Monday, 15 August 2011

The insidious nature of exclusivity.

Many of us desire to belong to a group, or be part of the "in crowd". Being popular and liked is a human condition. But there is also a feeling that comes with belonging. There is an 'in' or an 'out' at play. If you are not 'in' you are 'out'. On the outer, being an outsider is not desirable. No one wants to feel that they are a misfit and don't belong or worse , once belonged and not now. being pushed out or a group or even a family can be a form of discrimination.

An inclusive society is one where people are welcomed in and recognised, that their age, gender, race (read differences ) are their strength.Inclusion can happen by design or by accident as can exclusion. Some reasons for excluding people are subtle such as creating a homogeneous group where people are all similar, these groups tend to maintain the status quo and resist change. Gender is a reason for exclusion, not always by design but due to constraints girls and women are often excluded from learning about cars and tools as there is little opportunity or time to just learn. At school girls may get one term to learn woodwork and metal work or hard technology as it is now known. Women are as likely to drive cars as men but it is assumed we are not that likely to do repairs.

Money is also a reason for exclusion. Sports can also be exclusive due to costs. Polo, golf and rowing for example are all out of the reach of many New Zealanders. The poorest of us cannot afford boots for sport.Sport can unite people and create a strong sense of team building but it can also reinforce social and class barriers. Discrimination through age, lack of money, race , gender and lastly small peoples power trips is a fact of life for many. What we do or don't do can be a cause of discrimination.

Age can exclude people for being too young or too old.Women can be excluded, especially socially as while men tend to head to the pub for a drink, women tend to head home to prepare dinner. Race should not be a reason for separation and yet I feel a sense of frustration for Maori who want inclusion and deserve it, but also non-maori who often fail to understand iwi and hapu relationships.

Young people seem to bear the brunt of this in-or-out policy and I think it is a behaviour that small people feel bigger by putting others down. In fact while my back is sore, with all those rich people climbing up and over me to retain their position at the top, I am sure the young people feel flatter than an empty tube of toothpaste given the treatment they received right down at the bottom with no one willing to help them grow and nurture them.

Excluding people for their knowledge and feeling intimidated is common as people often only want to look good .  In this election year arseholes abound , I found this book at the library called "The No Asshole Rule, building a civilised workplace and surviving one that isn't. by Robert Sutton PhD. Its a great read.

1 comment:

  1. The income inequities the world over, and the divide between the super-rich and the super poor is growing exponentially, because of the subtle but very powerful discrimination that you talk about here. Our society is not very cohesive at all. Cheers for the good blog.