Who has ever changed their mind by getting yelled at?

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Changing the way we talk about diversity.

The way we talk about racism today, especially in the context  of  the federal elections campaign, serves neither society nor its different components. 

While issues of discrimination, racism and inequalities do make headlines, it feels like we are moving further and further away from finding solutions. We should be pleased that these questions have made their way into political debate after years of being swept under the rug. 

Unfortunately, we instead seem to be witnessing  a professional game of name-calling on all fronts, a game that serves no purpose but to create more animosity. Between the accusations and the bickering, there’s no room left to discuss sensitive issues. Instead of trying to see who’s right and who’s wrong, we should take care of our public platforms. There’s always a dedicated scapegoat to free us from the obligation of trying to understand one another. 

We are more aware than ever of social injustices and diversity issues. The pandemic sadly worsening inequalities and the media discusses these questions more and more. Yet, we still have a long way to go on learning how to talk about these issues with one another. 

Together, we have to learn to listen, and to explain the often misunderstood issues. We must embrace those who seek to understand these issues. We have to support them if we want to progress, not in the polls, but as a society. 

Diversity is more than just a topic on a televised tv debate. It’s human beings, it’s our neighbors, our children’s teacher, our parents’ nurses and caretakers, it is all of  us. It is people, and we can’t trade them for votes or ratings. 

If we want to burst bubbles, from one echo chamber to another, we must take the time to discuss matters without insulting one another. It’s time to accept others as they are, imperfections and all, without generalizing or caricaturing them. We have to accept that we can’t all be on the same page with the snap of a finger. 

Let’s start from the beginning: take a step back from the idea that we should all have a  single understanding of the issues before tackling collective solutions. We can’t ask someone who’s never faced racism to be on the same page as someone who’s experienced it all their life.  We can’t throw all antiracism concepts at organizations all at once when they’re trying to understand and do better. 
These processes are slow. And since the issues are pressing, we urgently need to start taking  our time. Taking the  time to talk, to listen and to truly hear each other out. Because, if you think about it, who has ever changed their  mind by getting yelled at?

As published in Le Soleil.

Learn more about social impact in the public sphere in It’s 2021, Let’s maximize our social impact!

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September 24, 2021

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