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Inclusion is an ethical issue

Anytime we think about another person or group as “less than,” or treat another person or group as “less than,” we are unethical. 

It’s very simple, really. We are all human, and as humans, we all have rights and dignity.

We all have a right to be here and to be treated with respect and fairness.

Why do people treat others as “less than?”

Attempts to portray others as “less than” may come from a desire for power, control or personal gain.

They may stem from trying to overcome low self-esteem by imagined superiority. They may come from misinformation. They may come from having lost one’s own sense of humanity. 

We can fall into the trap of thinking the label is the person, rather than realizing that each person is unique and has a life story.

Sometimes treating people as “less than” happens when people use labels to understand others. Labels are helpful for understanding how to group objects or content. But they’re not helpful with people.

With people, labels divide us. When we group people into categories the way we do content, we give those categories labels. We can fall into the trap of thinking the label is the person, rather than recognizing that each person is unique and has a life story. 

What can we do about it?

Treating people as “less than” makes it more difficult for them to fully contribute to society in ways that benefit us all.

We can treat people as individuals, instead of making assumptions based on labels.

We can talk about how labels interfere with positive relationships.

We can educate others about the importance of full inclusion.

We can raise awareness about how we’re all part of the same group – the “human group.”

In the past year, people have protested by the millions around the world to say “Enough.”

The diverse groups that have gathered around the world want us to hear that, wherever it comes from, the “less than” fallacy has run its course. 

It is not part of who we are when we are at our best. It is not part of our successful future.

It’s time to get past a “less than” mentality, recognizing it as flawed thinking, so that we can focus our attention on mutual understanding.

That would brings us “more than” the capacity we need to resolve our current global challenges.

How are you helping people see past labels? Share your story in the comments below.


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