The Inclusive Start
We have talked a lot about challenges first years face when they move to college, and today we are talking about a term that causes issues among the communities on campus but also solves a lot of issues. The term we are referring to is inclusivity! Over the course of this blog we want to help teach you what the term inclusivity, inclusion, and inclusive mean, how we can practice them, and why it is so important especially in today’s society.
So to start their needs to be an understanding of what the term inclusivity means. According to Websters dictionary inclusivity is, “the practice or policy of including people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those who have physical or mental disabilities and members of minority groups.” Now that is the literal definition of this term, however, when you cut the term down to its roots inclusivity means, to include those who may feel or be excluded from the subject at hand. The word inclusivity contains a word you have known since kindergarten and that is include. Which if you remember from grade school means to be a friend, be respectful, and be polite. So the truth of the matter while you are hearing the word inclusivity used more, and you may be confused, the context of it is to just fulfill the lessons our youth teachers and our parents taught us growing up.
Now that you under inclusivity the question then stands how do we properly practice inclusivity in society as an adult? Because no longer are situations so easily fixed by inviting someone to sit with you at lunch or get some dinner after work on Thursday. While those are excellent steps and great common practices there are more advanced practices of inclusivity we all need to be aware of and practice in our every day lives. The most prominent example of a more “advanced” skill of inclusivity is practicing inclusive language. What this means is using a persons correct pronouns, using proper language in reference to race, culture, and ethnicity, and admitting to mistakes you made and learning from the past. So as a reference it is not acceptable to say, “That is so gay!” This phrase and or saying associates the term gay in a negative connotation with the subject at hand.
You now understand the definition of inclusivity, you know that there are more advanced practices we should be implementing, and now it’s time to answer the question of why we are pressing the importance of this matter. For starters it’s called being respectful a skill and word you were taught at a very young age. It shows that you are not racist, sexist, or homophobic. However, for some people respect isn’t reason enough to press on the importance and properly practice inclusivity. If respect isn’t enough consider this. The more inclusive, respectful, and understanding our society becomes the more productive, efficient, and advanced we will also become. Because what inclusivity does is give us a platform where individuals feel comfortable to express ideas and beliefs they have. What this does then is introduce new ideas, creations, and understanding of different topics and advance us forward. Everyone brings something different to the table and inclusivity allows those things to be put on display.
Inclusivity is important and stepping on to college for the first time with throw you into plethora of situations where you will need to know what talked about here today. While being thrown into those situations remember what everyone has taught you and just understand the importance of it when you make a mistake and have to try again another day.