Diversity Of Thought Needs Fostering

Diversity Is Harder Than You Think

Most of the time when you hear people talk about diversity, they are trying to equalize or level the playing field. Most think of diversity in terms of race, gender, sex, nationality, or other large group identifications.

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These things are certainly important, especially in cases where discrimination is happening. It’s widely viewed as negative to construct a world where people are judged only on surface level conditions or the circumstances of their heritage. But practitioners of these methodologies often fail to recognize that not all people in a group (should) think alike. Nor do gay people have the same views inherently. In fact, thinking that all people within a single group believe the same things or act particular ways is inherently prejudicial thinking. The kind of thinking not congruent with diversity.



Why Is Diversity Difficult? It Involves Adversity

be prepared to listen to conversations about all kinds of hateful things if you want diverse thought in your organization. You’re opening the door to Pandora’s box (metaphorically speaking), and that might be a good thing in this case. If those kinds of thoughts are not allowed to be spoken, things can get weird.

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Things get especially weird because eventually there form a number of camps. One camp gets to tell the other camp what they’re allowed to say, how they can say it, and that same camp doles out punishment to whoever doesn’t fall in line. That’s so dangerous and we’ve seen what it does to people, countries, and governments all through the 20th century. It’s not good.

Sometimes you’re dead wrong, too, and somebody likely needs to tell you. Most of the time, especially with regards to our most deeply or personally held beliefs, we stay attached regardless of the damage. You have probably known people who are just wrong about certain things. Things that are not a matter of debate or discussion. Facts. Not speculative issues, like what might happen in the future, or who the greatest athlete is.

Debate Is Dead (Great, another “thing is dead” opine)…

It’s hard to find a real debate any longer. Mostly you just see people shouting their opinions at each other without any real regard for merit. Moderation has also gone by the wayside. Too many people have politicized themselves to such extremes and with such consistency that they are incapable of taking enough time to understand something to form a proper opinion about it. It’s baffling.

Twitter comments cascade into madness. It happens on Reddit too. And Facebook. Online, there are a lot of pseudo debates with people hurling insults, well reasoned arguments, memes, GIF’s, sarcastic comments, questions, opinions, and whatever else you can imagine. These things all splinter off into their own little sub-world where they are never resolves and everybody leaves upset. Nothing resolved.

Now, maybe in a real debate things still end up unresolved at the end if the opposing parties don’t learn anything from each other or still hold their positions fast. Either way, at least you can hear what a person has to say, respond, and counter it back. Maybe part of old-fashioned debate that doesn’t work is that it isn’t conversational, which isn’t how people are. When you talk things out with a partner, you may argue.

Gloom, Doom, and Economic Boom

Diversity of thought should lead to innovation. You may have to think about some bad ideas once you’ve exhausted all the ideas in the room that are deemed good ones. Make up new ideas. Bring in the janitor to hear their thoughts on the subject. Talk to people you sit next to on the train. Whatever it takes to find that spark of inspiration or the solution to a problem unsolvable merely using the brain power between your own two ears.

There is a danger to the “everybody is your guru” mentality, too, of course. Many people fall victim to believing that a completely democratized system of decision making will necessarily yield the best results.

It doesn’t. Why not? A lot of people are uninformed, or lack the knowledge. Many people are incapable of reasoning to a high enough degree to solve certain problems. Others simply don’t care and aren’t helpful.

For example, if you’re looking for advice on copywriting, are you going to ask a professional writer or your uncle who flies a plane? The pilot is probably highly intelligent or at the very least sophisticated enough to be trusted with a massive machine that carries human beings and freight in it! But they are unlikely to have the experience or qualifications as the professional writer.

What Do You Know?

People often debate experts when they don’t have the fortitude to stand in a proper debate.

In those cases, the conversation often devolves into yelling, shouting, name calling, and shunning or shaming. It’s childish. Unproductive. It also causes a static effect with respect to a diversity of anything.

So if you’re looking to innovate, you should get inspired from all over the place. Talk to all kinds of people about all kinds of things so your mind is trained to make the connections that nobody else can make. Do not judge people based on their “group identity” if you’re looking to find out what their individuality can tell you. That’s what you want when you’re looking for a diversity of thought, is individuals who can think (and perhaps even more importantly ,;speak) for themselves.