The Five A’s of Diversity
You know people have differences, physical, generational and cultural. Pretending differences don’t exist is like denying your blind or deaf. Living in denial may comfort us for a while, but being run over by a car that’s honking warnings for you to move is still going to hurt. Don’t deny differences; Celebrate them by asking people to share their experience living with their differences. Doing this is most likely to have positive results if you focus on the similarities between you and the other person.
For example, it is very easy for me to start a mutually enjoyable conversation with someone who has noticeable physical differences. The fact that I also have physical differences makes me quite comfortable doing this. I’m comfortable because I am noticing our similarities. People are more alike than we are different. See your similarities. My comfortable easy manner makes them comfortable.
The following 5A’s, which I partially followed for years but only recently learned to articulate by reading David Richo’s book How to be an Adult in Relationships. Not learning to be comfortable with people who are similar to me but different from the general public or different than me, but like the general public, was not an option. Being
a person with notable differences, I learned these 5A’s without even realizing it because knowing them makes my day to day life easier. I most frequently share them with employers and employees who work lives are made easier by knowing them, so they are written from that viewpoint.