How to Be Inclusive of Others
We live in a world full of people of different genders, cultures, religions and economic backgrounds. Because of this, we all have a responsibility to make sure that any individual, regardless of who they are or where they come from, is included into everyday life.
What does it mean to be inclusive?
Sometimes, inclusivity takes the form of certain rights, which are granted to individuals who may not have those rights to begin with. For example, students who practice a religion (regardless of what religion it might be) can be given the right to take religious holidays off of school without penalty. Though it may seem like common sense to grant rights like these to others, the reality is that not everyone has access to them all the time.
That being said, sometimes inclusivity means allowing for special circumstances in order to even the playing field. Individuals who belong to disadvantaged groups—groups that, throughout history, have been less privileged and continually oppressed compared to others—may receive extra attention because of their disadvantaged positions in society. For example, First Nations students may have special scholarships available to them, because they are statistically less likely to attend post-secondary education.
Finally, inclusivity can mean a sense of fundamental respect for others. In other words, others are not judged by certain unchangeable traits, like their race or their gender. Instead, they are treated with respect because they are human beings. For example, students who were born in different countries can set their differences aside to work together within the classroom.
Here are some ways you can be inclusive of others:
- Don’t make assumptions. Assumptions about an individual based on things like their religion or gender are a form of prejudice, and they often result in that individual being treated unfairly.
- Ask questions. Individuals who are different than you will probably have different perspectives and opinions about the world. Ask them not only about what they think, but about how they would like to be treated.
- Embrace your differences. You don’t have to agree with everyone all the time, but you can often learn from others who are different than you. Try to be open-minded: your differences don’t have to lead to conflict.
- Consider yourself. How are you different from those around you, and what makes you special? Are you proud of your heritage? Is religion important to you? Knowing the answers to these questions will familiarize you with your own values, and help others treat you with respect.