The Compassion, Diversity and Inclusion Connection
How do these 3 concepts and their interactions propel us into better relationships at work, home, school and with ourselves?
Diversity includes many seen (racial, sex, color, ability) and unseen aspects of identity (sexual orientation, political point of view, veteran status) and many other aspects that impact peoples lives in society. Personal experience, social and family history, public policy, and even geography play a role in how diversity is constructed. In our brief, 8 week course we’ll explore elements of civility and fairness within the community. Culturally competent people understand the complexity of their own personal identity, values, and culture, so we will consider these elements in ourselves and others.
Equity plays a major part in achieving fairness in a diverse landscape. Equity gives everyone equal access to opportunity and success. For example, many students have learning differences that require accommodations in the classroom. For example, a student with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) might be given more time to complete tests or writing assignments. The extra time granted takes into account that students with ADHD process information differently.
If a student with a learning difference is given more time than other students to complete a test, that is a matter of equity. The student is not being given an advantage; the extra time gives them an equal chance at success.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA, 1990) is a federal government policy that addresses equity in the workplace, housing, and public places. The ADA requires “reasonable accommodations” so that people with disabilities have equal access to the same services as people without disabilities. Without accommodations, those with a disability may justly feel like second-class citizens because their needs were not anticipated. Further, they might have to use their own resources to gain equal access.
Understanding equity is not enough. When equity is properly considered, there is also inclusion. Inclusion means that there are a multiplicity of voices, skills, and interests represented in any given situation. Inclusion has played a major role in education, especially in terms of creating inclusion classrooms and inclusive curricula. In an inclusion classroom, students of different skill levels study together. For example, a college course in psychology might include consideration of different contexts such as immigration, incarceration, or unemployment in addition to addressing societal norms.
Inclusion means that these voices of varied background and experience are integrated into discussions, research, and assignments rather than ignored.
Compassion is multi-dimensional, covering a broad range of affective, cognitive, and behavioral constructs and is expressed through a wide range of behaviors that can be observed at the individual and group level. At least three elements of compassion have been established: noticing another’s suffering, empathically feeling the person’s pain, and acting to ease the suffering. Importantly, compassion goes past empathy to actual helping behavior, whether or not the action achieves the goal of ameliorating suffering.
While Compassion is the wish to relieve those who are suffering in a kind and non-judgmental way, self-compassion takes that idea and turns it toward oneself. Self-compassion differs from global self-esteem, which is related to narcissism. Although self-compassion and global self-esteem are highly correlated global self-esteem, self-compassion has a host of additional benefits. For example, self-compassionate people tend to have higher resilience and are better able to cope with failure as they tend to be driven by a desire to learn.
Importantly, compassion is an active force in three interconnected directions:
- Compassion for others
- Receiving compassion/help from others
Our Compassion, Diversity and Inclusion Training and Certificate Program covers measurable, actionable ways to grow as an individual, and with society!