Why Diversity in Communications is Important

February 29, 2024
By Samuel Harsha Rabindran

If you’ve recently been on the TTC or walked around Toronto, you may have noticed posters displaying a hand holding bubble tea. The posters read in bold letters, “Downing a bubble tea, but won’t shut down the hate? Let’s end Anti-East Asian racism.” Although there was likely no malicious intent, a thoughtful communicator should raise questions such as, is a community only reduced to its symbolism? Is the answer to stop racism only through popular products of trade? Does it set the tone of identifying communities with what they deliver?  

As communicators, the biggest challenge lies in navigating sensitive situations where taking a specific stance could potentially make or break businesses. This concept continues to hold true when we write for diverse communities too, and when companies fail to recognize the diversity amongst them – the message can be lost and even sometimes seen as offensive. 

Ensuring your message hits the mark can take time and might require you to push deadlines, ask questions and educate yourself on the audience. There is no timeline when it comes to diversity and inclusivity, it is an ongoing journey.  

Hire a diverse workforce if you can and if not look inward and utilize individuals and their knowledge base to clarify and better understand specific communities. Having a diversity and inclusion consultant on hand can be a great resource to double-check content and key messages targeted to specific communities.  

We are in a new era that requires continuous learning and sometimes change for the materials we write.  At a time like this it is crucial to remember while writing that recognition and inclusion have historically been different things and will continue to be identified this way.  

The global reach the internet provides also means that audiences outside your target demographic are now reading your content, and what you write has an impact. Now more than ever when drafting content, you may want to ask yourself – if I were to write this before clarifying with someone who has lived experience, would it be right? Is my writing inclusive of “all” target audiences or is it leaving out a diaspora that uses this service? Is the accompanying image for the content culturally appropriate?  

So, pick up your pens, and continue to write, ask and learn. 

Your writing and counsel count; make it meaningful.  

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