Diversity and Inclusivity – FAIL

I originally published this blog on 27-July. Many of you engaged with me and provided your comments – a testament that this blog really hit home for many of you. So, this behavior is real and although this blog is a variation of a situation, this apparently happens in everyday life to many of us.

This blog hit home with some people who believed it was written about them. I was encouraged to remove my blog from LinkedIn, Twitter, and my website. And I did. And I was immediately disappointed in myself for (1) not standing behind what I wrote and (2) not trusting myself that what I wrote was not something that intended to hurt, but rather strived to educate and encourage conversation. And it started a lot of conversations!

I’ve thought a lot about this – whether to publish the blog or keep it hidden. The topic was popular then and even more so now at the end of 2017. Below is the blog, updated.

— (edited)

I had a situation at the airport, where a number of us were all flying from the conference location to a city. I go to the gate and see a few colleagues chatting. Some in this group I know. I walk up to them to say hello and hopefully join the conversation. They physically close the circle without acknowledging me.

After the flight as I get to baggage claim, they are there together again. I don’t even attempt to join the conversation. I go and stand by myself. None in the group reach out to me.

I have thought about this experience multiple times since it happened, which at its core is troubling because there are so many other things I can think about! First – I wonder why it happened. Did I do something that didn’t welcome conversation? Second, I think about why this bothers me. I feel fairly accomplished in my career and comfortable with where I am both personally and professionally. I have a lot of good (great!) industry friends and contacts – why do I let these people bother me? What can i do in my day to day to make sure i don’t make another person feel this way… what can i do to make a difference?

Diversity and Inclusivity activities have been a part of my volunteer activities including various conferences, participating on panels, and speaking at events. Some of my blogs and the content I share are on diversity and inclusivity topics with the hope to educate and share tactics for inclusion.

This is important. Sameness doesn’t move the needle or drive good science. One of the things I will be more aware of and do is look for that person standing by themselves and talk with them.