Please enjoy the Thought for the Term from Miss LandsbertPosted on: 06/01/2023
What springs to mind when you think of diversity? Disability, LGBTQ+ or racial equality; or perhaps the dance group from X Factor?My first thoughts were these, but I then reflected on how important it is to listen to diverse views, and how social media makes it harder for all of us to do this.
Liz Fosslien, who works with companies to develop high performing teams, puts it like this: 'Diversity is having a seat at the table, inclusion is having a voice at the table, and belonging is having that voice be heard.'
The problem is that social media makes it much harder for us to encounter and hear different voices.
You may have heard that social media is an ‘echo chamber’ -social media companies use algorithms to look at our posts and reflect more of the same content back at us.To do this they use both the words and pictures we use and ‘like’. We then see more posts that fit our view of the world, and not the diversity of people and views in the ‘real’ world.We are at risk of living in online bubbles, seeing only information from people who are like and agree with us.Where there are two options around an issue, this system is polarising. The two groups don’t really encounter the views of the opposite side.That can mean that people confidently see others as right or wrong, sometimes leading to tension and a lack of consideration of evidence and facts.
To build a peaceful world where everyone feels they belong, it is important to be conscious of this and to actively search out views different to our own.As the American Christian clergyman and long-time peace activist, William Sloane Coffin Jr., said, 'Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without'.
As we begin a new year, with new beginnings, I urge you to reflect on ways that you can embrace diversity to help build a more tolerant and peaceful society for us all.