›› Lizz Brooks & Shae Zamardi
We are in a time when diversity and inclusion are showcased as the golden standard for a healthy work environment. But is that enough? Does having representation within our media and organizations have an impact if there is little room for cultural safety behind the scenes? In short, yes, but it may not always be positive.
Some of the most inclusive spaces I have seen have regularly provided opportunities for discussion, and an understanding of microaggressions and the various levels of privilege and power dynamics. Because of this, even when I’m in an environment vastly different from my own identity or values, there is a sense of understanding and I can relax. I do not feel the need to explain myself or my own people’s history to feel seen. If I have a concern to address to educate my team on inclusivity and cultural sensitivity, I am confident that they will listen. For cultural safety, the work needs to be done whether or not those identified individuals are on the team.
Inclusion involves reflecting on how we operate. Maybe policies are updated to encourage individuals to practice their teachings within their work. Perhaps current structures or boundaries need to be deconstructed and altered or removed altogether. It is easy to want to focus on increasing the diversity within our teams first, but we cannot do so without first looking at our practice.
Diversity is not about looking at who is included but rather who is missing. Cultural Safety is how we create change for both present and future individuals so our teams can better reflect the diversity within our society.
Interested in learning more about Cultural Intelligence and Indigenous Perspectives? You can register for Indigenous Perspectives Society’s upcoming Cultural Perspectives Training on July 7th at ipsociety.ca.