Exclusionary Practices


One thing I absolutely couldn’t stand about school while growing up was the clickiness.  To fit into this group or that group you had to act a certain way or dress a certain way, and god forbid if you try and move too far out of your circle. One of the great things about getting older is that this type of scenario becomes less and less of an issue. Don’t get me wrong, I still encounter plenty opportunities for someone to look down their nose at me, the thing is, now I just figure it’s their loss.

While I can dive into my meh-don’t-need-‘em-anyway attitude when I’m the focus of an offense, when it happens to someone I care about it gets my hackles up and I’m poised and ready to defend. This recently occurred to someone I know whose only fault in the matter is that they’re open, honest and passionate about what they do. And as Jack Nicolson’s famous quote goes, sometimes people “can’t handle the truth”. I see the perpetrators of this action as immature and very intimidated by this person’s talent. It’s a shame, really, if they could move past their fears and feelings of inadequacy they could have allowed this individual to uplift and inspire them. Like I said before, their loss.  

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned over the years is to not be intimidated by a person’s talents and gifts. I acknowledge how frustrating it can be to see someone easily glide toward a goal that you may struggle to achieve, but instead, why not look at it as an opportunity to learn and be inspired? Although the individual who was slighted is hurting – because they’re a decent human being who cares about the feelings of others – I know for certain that this incident is just a tiny bump in the road, and that the offending individuals will be left behind to continue playing in their safe little box. I hope for their sake that someday they see beyond the limitations they’ve created, and open to all that the world has to offer.

Until then, here’s to a big, beautiful, wonderful world…

With Love.

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From Over There:
“Social interactions based on a foundation of exclusiveness create a narrow-minded view, for the members involved must adhere to certain social status and beliefs systems to be accepted. This type of social engagement is fear-based and encourages member need for superiority. Exclusionary practices only add to feelings of human separateness, moving further away from the soul’s understanding of oneness. This mindset is a departure from the soul’s true nature and creates a disconnect from the higher-self.

While it is useful to interact with the like-minded, it is through purposeful exclusionary practices that one impedes potential for growth and the broadening of the mind.”

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Founded in 1991 by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Teaching Tolerance provides educators with free educational materials. Our magazine and curriculum kits have earned Oscar nominations, an Academy Award, and more than a dozen honors from the Association of Educational Publishers (EdPress) including the Golden Lamp Award. Our goal is to promote an appreciation for diversity in schools by reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and supporting equity for our nation's children. To learn more, please visit www.tolerance.org.

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