EDDi is delighted to offers readers the Foreword to Dr Stephen Whitehead's forthcoming book' ‘Total Inclusivity at Work’. Due for publication later this year, to reserve your copy contact Stephen at: firstname.lastname@example.org Article narrated by: Jason Lasky
Total Inclusivity at Work
This book was conceived and written during the first two years of the Covid-19 pandemic. I hope that by the time you read it Covid-19 is at least under control and you are fully vaccinated. But while this book is not about any viral pandemic it is concerned with another type of pandemic – the pandemic of prejudice, hatred, and ignorance which infects large swathes of humankind and has done since time immemorial.
This latter pandemic is not so easily vaccinated against, ignored, or dismissed as ‘nothing more dangerous than the flu’.
We live in a world of multiple violences, made more vivid by our unavoidable awareness of them through social media, 24/7 news bulletins, and the rest. We are all, every single one of us caught up in this vortex whether as contributors, witnesses, perpetrators, or victims.
Just scanning the daily torrent of depressing if not dreadful news pouring out from all four corners; pandemics, climate change, wars, murders, abuse, terrorism, death, famine, and environmental destruction on unimaginable scales, would test the most emotionally resilient of us. And a great many of us are not emotionally resilient, we are insecure, vulnerable, frightened and angry with it.
This book offers only one solution to the growing crises facing us – unity through inclusivity: recognising that we are all in this together – in the final reckoning, society is all we have.
However, when faced with existential threats many humans may decide to ignore them, dismiss it all as fake news and media hype, decide the experts are part of some global conspiracy, not get vaccinated, not wear a face mask, not give a damn about anyone else but instead carry on regardless.
One can recognise the comfort zoning going on in these types of responses – because once you accept there is a problem there is no going back. You cannot unknow it. For a great many of us, ignoring racism, misogyny, sexism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, and deciding white privilege and unconscious bias don’t exist, leaves us blissfully removed from having to address these problems in our own behaviour.
Only we cannot be blissfully removed. Not anymore. We live in a world which can only survive if we each recognise, accept and embrace our interconnectedness – our mutual humanism. Those of us choosing not to join the community will be left on the outside – excluded by choice. Just as those who enter infected places unvaccinated and without a facemask, determined and obstinate in refusing to cooperate, are therefore fated to suffer the consequences.
Total Inclusivity is offered as an antidote not only to violence, hatred, aggression, ignorance and prejudice, but also as a counter to rampant and selfish individualism, greed and stupidity.
This book’s message is, do not wait to become a victim before realising there is a problem out there. Do not wait to become a witness before seeing what is amiss in society. And do not wait to be told how to respond before knowing in your heart what response you must have.
Total Inclusivity is the term used throughout this book, but in essence it is all about empathy. Do you care enough to want to be part of the change that needs to take place, or not? Have you the emotional resilience to begin the journey?
Maybe you began your journey of awakening to the need for global diversity, equity, inclusion and justice many years or even decades ago. Perhaps you’ve already arrived at a place of sad enlightenment due to you having to confront these issues in your own life. In which case this book will merely confirm much of that knowledge. It will mirror what you have experienced, seen for yourself.
Or maybe you consider all the ‘woke stuff’ to be a load of ‘politically correct nonsense’, deserving only to be dumped in the dustbin of history along with face masks, climate change data, and Facebook’s 58 gender identities?
It is your choice. You have the right to choose your personal/political standpoint. But then with choice comes responsibility and consequences. There is no escaping the consequences of our decisions and right now humanity is facing its most testing and important decisions.
Total Inclusivity at Work is one of three books I have authored/co-authored on this concept, all first published by Routledge during 2022. I devised the concept of TI in July 2020, following race awareness training I co-delivered [i] to the senior management of one of the UK’s leading private schools. It was clear to me from the training and the comments of the participants, that focusing on race and racial issues in schools, while vital, was not enough. As I stress throughout this book, inclusivity cannot be partial and any attempt to make it so only creates more problems than it solves.
I felt it was time to go further. It was time to go total. Hence Total Inclusivity.
My other two books on Total Inclusivity look at universities (co-authored with Pat O’Connor) and schools (co-authored with Angeline Aow and Sadie Hollins). All three books have much in common and follow the same principles and concepts. Total inclusivity at Work, is however, somewhat different in both tone and presentation, and that is deliberate because it is aimed at a much wider audience: ordinary workers, managers, owners, anyone who cares about the direction in which organisations are currently heading and who wants to help ensure that direction is beneficial for humankind.
I’ve chosen to present Total Inclusivity as central to the world of work and organisations because work and organisations not just structure and support our lives they have the capacity to structure and support our very identity, sense of self. However, if you’ve come to this book expecting a deep dive into intellectual and organisational analysis, loads of supporting sociological and psychological references all packaged as a balanced intellectual narrative, then you will be disappointed.
This is not an academic book; it is intended to be bold, challenging and, in places, provocative.
This book is not offering arguments for and against Total Inclusivity – it has a singular position and it is for you to determine the veracity of that position.
Writing as a white, male, Western, straight, middle-class sociologist/educationalist (and a baby-boomer to boot!), I acknowledge my own privileges. And I must accept that, inevitably, my particular identity mix will not only inform the book, but subject it to some limitations. I hope not so many limitations as to diminish the book’s message, but that is for you to decide. Undoubtedly, there will be issues/identities/topics, I’ve focused on more than others. That is not intentional. I have tried to write it with a global mindedness, recognising that Total Inclusivity should embrace all of us, whatever our identity mix.
Although I claim credit for coming up with the Total Inclusivity concept, I don’t own it. And nor do I claim that this or any of my writings on Total Inclusivity cover all that can be said about the concept. Aside from the hope that this book spurs at least some readers to push for TI to be actioned in their workplaces and organisations, I hope that more gets written on TI and that it gets tested through further research and debate.
In sum, my two aims in writing this book are, firstly, to show how the TI concept can and should be actioned in organisations - those vitally important and influential sections of society - and secondly, to encourage TI to take root in the global consciousness. I feel passionate that TI should not just become a commonplace phrase but, more importantly, a human aspiration; because regardless of who you are, the concept involves you.
All very serious stuff. Not much room for humour, then, in Total Inclusivity.
Well, yes and no.
This book is written with passion and intent, but also with one eye on the bizarre, the strange, the crazy and the downright ridiculous. And there is plenty of all that in the world today. Just a shame that it is all too often accompanied by stuff which is nasty, abusive and lethal.
So unwavering as it is, you’ll find my examination of Total Inclusivity to be interspersed with a little humour, some cynical asides, and a few cartoons.
Just to keep you smiling on the journey.
[i] My colleague on the training course was Viv Grant, CEO of integritycoaching.co.uk.
To reserve a copy of Total Inclusivity at Work, contact Stephen at email@example.com
DR STEPHEN WHITEHEAD
Other books by Stephen HERE.
Since 2012, Stephen has been Director of his own education company and is co-founder of international school consultancy, Whitehead, Lee & Associates Ltd (Thailand and Canada). Stephen's professional academic background is with Keele University (UK) and Shih Hsin University (Taiwan), working with international educators in both posts.
Stephen recently published his 12th book, 'Toxic Masculinity', currently in the Top 20 Gender Studies listing on Amazon.com.
Jason Lasky is a published playwright, lauded theatre director, and 14-year international teaching veteran who holds an MEd in IB Education and an MFA in Writing for Stage and Screen. He is the co-Artistic Director of J.Lasky Productions, a grant-winning international theatre company, and the founder of J.Lasky Voices, his voiceover production studio.
He currently resides in Dilijan, Armenia with his family.