Putting people in boxes is functional

As a trainer / implementation manager diversity I am always looking for inspiration. That's how I came across the Ted video below Color blind or color brave?. This video covers that talking about skin color within an organization can be quite sensitive. But talking to each other about this can make a lot of difference. We all have our own beliefs, our own prejudices. Whether you are young, old, dark or white, we all have our own judgments about other groups, other people. We all think in boxes. In fact, categorization is actually functional. Getting through your day without pigeonholing the world around you is nearly impossible. When you see a table top with legs underneath it, your brain immediately translates that it is a table where you can put your cup of coffee on, for example.

Everyone has a story in which we judge the other for being different. I heard a Moroccan student say that she was the only woman not wearing a headscarf that was not welcome at the association. And she was told that participation in the board was not at all desirable without wearing a headscarf. The same student was asked about her not drinking alcohol - with a Coke in her hand - by Dutch students. I know, we all do this. The only thing that keeps amazing me is how "normal" it has become to exclude others. I do it myself. Nowadays I just try to be a little more aware of it when I do it. And not to act on it, but to ask questions if I do not understand something. 

According to research we're constantly categorizing everyone around us. We see someone's appearance and classify them in a particular group to which you have certain negative or positive associations and attributes with. This is not us-them thinking. We all do this. And often we are not aware of doing this. Having a conversation about this is therefore a way to clarify who we are and the way we act. A diversity policy is therefore mainly about ourselves. Who am I versus the other and how do I deal with differences? So, from now on I am #ColorBrave

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