Diversity without Labels – The Psychology of Shaming and How We Can Do Better
In this one-of-a-kind session, Irshad Manji will take your questions about faltering relationships — in your family, among your friends, with your co-workers, or in society at large — and coach you to repair them by listening to understand and speaking to be understood.
What does this have to do with diversity? Everything. Honest diversity isn’t about labeling people according to race, gender, religion, sexuality, disability, or any other group marker. Instead, true diversity is about communicating with one another so that different points of view are heard, acknowledged, and appreciated, despite being disagreed with. Welcome to Irshad’s no-shaming technique of creating unity without uniformity.
Irshad will begin the session with an overview of the Moral Courage Method, a simple, science-backed approach to dealing with any polarized situation. She will then invite participants to put her teachings to the test. They will pose surprise questions about the divisions that are rocking their own lives. Irshad will mentor them to build and exercise their moral courage, all the while encouraging every participant (not just those asking the questions) to voice their doubts, skepticism, and challenges to her teachings. In that way, Irshad will also role-model how to have constructive conversations in the midst of disagreements.
This session will wrap up with concrete tools and tips for starting and sustaining difficult dialogues. The bottom line? Any diversity that does not make peace with the existence of different opinions is merely a cosmetic diversity; one that is fixated on skin color and other superficialities. By contrast, the Moral Courage Method shows how we can transcend labels to humanize ourselves and each other, cultivating common ground even when we stand our ground.
At Irshad’s request, all proceeds from this session will go to the Maggie Fleming Animal Hospice in Scotland.
WATCH: Irshad and Al-Jazeera journalist Mehdi Hasan go “head-to-head” about Irshad’s first two books, which argue that Islam needs reform.
READ: The Progressive magazine features an extract from Don’t Label Me about why the human brain is seduced by labels.
WATCH: In this viral video produced by TIME magazine, Irshad makes the case for why young people (actually, all people!) should resist becoming so easily offended.
LISTEN: In this series of one-minute audio clips, Irshad addresses diversity-related dilemmas at work:
* How do we ask our co-workers about their identity if we worry that the question will sound ignorant? Here is Irshad’s answer.
* How do we invite ideas and opinions from diverse groups without making anybody feel like a token or a mascot for their group? Here is Irshad’s answer.
* Most diversity training programs produce poor outcomes. Is there a better alternative? Here is Irshad’s answer.
* When hiring, how do you assess someone’s cultural fit without lapsing into bias? Here is Irshad’s answer.
About the Speaker:
Professor Irshad Manji
The recipient of Oprah Winfrey’s first annual “Chutzpah Award” for boldness, Irshad Manji inspires and equips people to have honest, non-judgemental conversations about issues that polarize.
Although she is an internationally bestselling author, her books are banned in many countries — which has intrigued a new generation to learn her techniques for effective communication. Irshad’s latest book, Don’t Label Me, is a primer on how to do diversity without inflaming the culture wars. (Fun fact: The comedian Chris Rock labels it “genius.”)
A professor of leadership at New York University for many years, Irshad is now the founder of Moral Courage College. She also teaches moral courage with Oxford University’s Initiative for Global Ethics and Human Rights.