CN Academics Corner

Celebrating Negativity Part 7 – CONCLUSION: The Invisible Power of “Againstness”

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What do you think?  Consider once again whether your organization or any organization can bring its people to feel a sustainable sense of sameness of purpose and unity while at the same time using language and speech designed to elevate differences and immutable differentness among the members of that organization.

The idea of relations was purported to be central to Diversity & Inclusion concepts.  Yet, as Diversity has moved intercultural and multicultural relations to the fore in interpersonal and organizational life, it may have also completely missed the mark on our primary means of establishing relations, our speech.

Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, historian and social philosopher, wrote regarding speech, “Every sentence that we form today contains actual records of the acts to which our sentence as it is spoken now compares the act described in our sentence. And these former acts are contained in the words, the morphemes (word forms), the phrases that we are using, and we bring to life again these processes and facts of the past simply by speaking today.” [1]

In that sense, the speech we utter is a recursive phenomenon. The language we choose to use today doesn’t merely stand on history, it is an artifact that contains and conveys history. When we highlight a difference, what history are we dredging up? What does each artifact of the language of differences call to mind?  Is it helpful in resolving differences, or in simply keeping us all on the front lines of intercultural conflict?  The important inference of Rosenstock-Huessy is that we can — and should — go beyond the sound bites of “Diversity” and “Inclusion” to make more deliberative choices as to which artifacts we bring to bear in our discourse.

The current language and speech swirling around and within the D&I systems of thought and behavior are steeped in the history of the very thing it seeks to undo…centuries of disharmony and history of conflict between cultures.  We exhume the old state of affairs of exclusion, bringing it back to life each time we employ its terminologies.

Can D&I ever hope to bury a problem that it exhumes every time it so much as proposes itself as solution?  InclusiveWorks® sees great evidence that more and more people already know the answer to that question.

The corollary question is whether there is a viable and reasonable alternative to put forward as we move into a post-diversity workforce globalization construct where an infinite potential mix of personal characteristics can be effectively utilized?

Is it time for you or for your organization to embrace a proven alternative to the linguistics, programs and practices of “againstness” inherent the language of Diversity? Stay with us at InclusiveWorks® as we change the dialogue and discourse on 21st Century interpersonal and intercultural relations.

© Copyright 2013 – Robert D. Jones  – All Rights Reserved







INCLUSION: You Keep Using That Word…

[1] (“Speech and Reality,” Rosenstock-Huessy, Argo Books, 1970, p. 120)

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