Society has definite ideas about what constitutes “success”, and it is a somewhat “one size for all” definition. We are also told that if we “work hard” and “are dedicated”, then “success” will be ours. How can this be true if we know the playing field isn’t level, and not everyone has access to a ball?
Gender, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation are among the many factors that affect our chances, says writer and advocate Melinda Epler. It’s up to each of us to be allies for those who face discrimination.
While there is no magic wand, each act, each word, each person who accounts and corrects for equity and diversity makes the changes needed to reap the genuine benefits of enabling all members of society to participate and contribute in meaningful ways.
One of the barriers to meaningful interactions can be forgetting that most people think about their actions from the perspective of INTENT and other people’s actions from the perspective of IMPACT.
Taneasha White wrote an excellent article on Healthline in April 2021 (PDF) about the ways that intent and impact differ. She discusses the fraught question of which is more important and ways to deal with your own impact not matching your intent as well as options for addressing other peoples impact.
As allies, understanding the difference between intent and impact is critical. It helps us be better allies AND is a key skill in defusing conflict or trying to negotiate your way through a messy situation.