Being Inclusive in the academia. This is a very important and sensitive topic. I’d like to start with an idea, that’s greatly heard of, but not always applied. Once upon a time there were two circles. The two circles had unique aspects to them, and the two circles also had similarities. When trying to coexist with one another, they had a terrible time whenever they kept exploiting their differences. However, once they began looking at their similarities, they realized they overlapped. There was this lovely space where both of them were comfortable, and they felt at home. This space was the overlapping space of their circles. This overlapping space is similar to the similarities found between any two humans. They could focus on their differences, or a lot better, focus on their similarities and coexist peacefully.
In the modern day, everyone is supposed to have equal rights. However, as Shankar Vedantam mentioned in the interview with NPR titled “How ‘The Hidden Brain’ Does The Thinking For Us“, he mentions how many people have preset biases that form, even in 3 year-olds. These preset biases don’t allow the world to be fair, and don’t allow people equal opportunities if and only if they take their biases to the next level. In other words, if someone acts on their biases, the outcome usually isn’t too great. At the same time, if an environment is diverse, inclusive, includes both genders– the company is more successful, and makes more revenue as mentioned here. That is huge, that diversity can do such wonderful things for a company, and increase it’s revenue.
In thinking about being inclusive, there are many people who stand out and don’t always face the warmest environment. People face profiling due to their skin color, religion, age, race, and many more. Some of this, I strongly believe has a strong association with the media. The media plays a huge role in creating biases and judgement towards races. They can totally portray people in a way that lacks reality. Unfortunately, human nature is that people are generally afraid of what they don’t know or don’t understand. So many times, people may be afraid of others even more because the media said something bad about it. However, this doesn’t end except through awareness. Awareness and the spread of intellect is the way to get people to be more inclusive and welcoming to differences.
The most inclusive environment in America is the academia. It is more inclusive than the real world, and more inclusive than industry. The academia isn’t perfect, but it’s better than what the world has to carry. And the better the academia becomes, the more there will be hope for the real world and other institutions that are not academic.
To be more inclusive in the academia and in the real world we must respect our differences. We must not shed excessive light on these differences. Instead, we should respect the differences. We should always look for what we have in common with others, rather than what’s different (or what we aren’t comfortable with). When we do that, we will be facilitating a more inclusive environment. We will look for similarities, and a peaceful life– rather than focus on differences which could lead to conflict.
So are you focusing on where the circles overlap?!