An inclusive environment, to me, is one that doesn't have an "inclusiveness program" or policy, but rather just treats people like people. Yes, I am a white male of European descent. But I am also Autistic, Bipolar, and have days where I cannot leave my house due to anxiety levels being through the roof. Luckily, I'm a contractor and freelancer so days on the couch crying are okay. But I've worked at several environments where mental health issues were totally understood, but with a deadline in mind.
By that I mean that my colleagues and supervisors, or even the people working under me were really understanding of the fact that the fluorescent lights were making me head feel like it was going to explode. They acted totally okay with the fact that I could tell a high-producing sales person that he and his team wanted in a product was totally irrelevant and he could go back to counting his money and let software people worry about software problems, then be unable to leave my office the next day due to fear that I would somehow be killed in doing so. The problem was, after awhile, the "inclusiveness" and "understanding" went away and my issues became a liability. Suddenly, 5-star reviews turned into the being raked over the coals, even though my productivity couldn't be higher.
Real inclusiveness is being accepting of people in every shape, size, orientation, gender, religion, and mental health status without a deadline in mind. This isn't some effort to generate good PR. The idea of "Look! We promoted a black man!" or "We have engineers who are women that are actually productive!!!" is absolute nonsense because you are bragging about it. Inclusiveness isn't about public relations or a company's image and if it is, it is fake as fake can be. If you accept everybody, you don't need blow a trumpet ahead of yourself for it, you just do it because its the right thing to do.
Very well said! Thank you so much for sharing. I couldn't agree more :)
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