Diversity is more than just a buzz word, it’s an opportunity and a challenge.
For some it’s met with fear and hatred. It’s hard to ignore the news from the United States of unspeakable horrors of the Orlando murders or the absurd legislation around which bathrooms people can or cannot use.
It’s easy to sit back and say “only in America!” But if we’re honest with ourselves, we’re not as tolerant or open as we could or should be.
While we’ve made progress on equality and anti-discrimination, there is still an underlying intolerance of diversity in our communities. Gender diverse and non-heterosexual youth are over represented in depression and suicide statistics, much of it because of bullying or intolerance. Casually racist or sexist jokes left unchallenged in the workplace or pub reveal more than a poor sense of humour.
Certain political parties thrive on intolerance – the appalling and thinly veiled xenophobic response to the refugee crisis is proof enough.
If we are going to create a future where future generations can thrive no matter who they are or where they are from, then we need to get serious. More than just tolerating diversity, we need to embrace it.
I know from my working life that diversity can mean better results and a more enjoyable place to be. Yes it brings challenges and sometimes issues arise from misunderstandings. But when the team works together, the results are so much much better. Bold new ideas, strengths nullifying others weaknesses, a better understanding of the world and its people.
The diversity of our future is something that we should embrace with open arms. And we need to take an active role in making it happen.
Written by Damian Light, UnitedFuture Party President