Diversity Current: Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility:

DiversityA Call to Love Each Other As Part of the Human Family

Like Family Day and Valentine’s Day, it says something that we need an International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. We ought to know that we should care for and love our family members and those with whom we have relationships. Since we need reminding to value our close ties, it seems appropriate that we would also need to be reminded to “widen the circle of our embrace”, and remember we are all part of one human sisterhood and brotherhood, called to live our values every day. In some corners, there may be rumblings, “Diversity again?” Yet, as we open up and discuss, we increase and improve our awareness so that the distant “others” may become “we”.

The Diversity Monitoring Group aims to draw attention to the reality that although race is an important aspect of it, diversity deals with more than race. It is the ongoing interplay of race, poverty, gender, and our other social identities in relation to how we access resources. Addressing race relations alone will not allow for inclusion and equity. We need to address the whole person and continue advocating for change.

I received a timely email from the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) that I wanted to share with you. I believe it addresses the intersectionality of racism affecting women and men whether they are poor, educated, employed or not as a result of internalized stereotypes, personal biases and structural barriers.

email from OHRC:

“It’s easy to identify discrimination when we hear hateful slurs or overt forms of bigotry. However, there are also many examples of more subtle – but equally pernicious – racism and racial discrimination.

There’s the judge who asks a Black woman in court where her lawyer is. In fact, the woman is the lawyer waiting for her client.

A Middle Eastern woman takes a seat at an empty restaurant. A White customer who enters after her is served first.

And there’s the Indigenous man who is followed around by wary employees at a drugstore. He is shopping for formula for his toddler.

We also need to recognize that discrimination often exists in the behaviour and the systems that shape everyday life in [Canada]. That’s one major reason why the proportion of Black and Indigenous People in jails is so much higher than their proportion in the population. And that’s in part why, in our schools, Black, Brown and Indigenous students face higher discipline rates than other students.

Whether unintentional or intentional, overt or subtle, the effects are harmful and demoralizing. Racism and racial discrimination happen every day – and we need to challenge them every day.

Ingrained stereotypes, prejudices and bias can lead to subtle forms of differential treatment, which can profoundly damage people’s lives.

Our society can only succeed when everyone can take part – regardless of racial differences. And everyone should be able to contribute without fear of being singled out, treated differently or made to feel unwelcome.”

Let’s heed the call to love each other as part of the human family.

March 20, 2015 was the International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination and we were challenged to face racism – Not just today – let’s challenge racism every day.

You can connect with the CUC Diversity Monitoring Group and learn more about social identities and how other congregations are making intentional efforts to be more inclusive and equitable at diversity@cuc.ca. We are all part of the human family.

Marlene Blake Seale
Chair, Diversity Monitoring Group