The ever-interesting Joe Gerstandt is back after a blogging hiatus and I’m glad.
AFAIK, Mr. Gerstandt’s never even heard of Paganism, but sometimes his posts about workplace diversity, inclusion, and authenticity just seem to tap into issues that are roiling the Pagan community. His current post has me thinking about the whole, unfortunately-denominated “Wiccanate Privilege” issue, which is really about whether we make an effort to be inclusive and whether people can be authentic.
Mr. Gerstandt says that, “The first contribution you can make to a more inclusive culture where you live, work[,] and play is to make sure that you are being true to who you are.” It might sound contradictory at first. We Pagans can come with some rough edges; maybe in order to foster a more inclusive culture, we should all just tone in down a bit? But Mr. Gerstandt makes a persuasive argument against that notion:
Diversity and inclusion work is not simply a matter of being able to add people to the payroll [who] may look or live differently than you, we want them to bring their difference to work, we want them to be whole and authentic at work and we want that to be a positive experience for them.
As unique, one of a kind individuals, if you and I are authentic (if we are being true to ourselves), there is going to be difference (or diversity) between us. So diversity is rooted in authenticity, and inclusion is about the creation of spaces where individuals can be authentic and they can benefit individually and collectively from their shared difference and the creative tension that comes with it.
I don’t know about you, but I WANT different Pagan groups to bring their own, authentic practices to the Pagan table. I want to create a Paganism where, as Mr. Gerstandt says, we can benefit individually and collectively from our shared differences and from the creative tension that comes with it.
I think we’re big enough to do that. How do we do it?