Friday, 6 July 2012

Diversity and arrogance

This week got me thinking.  I went on a training course for my own interest which is very unusual for me.  I usually avoid them like the plague.  It was really good - it was a Diversity type course - but was getting attendees to think about their own biases instead of being the usual legislation fest.  Great course, brilliant tutor.  I’m not sure how you would have approached this, but I (without really realising it really) I decided not to out myself over the 2 days.  Part of me wonders whether it was a missed opportunity and part of me is pleased that a group of strangers don’t know my secret.

Over the course of the two days, we were encouraged to understand our biases - and I definitely have some.  Even though actually they were irrational in some cases, they were there, hidden away.  But the thing that struck me (and I don’t mean this to sound pompous) but I was surprised at how few I seemed to have.  On one level, this might be viewed as me being in denial and that I’m kidding myself.  That might be true too.  But it made me think about my personal history and why I might not be so biased.

One of the personal traits I hate the most is arrogance, I really can’t cope with it.  I used to recruit people for a job and if you displayed lots of it, I was definitely not impressed.  Ah, well there is one bias I guess.  But I strive to be known as possessing humility and being non-judgmental.  This week made me realise that a lot of that comes out of the fact that, wrongly probably, I have a deep sense of being a flawed human being.  Some would chastise me for even thinking that my bisexuality and transgendered nature (or nurture?) is in someway wrong.  But hopefully we could at least agree that it is certainly not mainstream.  But being these things have caused me to have a deep affinity for other people who are not mainstream and who would easily be rejected.

For all of my faults, it was nice to realise that one of my strengths is that I care about people who others will more readily dismiss.  The next challenge for me, that I struggle with, is how to show that empathy.  To the outside world I’m a white, middle class, fat, family focussed bloke.  I don’t wear a badge showing what I really am.   I worry that, for example, a tattoo’d, pierced person would look at me and see normalsville.  That might lead them think that I’m judging them because of my outward appearance, where as inside I feel so positively towards towards them and respect the choices they’ve made.

I’m probably talking out of my bottom.  I call this a rambling for a reason y’know.  But this week started to make me think about something I’ve not consciously considered before.  I’m at the start of that reflection process, hence my not fully formed and probably nonsense capture of my thoughts.  But I thought they might be of vague interest.  Caveat over.

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