I have recently been asked by a few reporters to talk about my work in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion projects. To be honest, I work less on the topic of diversity and focus almost exclusively on how to proactively create inclusion by preventing and eliminating exclusion.
I am not an expert in diversity issues. I am passionate, however, about equity. Part of my practice as a Humanist is to view everyone I meet as a unique individual with dignity and worth. It hurts my heart when I learn that someone was abused because of something as stupid and arbitrary as race or gender or whatever stupid metrics are used to divide people.
What I am an expert in though, is how to stop harassment using behavioral science techniques. Basically, I focus on the – how to actually create inclusion part of the DE&I equation.
Inclusion really is the challenge. For those of us who see all humans as: humans with dignity and worth – the challenge is what to do about the people who don’t. How do we fight back against the people who seek to exclude. It's clearly not enough to want to include people. We need to actively learn how to prevent exclusion.
The question I seek to answer is – how do we actually create diverse yet cohesive workgroups? The answer is, we must make sure that the people who don’t want inclusion, aren’t able to derail the inclusion project. In other words, how to we make sure that bullies and let’s be honest racists and sexist and other otherists, don’t kill the diversity initiative.
The next question is how do we make sure that people are actually actively included so that vulnerable people protected by the team and allowed to bring their unique perspective to the problem-solving process and yes – so that the problem solving process is fully collaborative and … inclusive? That is why I focus on inclusion. How to create it and how to make sure it isn’t derailed by bad actors.
The behavioral science on how to stop unwanted exclusionary behaviors is critical to the success of these initiatives.
The good news is that we have 70 years of behavioral science to know not only how behaviors are learned but also how to cause them to be unlearned. The good news is that the only way to make these techniques work, is to implement them with love and to at all times, validate the dignity of the people we are working to stop. We can actually do this if we use science and compassion.
It’s long past time for us to start using these tools and teach ourselves how to actually be the change we want to see.If you want to learn these skills, visit my course website at: https://humanistlearning.com/category/bullyingharassment/