A Post About What To Post
What should this post say?
Is my voice important right now?
How can I keep from hurting someone with what I say—or by not saying anything?
The human suffering in Israel and Gaza is horrifying. My heart breaks for those living in the region. I have opinions on the conflict—but not any friends or family there, nor religious or cultural affiliations that would ground those opinions. So what gives me the right to share anything?
And yet, the very fact that I am not personally affected by the violence prompts me to reflect. As I watch the news from my home and worry over a blog post, I have to acknowledge my privilege:
I go to bed at night with an expectation of safety. I’m not worried about rockets, invasions, or kidnapping.
When I wake in the morning, I’m pretty sure I will have access to food, water, electricity and healthcare.
As upsetting as it is to witness the nightmare, I’m not worried about my loved ones in the region.
I am not living in fear of being personally impacted by the increasing anti-Semitism and Islamophobia here in the United States.
Ultimately, I am a bystander to this conflagration. As a DEI adviser, I am noticing a lot of tensions for leaders and employees in workplaces:
The expectation that organizations will make a statement
Disappointment in the substance and/or tone of the statement
The challenge of talking about the conflict at work
Anxiety of saying the wrong thing
Fear of being ostracized or demonized
So, rather than offering any insights about current events, I’m going to stay in my lane and share a few suggestions for navigating this moment in your organization:
Managers and HR and DEI professionals—check in with your employees who are Jewish, Palestinian, and/or who have connections in the region. This is a stressful time and they may need your support.
This is a good time for all of us to be mindful when we speak. Words matter. They can enlighten, comfort or cause harm. Avoid using language that dehumanizes whole groups of people.
Believe someone when they tell you that your words caused them harm. Remember that your intent may be benign, but your impact matters more. Apologize.
Conversely, if someone says something that lands on you badly, ask for clarification before assuming they meant harm. What did you mean by that? Why would you say that? Do you really feel that way?
Above all, this is a moment to extend grace and compassion to one another.