The Business of Being Equal

What if?

One of my passions is Diversity and Inclusion.  Of all the work available in the world, at this point in my life, I feel like this space is one where I can serve best . My story sounds like something out of a diversity handbook.  Born to a multi-cultural family, very early on I dealt with issues that tend to separate many of us .  By age three I had to make distinctions between races, religions, and ethnicity.  But I won’t get to far into that now.  Let’s just say that NAACP meetings, marching to support the Voter’s Rights Act, going to church, visiting the mosque, learning about gurus, listening to hip hop, country, and rock, learning that I come from Kings, Queens, and slaves, and thinking about what it meant to love my white step-family despite the fact that their influence left my brother and I to be raised by a struggling single mother was routine for me.  But through it all, I learned to seek out what we all had in common. 

For a long time, I was asked to choose sides.  I didn’t want to.  All of that exposure was a part of me and it seemed like denying any part was like denying my very existence.  So for years I hypothesized on how I could create some way to show everyone how it was possible for all of us to forgive, work together, and respect each other.  That’s why I was so excited to learn about Diversity and Inclusion programs in companies.  I assumed that the world was finally “getting it” and that we were ready to put aside our differences and get to the truth of this relationship experiment called America.  But over the years, I have realized that D&I is just scratching the surface. 

One of the main things you hear people talking about in D&I is the business case.  In other words, “How can we get richer off of accepting the inherent value of our stakeholders?  Show me the dollars and it will make sense.”  That’s pretty much the same as saying, “I’ll let the slaves free if you can tell me how I can get richer by doing so.”  Again, let me say that I am not talking about white people. It’s people in general.  Basically, there is a belief that there is more money to be made in our separation than there is in our unity.  As long as we feel that way, there is going to be a struggle, because someone is always going to think about what they have to lose and they will consciously or unconsciously sabotage any efforts toward Oneness.  Do you think I am exaggerating?

Both men in the picture above were assassinated, but no one can point to anything that they said that devalued other human beings.  Some people could take the easy route and point their fingers at the assassins and be done with it.  But the fact is that even the people who followed the teachings of these men often wanted them silenced.  Why?  Because they feared what they had to lose.  Dr. King and Gandhi were striving toward total equality and ultimately, that is bad for business as we operate today.  People on both sides of any fence think unity will take too much time and effort and if they can’t see the “measurable benefits” fast enough, they are ready to quit and shoot the messenger. Fortunately, I don’t think it will always be that way or I wouldn’t dare write this.  Hey, I’m human too.

Do I have a solution?  No I don’t.  The only thing I can think is to tear down the fence and start talking–trusting that there is a solution in there somewhere. At this stage all I can offer is my voice to state what’s obvious to anyone who is paying attention.  People in empowerment circles–to include clergy, motivational speakers, and positive psychologists–will quickly assert the infinite nature of the human spirit. We encourage and hope that the world will “wake up” and that people will see the “Truth”. But in an economic world driven by fear of loss, consciousness is, quite frankly, bad for business. It’s presently believed that if people “wake up”, the market will completely crash. That’s why so much is invested in creating diversion. Think about it. Would someone overextend themselves for a nice pair of jeans if they knew that they were infinitely beautiful just as they are? What would happen to the security businesses if everyone trusted each other? If everyone were treated equally, what would happen to Diversity and Inclusion programs? What do you think? Below is a poem expressing the nature of consciousness as I experience it. Could you see someone standing up in a board room telling the company that they should do business in this context? I believe one day it will happen–as soon as it becomes practical. How do you think we will arrive to that point?

The Nature of Consciousness
I’m everywhere and nowhere
In Spaceless Space
I have Infinite reflections
But I have no face

I’m in everything and nothing
And beyond all time
If I’m ever pinned down
I will have no mind

As I move through Stillness
I bring dynamic Truth
That all things are One
When you need no proof

© Copyright 2010 Pedro S. Silva II

With Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday celebration on January 18, 2010, I figured it was a good a time as any to ask myself these questions and pose them to others.  Are we ready to “wake up”?  As Gandhiji would have asked are we ready to make it our business to “be the change [we] want to see in the world”?  Where would we fit in if we really accepted that we are all truly created equal?

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