Part of the blogpost series "Diversity and Integration"
Our northern neighbors are usually examples of courtesy and multicultural sensibility the news It was surprising, if not shocking, whether Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used Brownface on at least two occasions. Talking to my Canadian friends and family, the usual question was, "Who's his PR person and how the hell do not they know how to stay one step ahead of a story?" It means, "Why did not he use his behavior as an opportunity to have an open discussion about cultural sensitivity and inclusion ?!"
"Gotcha" moments rarely encourage open discussion, as the conversation does not begin until the insensibility is discovered. If possible, incidents must be avoided. This does not mean that one trolls through the past to find every single instance of insensitivity and exclusion, but that one has to get involved in the obvious when one is in a position of power and influence. Trudeau was (or would have) checked for previous acts of insensitivity or exclusion, and when these Brownface photos were approved, he would have needed to develop a sincere, meaningful action plan. By acting as an example of exclusion, racial and ethnic insensitivity, Trudeau would have given Canadians a leader willing and willing to lead a national discussion on diversity and inclusion.
Instead of weeks of meaningful dialogue on diversity and inclusion, Canada will now have weeks Mea culpas. The former leads all; The latter offers little of this advantage.
What if, instead of the weeks of mea culpas, We had seen Trudeau conducting a national conversation about truth and reconciliation. (Note that consciously "reconciliation" is used instead of "reconciliation." Reconciliation is based on an earlier healthy relationship that is falling apart, reconciliation is the effort to create one.) "This is what I did and it scares me at the time when I thought that was okay. I dropped the ball, but I pick it up again because I'm feeling remorseful and can do better. Accompany me."
Imagine doing it now in your law firms, in your social environment and in professional organizations. Open and civil conversation on meaningful diversity and inclusion efforts must begin or expand, and the dialogue should not always be initiated by the fringe group or just a "gotcha" moment. The conversation about these important aspects of our lives must continue, and the issues must be prioritized and proactive. No "gotcha" about it.
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