Diversity and the Golden Rule
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, ” Luke 6:31. The golden rule has been offered in a variety of ways: the law of reciprocity, the silver rule. Whether pronounced as religious dogma or secular adage it’s good advice and seemingly without debate.
But it’s not.
While there are universal applications to the golden rule it can come up short when the “as you would have others do unto you” part is thoroughly considered. Implicit in the second part of the rule is the premise that others would want what we want, but that’s not always to case. In fact it’s often not the case.
What??? How could anyone want anything other than what I see is best for them?
Perhaps, just perhaps you don’t know what’s best for everyone.
As a long-time journalist and journalism teacher I’ve preached fairness, balance and accuracy for years. Those were the big-three on the list of rules to press into the young minds of would-be reporters. But after the craft was well into its adulthood did it become apparent to us that our individual perspectives might, just might, be coloring our definition of fairness, balance and accuracy.
Fortunately for those of us in the business we were tackled in full-stride by “others” who said “Stop! What about me?”
Those “others” were people of different races, faiths, cultures who felt – and proved – they were not being represented in the stories we were reporting. It wasn’t so much that the stories themselves were lacking, it was the selection of the stories – what we chose to cover, or more accurately, what we chose not to cover.
So we added another consideration to the big … four: fairness, balance, accuracy and “representation of diverse views.” Our reporting instantly changed: Newscasts now offered more stories, the available voices increased and audiences grew.
Audiences grew. Hmmm
Read that as “business grew.”
The golden rule works now better than ever because the “as you would have them do unto you” part includes really thinking about others and others really thinking about my needs and wants. In many ways business success and journalistic success grows as we thinking about others from an informed perspective.
In TSOD.com Discovering Diversity training we ask some hard questions. Sometimes they’re uncomfortable too.
What about you? Is it time to learn about those in your universe? Really take the time to dig in and find out what makes others smile and weep?