Food For Thought: Inclusion Is Appreciating Our Difference Not Changing To Fit

If you are familiar with my blog, you know my mother, and I were at odds when I started the blog in 2013. Now I have learned how to listen to her. With her accent, sometimes everything she said sounded like an attack. My involuntary response was to be defensive, which took us down a rabbit hole without fail. Today, I am less defensive and more appreciative of her. I took the time to appreciate our differences in communication style. That act changed the trajectory of our relationship. We grew close and built a foundation of trust, respect, and love. I listen without feeling personally attacked. In doing so, I noticed her tone became softer. Today she is not only my mother but one of my best friends. That’s how inclusion should work.

Inclusion is partly accepting people as they are. Another way of saying this is meeting people where they are. It doesn’t happen overnight because it’s a process of self-awareness where in this case, whites understand their culture. I know many white people think culture does not apply to them. They’re wrong.

In not recognizing their culture, they have difficulty appreciating non-white cultures. So they never start the process of valuing the multicultural world. Yeah, they might travel and enjoy the food and different customs. However, that is where it ends, making inclusion a challenging concept for many whites.

In a white-dominated society, the expectation is that different ethnicities should change their communication style and culture to fit into a privileged culture whose foundation is one of bigotry, division, and violence. Many like to pound their chests about how they pulled up their bootstraps. It’s a lie. First, their white skin opened the doors to opportunities not available to people like me. My skin is a target that closed the doors to options making people like me feel trapped without any bootstraps to pull up.

Many non-white cultures want to be part of the mythical American Dream. They don’t realize money will get them through some doors, and for many, that is enough, but they will never be included. White women know this to be true. Despite the gains made on the backs of the Black Civil Rights Movement, they still fight for gender equity today. Interestingly, gender is now a euphemistic term for White women who want equity with White men but need other ethnicities to join their fight for more power. Gender is not inclusive of all women, just white women.

Past studies have shown the detrimental effects on health when people are misled or forced to abandon who they are to fit into or be included in an unwelcoming sick society. The harm done becomes genetic and passed on to descendants. Our brain is constantly changing as it interacts with our environment. Same with our DNA, the change subtly. When we stifle who we are, that puts us at risk for emotional, mental, and physical illnesses. Ever wonder why HTN is so common in Black communities?

Lately, I can’t go on TikTok without a barrage of trending videos with White people talking about the past crimes against humanity inflicted on Black people. Why are white people suddenly outraged about their terrorism against Black people? With Juneteenth coming up, who will benefit most from the holiday? You got it! That’s inclusion for a white-dominated society: White people use their privilege to be the voice of anti-racism while misappropriating or hijacking Black culture for money and power.

In times of crisis, the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe. –Blank Panther quote

What do you think? Will we ever live as a single tribe with an appreciation for our differences in a white-dominated society?



Author: Angela Grant

Angela Grant is a medical doctor. For 22 years, she practiced emergency medicine and internal medicine. She studied for one year at Harvard T. H Chan School Of Public Health. She writes about culture, race, and health.

11 thoughts on “Food For Thought: Inclusion Is Appreciating Our Difference Not Changing To Fit

  1. I am happy for you and your Mama and your family that you two have mended and strengthened your relationship.

    I suspect that whiteness’ supremacyness — its privileges and prejudices — is too an epigenetic phenomena for all whom have been engaged by them.

    1. Hi Carleton. Thank you. It feels fantastic to have the relationship I always with my mother. It’s interesting by appreciating the differences, I was able to see the similarities.
      “I suspect that whiteness’ supremacyness — its privileges and prejudices — is too an epigenetic phenomena for all whom have been engaged by them.” Great point!

  2. Oh Angela, I shouldn’t be such a “dour downer,” and I apologize for that — but I can’t deny that, at age 79 years and now 7 months with crippled spine and depressed/no-hope spirit at the state of this country and this world, I’m feeling that the end of me is approaching. So be it. (I can’t even shout “Viva Palestine!” — always my #1 passion –with the conviction and outrage I had felt over the past 60 years.)

    However, I can still open to and enjoy/admire your postings!

    1. Hi Bob. I am sorry to hear. That’s tough! It’s hard getting old and knowing the end is in sight. Try to focus on what you can do and take pleasure from that. No point worrying if you can’t fix it, right? Reach out if I can be of help.

  3. What do you want me to say. I grew up as a minority just as much as you did. Ever have rocks thrown at you because you ride your bicycle through the wrong neighborhood? 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 years old? These same people now complain about being discriminated and claim I’m the racist.

    I have a few rocks to return to them.

    Baha ‘fo’i mi lomba! It means, get off my back.
    If you like, have Roald confirm this since a dictionary isn’t available.

    Stop this nonsense, it’s boring and goes nowhere. Just like the Homosexuals. My brother and I stopped for a beer in a bar in Deventer. We ordered our beers and minded our own business and in the middle of our conversation we were asked to leave before finishing our beers because we are not homosexuals. WTF? Who is the problem here? Who is intolerant?
    Entitled snowflakes in their perpetual victim role; that’s who.

    No one wants to acknowledge that the first slaves in the US were Irish, not African. Nor do they want to know that there were black men who owned slaves. It was a normal thing back then. The Romans crucified 6,000 slaves along the Via Apia, and most of them were white. Gauls (french), Greeks, Spaniards and such.

    The only reason school books do not tell the entire story is to keep you hating me, and me mistrusting you. That’s all there is to this story. Boring and I won’t participate in that stupidity. How about everybody just stop?

    Take care, I think I’m done here.

    1. Hi Onno. Sadly, slavery is still with us in America. The criminal system and prison industry complex profit from it, and so do many respected businesses. It will never stop because money buys power.

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