Lack of Inclusion is Not Exclusion

A lack of inclusion is often conflated with being intentionally excluded. Somehow, society got the idea that there must be mandatory inclusion for everyone in everything. No one could ever be left out of anything, regardless of whether they were even capable of being included, or if it was appropriate or applicable.

In social media, this expectation of inclusion is everywhere. For example, if someone posts that a particular diet helped them in several ways, almost invariably, someone with comment that such a diet wouldn’t work for them due to their personal dietary restrictions.

If the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t try to put it on.

“A good rule of thumb is: if it doesn’t apply, walk on by!”

Why would someone feel the need to make such a comment? If it doesn’t apply to them, mentioning that is not only a waste of everyone’s time, but it’s pointless. It’s just a way to say, “What about ME?” A good rule of thumb is: if it doesn’t apply, walk on by!

Sometimes people get indignant on the behalf of others. “Well, what about the people who can’t eat that diet?” Well, then they don’t eat it. End of story. It’s as if not addressing every possible contingency, then you must be some kind of “-ist”.

Lack of inclusion is not exclusion. Not everything applies to everyone, and it is unrealistic to try to make things apply to everyone.

Of course, we shouldn’t arbitrarily or intentionally exclude anyone. However, if a situation naturally excludes you, it’s not personal. It’s not intentionally excluding you or singling you out. It’s not a way to keep anyone down.

If it’s not about you, don’t make it about you.

“You aren’t entitled to everyone taking your situation into account.”

If someone sends out an open invitation to a walk-a-thon or race for a charity fundraising event, it’s not ableist if some are unable to participate due to a physical disability. If you can’t race, it’s not a personal attack against you. The exclusion is situational, not intentional. You are not being ostracized. It’s not about you in any way. You aren’t entitled to everyone taking your situation into account.

Rather than making it about you by complaining and making accusations of imagined exclusion, do something constructive like share the info about the fundraiser so that others can attend in your stead. That helps the charity, and you’re doing a good deed rather than wallowing in intentional victimhood.

Other options are to start your own fundraiser that people in your situation can take part in. Or just donate to the cause instead of doing the race. You can also simply ignore the whole thing. Anything is better than acting like a victim because you couldn’t be included due to circumstance.

Exclusion is not necessarily discrimination.

Nobody can be included in everything. An alcoholic would not be able to go to a wine tasting. Should the winery provide non-alcoholic grape juice? Then, what would a diabetic sample? Plus, the winery is providing a tasting of their own products, not providing a general free beverage service. There’s no reason for them to take anyone into account except people who could potentially become customers.

I’ve seen people go up to food trucks that specialize in barbecued meats and complain that there are no vegan options, even when a vegan food truck was just a few feet away. As a vegan myself, I would never think of doing this. I’d go to the vegan truck or somewhere completely different. It would be just as silly for a carnivore to complain to the vegan truck that they don’t serve chicken.

Going up to a truck that specializes in things I don’t eat and expecting that they start making things I can eat is not only ridiculously selfish and entitled, it’s ignorant. Food trucks have limited space and limited funds. It would be a massive burden to them to add stuff to their menu, change their signage, buy the ingredients, and double their equipment so that they have stuff that isn’t in contact with meat. In short, the request would be monumentally stupid. It would be akin to going to a Taylor Swift concert and yelling, “Hey, this music isn’t what I like. Play some Judas Priest!”

What you want, what you need, and how you feel is your responsibility.

Whatever it is that you want and need in life, it is entirely your responsibility to seek out options that work for you, wherever you can find them. No one has to cater to your needs. If a place doesn’t have something for you, move on. If a conversation doesn’t include you, oh well. As long as it’s not a legal requirement for someone to provide what you need, people are allowed to include or exclude whoever they want.

Like the sign says at so many establishments: “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone”. You also have that right. You don’t need to cater to the needs of everyone. It would be impossible to take every possible situation into account anyway.

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