In our inescapably diverse world is tolerance really what we want? No. We want diversity and inclusion that is positive, constructive, and joyful—better than, and beyond tolerance. Yet too often we spend our limited time and money trying to eradicate what we don’t want, negative sentiment, rather than promoting what we do want: positively diverse schools, workplaces and communities.
In 2004, when I launched the Allophilia Project at Harvard University, so little attention had been paid to what lies beyond tolerance—the opposite of prejudice—that it didn’t even have a name. My colleagues and I coined the word for it: allophilia. Literally, it means “liking and appreciation for others.” What it means in the world is that diverse members of a community have gone beyond tolerance and are engaged, interactive, joyful, and productive in all senses of these words. The community—be it a neighborhood, school, company, or country—is not only diverse, but positively diverse. This, in turn, means that all types of diversity—gender, ethnic, racial, religious, national, ideological, political, economic level, family formation, sexual orientation—are part of the positive mix.
Over the years I have been fortunate to work with a wonderful group of academic colleagues, students, managers of corporate diversity and inclusion programs, government officials, and community leaders all seeking to make a positive difference in diversity and inclusion. There is much more to learn and do.
We seek research partners with whom to advance our understanding of positive diversity, corporate partners with whom to develop and use our practical tools, and friends motivated to support us in pursuing the full potential of this inescapably pluralistic world.
To find out more about our work—including our books (Us Plus Them and Crossing the Divide), the Allophilia Scale and our organizational assessment tools, copies of our research papers, past national reports (e.g., Coexistence in Israel) and information on our services (including our new Taste a Sweeter World™ candy-based inclusion workshops—please email [email protected].
For Companies: Positively Diverse Advising™
Diversity alone does not produce innovation, productivity, or any other form of organizational performance. That’s why so many corporate diversity programs have accomplished so little. But positive diversity—developing and tapping the good will people can feel towards other groups—is associated with better organizational performance. That’s why Positively Diverse Advising can help you accomplish much more.
Positively Diverse Advising has produced striking results at General Motors, Netscape/AOL, the World Bank, and the National Nuclear Security Administration. How do we work?
For Communities: Positively Diverse Communities™
Many community institutions, from schools to libraries to religious institutions, consider it part of their mission to improve community relations. They understand that wherever there is diversity, there is the promise of true community based on positive difference.
Of course, there are people with prejudices in every community. But there are also people who really like being around those who are different. They may admire them, feel comfortable with them, or just find them very interesting. To increase the size and tap the power of the latter group,
Positively Diverse Communities works with grassroots organizations, community leaders, government officials, and private foundations to:
We are a social enterprise measuring our success by our positive impact on society.
Our programs can be run in many countries and in twelve languages.
Please contact us to find out more about our evidence-based assessment tools and custom solutions.
Create truly positive change in diversity and inclusion™