Best Actress Oscar winner, Frances McDormand offered Hollywood a challenge to demand an Inclusion Rider for any contracts they sign. In other words, to use their clout and celebrity to pay it forward by having a Rider in their contracts requiring that the cast and crew have equal hiring for gender and racial equality. Mcdormand herself admitted she had just learned about an Inclusion Rider and challenged the room of Hollywood heavy hitters to step up and demand equality, fare pay and diversity to make movies better and more reflective of the diversity of our culture.
This may seem like a lofty goal, but as she pointed out in her speech, women’s rights and diversity are not “trending” but instead a real shift in the collective consciousness to a better and fairer society.
But how does this translate to our own lives, outside of Oscar parties and Hollywood contracts? How can we take the concept of an Inclusion Rider into our own communities, schools and dinner tables? To go beyond the familiar and old ways of doing things may take a bit of a stretch out of our comfort zones to step into the territory of the unknown. In other words, let’s think of ways that we can make our everyday lives more inclusive of different races, religions or ideologies.
Be conscious in your hiring. If you are in a position to hire someone, be it as simple as a tutor or caregiver, be mindful of inclusion of the underrepresented. If you run a business, make sure that you have the gift of diversity and gender equality to make your company more open minded and to thrive.
Use Inclusive language. Be mindful of what we model to our children. When we represent prejudices, even in subtle ways about groups of people, we plant the seeds of exclusivity in our children’s minds. The fear of someone different than us, is an illusion we must consciously dispel in ourselves so that we don’t pass it along to the next generation.
Be a mentor. What are ways that you can reach out to someone and include them in a more inclusive atmospher? Become a Big Sister, maybe become a foster parent or offer tutoring in another neighborhood than your own. Find a way that you can directly reach out to another person and enjoy the symbiosis of the ways it will enrich you both.
Volunteer. Really, do. Include the whole family. Pick a cause that is close to your heart and get involved. This is one way to not only give back with service, but to expand our interactions to include people that we may not ever encounter in our everyday lives.
Be honest with yourself. Do most of the people in your social circle think, look and worship exactly as you do? Maybe it’s time to broaden your horizons a bit. Stepping out of our social comfort zone may feel strange at first but can open a world of perspective to you and your family. Give people with different thoughts, different backgrounds and different ideas room at your dinner table. Who knows, not only will you make new friends, but it may open minds and hearts to each other in ways we have never before imagined.