What inclusion and belonging obstacles are you facing in your community building journey?

Someone on Twitter transparency shared that they were receiving feedback from their community members that it felt very homogenous. A few gems tagged me in the post as building and fostering inclusive communities is my bag (ex. inclusion and belonging consultant).

So I’m opening this discussion to The Village to find out what specific roadblocks people are facing and I’ll circle back with a Medium post answering some of the questions.

Note: I avoid referring to people as ‘diverse’ and no longer use the term diversity as it furthers othering.

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The part that I struggle with the most is that people aren’t willing to do the work.

Like, if I kick up a fuss about lack of women, so often a white man will respond asking me to spend my free time helping them solve the problem, or helping them find women.

I’m far from an expert, but I don’t think people realise that people need to live diversity in their every day life to have diversity in their community.

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This one is super juicy and a major part of the problem! Let’s dive in real quick @rosiesherry:

  1. Yes to that end part because it has to be a daily practice indeed. It is all about taking a moment to think 'what voices are NOT being amplified in this room? And what can I personally do to fix this?
  2. Free labour which deepens the existing issue that surrounds many marginalised groups—using pay gaps as an example for women for example. In moments like those, I hope you drop a paid office hour link, Rosie. Stef Sword-Williams at F Being Humble said it like this: Fuck Being Humble on Instagram: "They say you should repurpose your best performing content, so here’s my yearly reminder that women deserve to be paid always, but especially around International Women’s Day. 💸 I wish I didn’t have to keep saying this message every year but I think it’s a needed reminder. At the current rate, it will take 257 years to close the global gender pay gap so if you are planning any activations, please, please consider this before you ask people to work for free. And the same goes for any other plans you have throughout the calendar year that aim to improve equality. And if you really do have zero budget, then don’t come empty handed. Think about genuinely beneficial things that would help that person, before you approach them. But where possible, find the budget and pay people their value if you want to truly work towards a better system. 💵💵💵 #IWD #internationalwomensday"
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Recommendation for those that may fall into this habit and trap: instead of saying ‘I have x problem–what’s the solution’ try ‘I’ve researched and found resources that dive into x. Do you have any insight on x in the context of x?’

Here’s a brief from my field: mathematics education. People tragically believe that math is not for everyone. “I am bad at math” is socially acceptable, even encouraged. It’s socially acceptable not to support the majority of children to make sure they are good at math (even more so than with other societal inequities). A lot of grown-ups suffer from mathematical grief and trauma from their early education. You’ll see people’s trauma when they gasp, start shaking, and sometimes cry when you talk about math ed. Math does require specialized emotional and physical support (like sports, for example) - but people don’t know the first thing about that! For example, people don’t know that mathematics burns calories very fast (so they crash and feel sick trying to do math while hungry). Another example: many math concepts produce intense shock and awe in many learners (infinity is a prime example). We got to treat learning mathematics as an intense emotional experience it is, or risk alienating people. Doing math solo is almost always futile, so peer and mentor support is a must. As your read these examples, you probably see how vulnerable people get outright excluded by these effects, not having general safety nets to help, and need specific support to belong in mathematics.