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Diversity Is Not A Zero Sum Game (For Me)

I often don’t understand all the issues around diversity and for that reason, I’m not trying to make a huge point.

Rather, I just want to share an observation I had about myself as compared to a sentiment that I occasionally hear.

My observation: I love diversity.

The occasional competing sentiment from other people: diversity is threatening.

And in case you’re wondering if this is a post where some random dude thinks some obvious thing is a total epiphany, then the answer is yes. That’s exactly what this post is.

I’m a little bit bored by myself.

I’m in my 30s. I mostly grew up as an only child. I spent a lot of time in solitary pursuits. I’m naturally introspective.

In sum, I’ve spent a lot of time with myself.

So I think I have a pretty good handle on the white guy experience.

Through a variety of mechanisms which I can’t accurately measure, I’m being exposed to more diverse media.

And I’m loving it.

To give you a sample of my old media habits, I went 25 years between reading books with a female protagonist.

I read about a girl who ran away from home and lived in a museum in From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, 25 years past, then I read the Hunger Games trilogy (in like 2.5 days).

I’m pretty sure there’s some bias in the media that makes it really easy for white guys like me to mostly only consume media from or about other white guys.

The following list came about with a little bit of effort. And so I present this list both as a timesaver and as an enthusiastic recommendation.

  • Call Your Girlfriend. What makes it magic is that they’re two best friends. Friends talking about shared interests make for a great podcast format. There’s some celebrity gossip, explanation of feminism and related topics that stretch my brain, and usually a science segment “this week in menstruation.” I love science! (More on health-experiences-men-never-directly-experience below)
  • Another Round. Two Buzzfeed-ers cover race, gender often while drinking.
  • Two Dope Queens. Recently adopted this after seeing one of them (Phoebe) do standup.

I’m probably missing most of the subtleties of all three shows, just because it’s such a revelation to just hear women and people of color talk relatively openly about topics that I’ve never experienced.

That’s basically the joy (for me).

I bet most of their listeners nod knowingly during the show. But my experience is that my head explodes every couple of minutes.

  • Mad Max: Fury Road. It’s a post apocalyptic future about a differently-abled woman on a mission to drive stick shift and take down a warlord with bad skin. Best movie of 2015.
  • Ghostbusters (2016). In this one, the busters are women and the receptionist is a man. The trailer set the record for most dislikes on YouTube. That’s insane. The actual movie was sharp and funny and different than the original. This one has more and better jokes. The original was more original (duh). Favorite summer movie of 2016.
  • Master of None (Netflix). Hilarious. Also a lot of observations about being a second-generation immigrant.
  • Broad City. At this point in the list, I’m honestly wondering if I’m just addicted to media about NYC.

I didn’t mean to write an encompassing list. This is just some of the media I love. What about you?

A zero-sum game is where any positive change comes with a matching negative expense.

This is not zero-sum. It’s the opposite. There is so much great, emerging content out there.

Sometimes, the diversity path will take you to surprising places.

I was reading something about miscarriages recently and I started crying. I was imagining what that moment meant to her.

A lot of my recommendations above are comedies. You’ll definitely laugh.

But what about the “real talk” about tough experiences that you would never normally encounter?

That’s the same with Call Your Girlfriend’s menstruation coverage. You’ll find out that one of the hosts has a really difficult time with her period.

And as a man, this isn’t something I’d really ever know about.

I can’t put my finger on exactly why this is good to know. I just experience that I feel smarter, wiser and more connected to the world when I learn about the experiences of people around me.

This is day #27 of a daily writing experiment. Yesterday’s post was:

Written by

Human potential busy body. Founded @coachdotme, @bttrHumans, @bttrMarketing. Helped @medium @calm. Current work focus: Habit Coach Certification.

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