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Transcending Dichotomy and Championing Diversity

Dichotomies are employed a lot in my writing and planning efforts as a frame of reference or lens to analyze what I see going on around me. This is particularly true, of course, in the presence of forces or structures that contradict or otherwise differ greatly from one another. Even so, our understandings must go above and beyond dichotomies. So much more to observe and focus our energies also exist.

So, the middle ground between the poles in a dichotomy is where we often have the most complete understanding. As such, our preference should be diversity of opinion. To achieve that, we need to venture outside of the echo chambers that live on each side of any dichotomy. With that said, diversity shouldn’t stop there if we really want to transcend all the dichotomies in our lives.

Relatedly, one of my main priorities (if not my primary priority) is inclusivity. It's hard to really be inclusive if you're always focused on "us vs. them" instead of "both/and." If you've read any of the posts here where I do explore a particular dichotomy (or multiple dichotomies), you've probably realized that I try my best to never rest in dichotomous viewpoints anyway, but it's really up to us to transcend those dichotomies in our lives and workplaces if we want to progress.

IT support (anywhere) historically may not have been very diverse, but I think we all benefit from changes recently, more emphasized in certain places, to encourage diversity at the support level, in part, to better equip us to serve the diverse populations we serve. In that sense, diversity and inclusivity are topics that most of us in IT think about regularly. How we go about implementation is where it gets confusing.

I'm fortunate that my organization already has great diversity, at least at the student level. In our management positions, even those held by students, we see much less of that same kind of diversity. I'm really focused on making sure our management and hiring practices are both equitable and fair. So, that means I'm doing my best to give marginalized populations a fair chance, which may not always appear as fair for those not in such populations.

Where it gets complicated is that our hiring practices need to provide equal consideration for all candidates even if that's not only equitable for those who don't really have as much a fair chance in life, to begin with. How we do both equality and equity in our hiring practices is a tension many of us know all too well and will likely not get easier to address anytime soon. We could focus on this dichotomy or the ones that often seem to exist between our diverse populations, but I'd rather we focus on transcending these dichotomies instead.

To do that, we're going to need to work together. We're going to need to re-evaluate all the structures in our lives and practices in terms of the inclusivity they facilitate. It will not be easy, but it will be very much be worth it. In the meantime, current employees who may represent the historical status quo rather than the diversity we'd like to encourage might need to undergo special training opportunities to ensure we're being inclusive and affirming of all populations - even those of which we are not a part or have any other frame of reference.

A saying that might be relevant here is one I often share with my team to both encourage inclusivity and provide the kind of support that's so important in the world in which we live: "You Are Not Alone. We're All in this Together."

If we really want to transcend dichotomy, if we really want to encourage diversity, we need to do all we can to make sure we build enough supportive and inclusive structures or practices so that no one, on our teams or within the populations we support, ever feels alone. We're all valid and the more we can be inclusive of that rich diversity, the more effective, supportive, and interesting we'll all be.