There is a lot of talk about diversity in the media these days. Only this morning when I put on the telly there was an article on assessing disabled people’s ability to work. The government has promised to overhaul the work capability process and has promised to make it more personal. Their hope is that it will help more people who can work to find jobs. It is about time too and to accept that the process was in some way impersonal is a damning indictment of the whole thing.
Immigration and ethnic diversity is also a hot topic. Elections both in Europe and America have immigration front and centre of the political campaigns, some intentionally and others more defensively.
United Kingdom law is quite clear. The Equality Act 2010 legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society, including from sex, religion, race, disability and age. Yet discrimination is still an issue.
In many ways I feel that society is becoming less tolerant and less accepting of diversity. On the face of it diversity is more visible yet we have narrower and narrower definitions of acceptability, especially in the way we look, our size and our age. Our acceptable norms are becoming more defined and anyone who strays outside of these is lambasted. Just look at the covers of most women’s magazines and they are one long guilt trip about losing weight. When did we become so?
One area though that I don’t think we’ve really addressed at all is diversity in thought and behaviour. Just as different cultures bring variety and interest to an area, diversity of thinking brings new ides to bare on old problems. Diversity of behaviour allows people to express themselves in ways that only they can. Rather than forcing people to think in one way and to do something in a standard fashion we should concentrate on the outcomes required and encourage new thoughts and methods to emerge. You never know, they may be better than the ones we have.
Each of us is different. Let’s celebrate that.