I was reading an article about Ayn Rand the other day (don’t worry this is not about laissez faire capitalism) and came across this quote, which is one of my favorite quotes from her:
Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual). – Ayn Rand
Most of the quote talks about basic human rights, i.e. the statement that it is not right for a majority to take away the rights of a minority. But the part in parentheses is often over looked and shouldn’t be:
…and the smallest minority on earth is the individual.
Think about it, we are all different whether it is an external factor (skin, hair and eye color) or an internal factor (intelligence, religious/political beliefs), so in essence we are all minorities. There is no other Melissa in the world, you would probably be hard pressed to find another HR blogger who also plays violin (if you do though let me know).
How can we build organizations that include and respect all types of people, not just EEOC defined groups? How do we create a culture where all individuals feel included and valued?
These days most organizations recognize and value diversity. This is a wonderful thing, it’s a comfort to people like my mom to know that the chances of hearing “we don’t hire people with accents” are greatly reduced. But what about all the other things that make us different besides an accent? It’s impossible to create individualized recruitment programs for the various segments of our population (personally I prefer the targeted recruiting of HR bloggers ).
To create and sustain cultures where all individuals feel valued and included I believe we must continue to strive toward creating cultures of inclusiveness; creating a culture where people are free to be you and me. Inclusiveness is more then just saying “we want more female lawyers” it is about saying we want lawyers that come from diverse and different paths in life because all perspectives help our organization. After all, how can we produce profitable products and create jobs for a country of increasingly diverse individuals if we don’t have diverse people building, selling and marketing those products?
- Ayn Rand: 10 great quotes on her birthday (csmonitor.com)
- Joe Gerstandt Blog – a true diversity and inclusion expert!