advancement. Second, is poverty and low incomes in parent nations. Third, is high unemployment rates. Fourth, is the variation of poor human rights. Fifth, is internal conflict and war. Sixth, are natural disasters, climate, change, and famine. Pull and push factors are responsible for the global movement of people. Because of these factors, it is therefore imperative for diversity, inclusion, tolerance to be at the forefront of creating harmonious societies across the globe.

Myopic Understanding of Humanity

Another factor that contributes to the fading away of the culture of inclusivity is a myopic understanding of humanity. A lot of people lack the basic knowledge of what it means to be human. This lack of informed perception forms the foundations of our attitudes and how we treat each other. Yes, we are uniquely different in our human makeup. Certain protected statuses distinguish humanity. Such protected statues include Race, National Origin, Ethnic Background, Religious Beliefs, Age, Pregnancy, Gender, and Sexual Orientation; Family status, Disability status, Veteran status, and Genetic information. Our difference should be a point of unity, not a point of separation—our differences should be what brings us together, it should not be what divides us. People who are shortsighted about their view of humanity focus on the differences that distinguish us as unique as a point that should divide us. We are human—more things should unite us together than separate us.

For instance, whether you are Caucasian, Black, or of Asiatic origin, we all breathe the same oxygen, right? Does oxygen discriminate of whose lungs it should go into to sustain life? No. We all breathe the same air to stay alive. So, if we breathe the same oxygen and share the various essentials that keep the biology, physiology, and biochemistry of a human alive; why then do we not see ourselves as just human and just get along? The Dictionary defines a human being as “any individual of the genus Homo, especially a member of the species Homo sapiens.” We might have different dermal tones; however, we are still human. Take away the -dermis, we are all tissue and bones—we will all look the same. So, why are some people so bleary-eyed at the concept of humanity that we treat others as sub-humans with so much disdain and sometimes inflict harm on others? It is just plain ignorance to do so, a lack of understanding of the concept of humanity.

No skin—We are all tissues and bones

Another instance that shows the concept of being myopic in understanding the concept of humanity is the soldier analogy. If you belong to a company of soldiers and you are in the thick of a firefight against an enemy, hunkered down in a foxhole, as hell-razing bullets zip ahead in desperate fury looking for flesh to penetrate and extinguish life. In such a scenario, soldiers become brothers and sisters in arms. Whether you are white, black, Latino, Asian, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Man, Woman, etc., none of that matters. The point of focus in such a heated scenario is watching each other’s backs to subdue the foe. In such a scenario, all differences are forgotten, and people who are uniquely different unite to fight a common cause. Why don’t we as humans see ourselves in this light? Why do we focus on what makes us uniquely human and dwell on it to divide ourselves more? We need to embrace humanity as humanity and not be myopic about the concept of unified mankind that void is desolate of understanding.

The truth remains that cultural inclusivity is a crucial contributor to economic development of nations. If the populace of a host nation is hostile to the immigration of people to their country, it could lead the nation towards a downward spiral economically. For instance, what would happen if all the skilled immigrant workers in the United States right now immigrated to China? The economy will take a severe uppercut to the jugular. There are a lot of talented immigrant workers from all over the globe here in the United States, helping make America great in every sense of it. Many developed nations of the world are benefiting from the pull factor that draws talent from all over the world to their nations. If they should all up and leave, the country will go into a downward spiral economically. This is a fact and that is why we see a lot of Fortune 500 companies fight policies coming out of Washington, D.C., that is non-immigrant friendly. Why is that? Because a lot of talents in the rank and file of their payroll are immigrants from other nations of the world.

We see inclusion fading away in many places and it is a trend that we must make concerted efforts to combat. The world need to come to the realization that we are becoming more integral in nature. It will continue to be so because of globalization. The earlier we start accepting ourselves as humans the better. In summary, first, we have seen that racism is partially to blame. Racism is ignorance at its peak. Secondly, we have seen that immigration and ethnic variances also contribute to the fading away of diversity and inclusion. Finally, thirdly, we have seen that a lot of people are just culturally astigmatic and fail to understand humanity. The acceptance of inclusion from social focus provides everyone with lasting benefits. It is only right that we embrace it completely.

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