There has been much in the press and on TV regarding the Black Lives Matter issues. Rather than repeat what has already being discussed I feel it is important to extend this important topic to recognise that everyone matters. By this I do not mean to trivialise the importance of the changes required in relation to race discrimination, rather I hope that this movement will be a catalyst to tackle all forms of discrimination, wherever they are found and for everyone who has suffered discrimination.
Within the UK the Equality Act 2010 protects people from discrimination by employers, businesses and organisations which provide goods or services, shops and utility companies, health and care providers. There are nine protected characteristics in the Equality Act (age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation). Discrimination which happens because of one or more of these characteristics is unlawful under the Act.
Unfortunately, we do not live constantly within the scope of organisations and service providers. It is society who must embrace all the aspects identified within the Act. And beyond, for it is not just the nine protected characteristics that we need to consider. There are those people who may be homeless, have criminal records, come from deprived backgrounds, be refugees, and a whole host of other characteristics who will have suffered from some form of discrimination.
Society must be tolerant and accepting of everyone.
Seek first to understand
In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey, describes habit 5 as ‘Seek first to understand, then to be understood’. His argument is that we often listen to people with the intent to reply rather than to understand them. And by understand, we mean more than the language. True understanding is about understanding them as a human being and not pre-judging them or putting them into a stereotypical box. You may not agree with their beliefs, values, opinions etc, but you can aim to understand them without discrimination or judgement.
A colleague of mine is very fond of saying that “no one knows what it’s like to live in your skin”. What this means in real life is that we can demonstrate sympathy and empathy as much as possible, but in truth it is only through seeking to understand that we will truly get to know the individual as a human being.
There was a story I heard some years ago which goes a little bit like this. Imagine you were walking down the street and in your wallet or purse you have a crisp £20 or $20 or €20 note. This currency that you carry seems incredibly new, almost as if it had been printed only yesterday. On your travels you happen to notice something protruding from the gutter in amongst some leaves, twigs, and bits of rubbish. Curiosity gets the better of you and you reach down and pull out it torn, tatty and wet piece of paper. Upon closer inspection you are surprised to discover that this is a £20 (or $20, €20 etc).
The question is this; of the two notes that you now have, which one has most value? The simple answer is that they have equal worth.
So, what is the moral of the tale? The simple truth is that everyone, no matter who they are, where they come from, their heritage or social status has equal worth.
Code of Professional Conduct
Every accredited member of the IAPC&M subscribes and adheres to our Code of Professional Conduct. Within the code we expect everyone to treat their clients and by default the wider community fairly, non-judgmentally and without any form of discrimination. Anyone who is found to breach our code will be initially suspended and potentially have their accreditation status revoked.
As an organisation we advocate the same standards expected by our members to the wider population and society in general. We will always stand up for everyone because we strongly believe that everyone matters, and everyone has worth and that is worth protecting and fighting for.