Category: Pro-Opinion, diversity, LGBT, unconscious bias, Parents, Family
The more I learn about unconscious bias’ and the fact that they are formed from early childhood, the more I realise how important it is to be a diverse and inclusive role model for my children. I know we look to our organisations to promote strong gender, BAME, disability and LGBT role models but if we really want to influence generations of the future, we need to look closer to home.
It saddened me to read the recent article about Samara, a three-year old Frozen fan, who was told by another young girl that she couldn’t be Queen Elsa as she was “black and black is ugly”. This girl’s mother said nothing. If we can’t be good role models for inclusion and teach our children that difference is good and something to be recognised, valued and utilised – then we may as well stop our efforts on D&I right now – as our children (our future caregivers, teachers, CEOs, engineers etc) will continue to the think that sameness = good.
So I’ve been thinking about what I can do to be an inclusive role model at home? And yes, that will mean making a bit more of an effort. Where I live, we have majority white, middle class families. In my daughter’s school there is only one male teacher (the IT teacher at that) and in my younger daughter’s pre-school there are only female caregivers. Now I’m not saying I change society as a whole, but as an inclusive role model I can take a few steps to balance things out a bit closer to home.
Mix up my ‘parent’s network’. Talk to some new mums (and dads), find out where they hang out and go along, taking small ones in tow.
Challenge my kids thinking. And I don’t mean argue with them but let’s get over this ‘princesses are white with long hair’ thing that Disney tends to throw at us. (And don’t even get me started on the weight issues that come with Disney princesses). So a bit more Swashbuckle and Octonauts is going on at my house.
If I hear other parents being non-inclusive or ‘bantering’ I’ll challenge it! Again, I’m not aiming to have a brawl but I’ll call it out.
Reflect on my own unconscious bias’ and take steps to manage them. I’ll take the time to think about what I’m teaching my own kids through what I say (or how I say it).
I’m sure there could be more, but I figure this is a good starter for ten anyway. If you have any more suggestions I’d love to hear them.
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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work
environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your
diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email
[email protected] for more information.
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