On Being Inclusive to All
In my last post, I shared how using blanket statements like “inclusive” and “safe” to describe our brands can do more harm than good. An alternative can be subtle, like shifting from saying “inclusive” to “more inclusive.”
A lot of folks in the wedding industry share well-meaning sentiments like, “all are included and welcome here” or we’re “inclusive to all!” I’ve learned in community with @EricaCourdae that “If you’re including everyone, you’re not including anyone.”
Erica shares that you can’t make anything more inclusive or diverse unless it’s safer to do so. But before we can get to the place to evaluate safety, we need to define our values and see how they show up in action.
In The Art of Online Business’ podcast episode, “How to Create a More Inclusive Business,” Erica explains, “If I say having these people included matters…why? Who is being included? Do they feel included or did you decide that they feel included?…If I use a word that is unfortunately overused and can be a buzzword [inclusive], what does it actually mean when I use it?”
An example of this would be how the NFL recently promoted featuring deaf performers and ASL interpreters for the Super Bowl’s halftime show for the first time ever. When it aired, they didn’t actually showcase them. Instead, they created an unnecessary roadblock to access by requiring viewers to download an app to watch them perform separately.
Was this year’s Super Bowl more accessible and inclusive than last year? Technically, yes. Was it inclusive and accessible? No. For many, it actually did more harm than good, since the deaf performers were essentially used performatively as stage props for inclusivity.
So, how do we identify what inclusivity even means for our brands? Something as seemingly simple as having our values listed on our website can be incredibly impactful.
Their class was a game-changer for me to figure out what matters most to me, who I want to feel included, and what direct actions I can take to get there (imperfectly).