Sunday Reflection – The Limits of Being Inclusive

I’ve been thinking of the concept of inclusiveness this week. Someone recently posted a comment on Facebook criticizing a political candidate for not wanting to appear on Fox News. And the comment was saying that not appearing on this particular media program was “not being inclusive” of the people who watch it.

Now normally I don’t pay too much attention to Facebook posts, but this one stuck with me. It took me some time to figure out why. I could see the intent in wanting to reach out to others, no matter what their political philosophy. To feel like we should never shut the door to others. And that is a good philosophy – in theory.

But I think the reason I got stuck on that comment was the idea that being inclusive of a platform is the same as being inclusive of people.

There’s a wide range of platforms that make up our media. Some of them try to be unbiased, but all will have some inherent bias. And some deliberately promote agendas that are steeped in white supremacy and other hateful rhetoric.

And let’s be clear – they do this because it’s profitable. If it didn’t make money, it wouldn’t still exist.

So do we have an obligation to be inclusive of something that promotes bigotry, and profits from it? Do we have to support platforms that encourage prejudicial behavior in the interest of seeming “open”?

Personally, I don’t think so. I even struggle with the idea of talking one on one with someone who espouses hateful language, but I can at least acknowledge that some individuals may be capable of change. But I don’t think that’s the same as including or supporting a platform that does real damage to people’s lives.

There is a limit to inclusion. We cannot be overly tolerant of the intolerant, because it opens the door to more pain. And all of us have to draw a line.

I’d love if we lived in a world where we could include everyone. But for the safety and health of our marginalized communities, we need boundaries.

What do you think? Where is the line between inclusion and permitting oppressive behavior? Do you think someone reaching out on platform already biased against them can make a substantial difference?

"They promised they'd be totally fair. And I'm sure they didn't mean those names they called me..."

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