Personal Flexibility and Discrimination

purple fireworks effect
Photo by Wendy Wei on Pexels.com

Maybe those of us in a position of privilege (baby boomer white males like myself especially) can learn the most about personal flexibility from the people that society discriminates against the most. How they cope on a daily basis and their stories of struggle are probably the best examples of flexibility and the strength of the human spirit both.

I recently watched the first TV series ‘Pose’ – largely about the LGBT community in New York in the late 1980s. A review by the Guardian newspaper of the series is as follows:

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2019/mar/21/pose-review-ryan-murphy-show-voguing-underground-ballroom-new-york

The hit series has lots of great lines, colourful characters, irony and great acting too. It’s also sparked some interesting post-series interviews and discussion with the main actors – refer You Tube interviews with Angelica Ross, Dominique Jackson and Indya Moore, to name a few.

The series shows how the trans-gender community, particularly black trans-gender women were effectively at the bottom of the status pecking order and it’s an open question whether they still are. For the characters in the series, attending costume balls hosted by their LGBT community and running fashion houses to support the models attending those balls was about celebrating human expression, their identity and defining humanity on their own terms.

Often for many of us, giving feels like a one-way street. We might choose to work in Not for Profit roles, favouring mission over reward. Do some community volunteering. And/or reach out to family and friends in various ways. The Blanca character in Pose effectively sets herself up as a house mother and one person charity to those in the New York LGBT community. Yet has few resources and quite a bit of discrimination of her own to deal with. Her giving contribution is eventually validated by all concerned, but her leadership along the way is inspiring, for those of us walking the one way street.

What we can all do is discriminate and judge a bit less. The World will be a better place for it. There won’t be so much work for litigation lawyers, therapists, social workers, hospitals or the companies who make weapons. Like one of the characters in the series said ‘kindness doesn’t cost you anything.’

Simon

Diversity and Flexibility

fruit market
Photo by Madison Inouye on Pexels.com

We quite happily accept a diverse range of food dishes and food presentation styles. Regarding music, we like live performances and listening on our headphones.  We may enjoy a range of music genres. We might sing in the shower but prefer others to sing on stage. What to wear each day? We like various colours, patterns, levels of warmth and levels of formality in our clothing wardrobe.

We like happy surprises. We people watch and take a variety of photos, including selfies. We travel as tourists to see exotic sights and experience something of different cultures.

We read a variety of books, blogs, articles and adverts. We may download various TED talks and YouTube videos, both to be inspired, to be entertained and to learn something.

We appreciate the changing seasons. And watching children or pets slowly grow into fully-fledged adults. We like more than one sport and different kinds of entertainment.

We find a bit of variety at work brightens the work day and makes it seem a bit shorter. We like gardens with diversity in them. We like politicians who aren’t just clones of each other.

In short, we enjoy diversity and variety. So why is it when it comes to our fellow humans, we are so intolerant and so inflexible?  Some of us consciously or subconsciously discriminate on gender, age, personality, confidence level, values, maturity level, ethnicity or disability.

The thing about variety is it can involve risk. But in areas ranging from biological evolution and design, to portfolio finance, variety can also diversify risk, add vitality and minimise threat of a poor outcome. For that alone, we should appreciate the value of diversity in human communities.

And since we seem to appreciate diversity in so many other things, why not add an appreciation of human diversity too (this appreciation is yet another form of personal flexibility and flexibility thinking). It will be in good company, after all.

Simon