“It’s not enough to help outsiders fight their way in—the real triumph will come when we no longer push anyone out.” ~Melinda Gates, The Moment of Lift
Human beings of all races, creeds, genders, and sexual orientations are pulled to exclude those around them. We can exclude them due to skin color, race, religion, gender, athletic teams, political orientation, and on and on. Exclusivity feels great to the one doing it and horrible to everyone around them. Someone always loses when it comes to excluding others—no matter how you justify, rationalize or defend the so-called reasoning behind it.
Our pull to exclude others is often about making ourselves special in some way. Keeping others “out” stems from a position of weakness, not strength. These moves harm lives, industries, communities, countries, and our world. Even the youngest among us can exclude –and often do so–when their sense of worth feels threatened, or their sense of entitlement is left unchecked. When children watch adults stomp on and ostracize others, children model this behavior themselves. Teach your children—in your words and actions—to include rather than exclude. Raise them to see the inherent worth in everyone—including themselves. Hold them accountable for carrying this concept out in their daily interactions, and hold yourself responsible for doing the same.
When we hold down one person or group, we hold down all persons and groups. Stay grounded in your humanity and step in when someone is trying to keep others out. Know that every human life is a life that matters, and act as such.
- Pay attention to the pull to knock others down or keep them on the “outs.”
- Fight your pull to be complicit in the ostracizing of others and instead stand up for them.
- Don’t exclude others: in your friendship group, at the office, in your family, neighborhood, at the PTA, in your country, or our world.