Inclusiveness shouldn’t be overlooked
Unity is a simple concept to comprehend, yet when it comes to actually executing this very important aspect of life and culture it becomes more difficult than last week’s physics or calculus exam.
What is it about coming together as one unit, family, group or culture that makes people shy away? Could it be possible that our ability to function well within a group stems from our cultural backgrounds or how we were raised?
For example, in some cultures, family is a very important aspect of life. A person’s family is his or her central operating system in the sense that family members offer guidance, support and comfort.
However, in society today, family can be interpreted in more ways than it was when our grandparents and great-grandparents were growing up. Today, family can be defined as two or more people who share a common interest, come together as a whole unit or share the same admiration for one another, and if we really think about it, that encompasses so many things.
When one pledges to a fraternity or sorority, the person and the people pledging along with him or her become like a family. The pledge class or line support each other through the good and bad times of pledging, argue as if they really are siblings and motivate each other to reach the end of the process because after a while, that’s what they all want.
However, wouldn’t it be great if that concept transcended into our mostly individualistic society?
From the time we’re young to even our college years we learn to be competitive because there is always someone who will be smarter or more qualified. Medical and law schools, especially the more prestigious institutions, pride themselves on having highly selective admissions standards.
One can almost hear the chancellor or admissions director saying, "Only the best of the best will be accepted into our school," which is great for the school, but at the same time selecting the best of the best does not always result in the same end product.
While sometimes being an individual can prove to be productive and conducive to the environment, most other times, the ability to function within a group as an equal contributor is the heart of what society should be.
Often times we exclude another person from a group because he or she doesn’t fit the mold or refuses to conform to the group’s standards – without deliberating over what the person could add to the group’s atmosphere.
We all have the potential to add something different, new and spontaneous to a group. But at the same time, for some, it is hard to look beyond the ideals and concerns of the other members of the group.
Some groups want to remain exactly how they were founded. Members of the same group sometimes exclude other members for various reasons, most of which are completely invalid.
Exclusion oftentimes leads to stereotyping and prejudice, which results in the breeding of ignorance and obliviousness to one’s surroundings.
"Together we stand, divided we fall" and "All for one and one for all" are frequently used to motivate a large group of people to unite for a common cause.
We’re all either directly or indirectly part of a group (i.e. age, race, gender, orientation, religion, education). It is how we function within the group that makes us, as well as the group, complete and whole.
Latimer, an English post-baccalaureate, can be reached via [email protected]