Black Lives Matter, once again, we are reminded of discrimination through the sad and unreal action of brutal police violence that led to the death of George Floyd. What we see today of violent acts and riots regarding this sad and terrible police violence does not at all help to focus on what is really problem, racism. My thoughts go to his family and loved ones.
There is a lot of talks of the importance of sustainability both in the world and in the Norwegian public, but often the focus is on the environment and the circular economy. To a lesser extent, we see that the debate is about diversity and inclusion, which is equally important in building a sustainable society over time.
As parents, colleague, grandparents, uncle, aunt, etc we have a responsibility how we talk about other people. Everyday racism comes largely from ignorance. The best way to work against racism is to work for more inclusion and a greater diversity in society. We need to raise the question about diversity in society to a bigger extent together with the importance of sustainability. We need to build stronger acceptance for inequalities. Let us face it, we live in an incredibly divided world. We cannot talk about a sustainable world if we do not build a world that deals with inclusion to a greater extent. To overcome racism, we must emphasize increased knowledge of what is different from ourselves. Everyone is responsible for contributing to greater inclusion and reducing racism.
Everyone who is in a position with recruitment has an extra responsibility. Time and again, we see that foreigners are being discriminated against in the labour market. It is first and foremost important to focus on a more inclusive and diverse society. By working for a more inclusive society, one will also be able to emphasize the importance of diversity to a greater extent. This in turn will help to reduce scepticism towards the unknown and reduce racism in the long run. Even those who are adopted abroad and raised by ethnic Norwegian parent’s experience racism in today`s Norway. This is primarily because they look different from ethnic Norwegian children. We need to build a society on tolerance and respect for inequalities.
There is a lot of talk about the importance of both diversity and gender equality, but after all it is the most talk and little action. Today, there is too few multicultural Norwegians, women, the elderly, and people with disabilities, at the top in leading positions of Norwegian society and business.
After all, those who are going to recruit, do not dare to hire someone who is a bit out of the mainstream. If you have a different name, a different look, a disability, are a young woman, you are now largely chosen. It helps little to speak in big words and letters about the importance of diversity and equality, because when it comes to act, most people choose the safe and familiar that is like oneself. Research also shows that most people today make copies of themselves, the safe and the familiar rather than the unknown, which often believed to be unsafe.
If we are to succeed in building a more sustainable world, we ned to get more multicultural Norwegians, women, the elderly and disabled people to the top in Norwegian business. Leaders and recruiters must stop hiring copies of themselves and dare to challenge themselves and understand that what is unknown is not necessarily unsafe and dangerous.
We are trained to be unique, but no one will be different. On the one hand we talk about the importance of going our own ways in life, on the other hand everyone must adapt to society’s A4 requirements and expectations. It becomes like a life with two contradictory forces. On one hand, one is encouraged to be a unique, and independent – on the other hand we are members of a large community whose social community sets its norms and requirements. Today’s social structures are not built to bring out the value of the differentness of each of us.
We need to be more generous with each other so that society can endure more differentness. By excluding everything that we do not always know or understand, we contribute to narrow the normality in society. And we are left with a narrow, individual-focused performance society that fits in. Inequalities between people are the source of diversity. I have always worked to get the most diversity of age, gender, education etc. in the organizations I have led. Absence of diversity may perhaps be termed “simplicity”. I am convinced that society must dare to appreciate and embrace otherness as a normal diversity to a greater extent and see this as an untapped resource and strength rather than something strange and strange.
Business environments are becoming increasingly complex, and the intensity of competition in most industries is increasing. Having diversity in top management can provide a valuable foundation for change preparedness and the ability to meet new challenges. There are too few multicultural Norwegians at the top of the Norwegian companies.
Therefore, I hope that in the years ahead we will see more inclusion and greater diversity in the top management of Norwegian companies. This will also be a good way to prevent racism.