Mind the Inclusion Gap

By Suzy Levy

How good allies can bridge the divide between talking diversity and taking action

Thursday, 10 February 2022

Second Chances

It’s been some time since I have had the urge to pick up my pen (so to speak) and write either on the book itself or an update to all of the wonderful people who have already chosen to support Mind the Inclusion Gap.  I definitely haven’t had the energy to reach out to anyone new or to engage in social media – that requires too much vulnerability, and my vulnerability has been used up elsewhere. 

In mid-January, my father lost his battle with cancer. It was the first time in a very long time that my brothers actually needed me, and I am so thankful that I could be there for both of them.  Shortly after my father died, my mom caught COVID and ended up in hospital.  There are few words to describe the challenge January brought to my life.  But there are silver linings in even the most challenging moments of our lives. Life lived 4.9k miles apart is never easy, but sometimes a family crisis is just what you need to bring you all back to the important stuff, and for that I am grateful.

I’ve been home in England for almost three weeks and every time I tried to write my heart simply wasn’t in it.  Sometimes I was too emotional.  But mostly, I was without emotion.  It was only yesterday, when I interviewed an old friend for the book that I found the energy and the momentum I’ve been searching for. 

Rob worked for the same organisation for more than 30 years.  He’s funny and kind, calm and considerate and always willing to work together to find a solution.  He comes to the table with relentless energy.  He’s also a Black man, born in the UK of two Jamaican Windrush immigrants.  During our interview we talked about many things, but what struck me most was our conversation about second chances.

 

“Keep your head down.  You will see some form of this messaging in all families.  Even white families say this.  The difference is, you hardly ever get a second chance if you’re Black.  The stain and the error sticks to you.  If you don’t make it and you’re white, more often than not, you get another roll of the dice.  For someone like me, there is no second try.  No reset.  Multiple attempts to offer your best is not afforded if you’re Black or brown.” 

 

It’s only in the last few years that I’ve been able to spot systemic forms of racism and sexism.  I used to look for ‘isms in very visible, very ugly, and very noticeable forms.  Now I know they also thrive in much more subtle places.  You are most likely to find them when you look for the absence of positivity.  They live in the moments when someone is given the ‘okay’ rating instead of the ‘top’ rating, when they a ‘good enough’ candidate, but not the ‘best’ candidate.  Second chances are rare.  They are even rarer when you’re different.  

There will be many people who don’t deserve the second chance, or the top rating, or the job.  But if we all are a bit more skillful at understanding how often we dish out our positivity, and in turn, our opportunities, to people who are different than ourselves, we stand a better chance of reducing the inequality.

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Comments

Abi Tierney
 Abi Tierney says:

Suzy, my heart goes out to you and your family. Thank you for sharing both what you have been going through and Ron’s Wisdom. I am worried you feel you have let people down by not writing. You haven’t. You have done the most important thing any of us can do - and been there as a Sister and a daughter. My Very wise Granny once said to me, ‘don’t think about the Mountain you have to climb Abi, just focus on taking the next, best step.’ We are here and supporting you. We aren’t going anywhere. I know that your book, when you are ready, will be worth every moment of the wait. I’m here if there is anything I can do to help? Very happy to brain storm, read some early musings, or proof read a section. Or even just for a coffee and a catch up. Take Care of yourself and your family first. Abi x

posted 10th February 2022

Suzy Levy
 Suzy Levy says:

Abi,

Thanks for your note (and for the wider outpouring of support from so many who sent me direct messages).

I debated whether or not to share about my father because I knew it would put the focus on our family’s loss rather than the message I wanted to convey about second chances, and the change of feelings and affinity that is so subtle we fail to see it emerge.

In the end I couldn’t imagine not. He, and my family, have been the absolute intense focus these last few weeks.

Pressure and expectation are funny beasts. My expectations are high - I want this book to help individuals play a more meaningful role in change.

This book has taught me many things in its creation. One of them has been patience. The other has been the power of help. It’s only now that I have the head and heart space emerging that I can begin to put my energy back into it.

Thanks for your support and your encouragement as always. I will definitely take you up on that coffee!

Suzy

posted 11th February 2022

Colin Hunter
 Colin Hunter says:

Second chances as a lens is amazing Suzy. The change even in this lens would be a fitting tribute to your father. I love the focus on stories and cannot wait to read the book!

A book is a massive challenge in normal times. But one thing I know about you is it will be written. It will be amazing! And you will always be hitting the right messages with it. :-)

Cheers

Colin

posted 12th February 2022

Suzy Levy
 Suzy Levy says:

Thanks for your unwavering support Colin. I too love the stories. They have transported me experiences I've never had and given me new viewpoints on the world.

Suzy

posted 17th February 2022

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