E Pluribus, Unum: Out of many, One
-The United States of America’s Motto
“A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.”
-Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google
I don’t have a clue what Diversity means.
-Clarence Thomas, Judge, Supreme Court, USA
It was probably a typo in our mailer that acronymed Diversity, Equity Inclusion as DIE instead of the usual DEI.
This wasn’t far wrong when one reflects on what Clarence Thomas, sitting US Supreme Court Judge, said a short while ago. One would have thought that a black man of stature and gravitas would have an idea of what diversity in a multi-cultural society means in this generation of LBBTQ+ and strife borne of multiple issues of colour, faith, ethnicity, and culture. Thomas vindicates Scharmer’s Theory U assumption that a vast majority of us are closed in mind, heart, and will, let alone spirit and soul. Yet, they preach religion.
Why is it so difficult to accept the person next to us on the New York subway, London Tube, or Delhi metro as an equal, not diverse, and not I? Why are we so insecure and xenophobic that any diversity triggers violence in us, if not in action, certainly in thoughts?
A cricket match between Pakistan and India is enough to cause a few deaths somewhere in India, whoever wins. Within India, Hindu-Muslim clashes are now the norm. Within Hindus, the vast majority, there is a vicious rivalry based on language in multiple states. There is hatred based on caste among people of the same religion and language. As a ‘privileged’ Brahmin, I know of the disdain shared by the worshippers of Shiva and Vishnu. Where does this divide and dislike stop, if at all?
Many Indians like to believe that the colonising British made us so divisive. We were no different before. The British merely exploited our nature. This divisive intolerance has increased manifold, not merely in India, but globally. Terrorism is bred by and nurtured with divisiveness. Is there a way out?
How do we develop respect for one another? How can we realise that we impact one another deeply, right in our spirit, as a common pool of energy? How can we understand that without inclusion based on equity, instead of the divisiveness of diversity, we shall die as a species?
I am not sure if there is a universal answer. At the core of it is how we condition our children before the age of 7 so that they become monsters instead of angels at 14. We do it because that’s how we were brought up, not to trust the stranger. To change we need to change our mindset. We need to open our minds, hearts, will, and spirits with the realisation that our current Trumpian situation is dire, and will lead to violent dystopia.
Codes of Ethics and DEI are of no help if we don’t believe we are all equal, not diverse and different, however much our skin tone, structure, language, faith, food, and views may differ. In that diversity lies our outstanding strength to survive, sustain and grow. Genetic science tells us lack of diversity destroys. Ancient Indian wisdom tells us each of us is divine.
Let’s re-discover that divinity. Within that divinity, we shall find equity and inclusion, respect and validation, love and compassion. When each of us becomes a holographic fragment of the Dalai Lama, terrorism will end.