The people we accidentally leave out
I saw it when I was reading a small-town paper’s coverage of a parade. The reporter covering the parade included the names of all the local people in the captions along with their photos.
The reporter did not include the names of any of the visiting Native Americans in captions of their photos. One caption referred to a man’s traditional clothing, but didn’t mention the man at all. It was as though he wasn’t even a person. Picture after picture of people with no names.
Yes, the reporter probably knew all the locals’ names and probably didn’t know any of the names of the visitors. And this particular reporter has physical mobility challenges and couldn’t just run up and ask names especially during a parade.
Part of being Idea Friendly is that everyone’s ideas are valuable because everyone is valuable. That means everyone. Every. Single. One.
You aren’t including everyone if you give names for all the people of one group but none of another.
It’s easy to read this and think that you’d never make this kind of mistake. But we do. I do. We miss opportunities to notice the people even in our own towns. Maybe it’s people different from your age, or ones with vastly different income and status. When’s the last time you had a five minute conversation with a person who was homeless? Shared a meal with someone from a different ethnic background?
It’s tough to connect. Our routines and habits don’t take us into close connection very often with people who aren’t like us.
Community happens when people talk to each other. Put it in your mind that you’ll watch for opportunities to talk and listen. Ask someone their name.
Keep shaping the future of your town,
PS – One way to share the “everyone” message is with this video we did of our Small Town Creed. Share it around.