Updated: Oct 29, 2021
What does it mean to be an inclusive political party? In today’s world, inclusivity has a very specific meaning.
Today, being inclusive means taking deliberate, overt steps to include people who aren’t part of the majority. This inclusion necessarily requires extra effort to make them feel safe and welcome to participate.
Consider these definitions:
“Inclusivity is the practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized.” – Oxford Languages
“Inclusivity: the quality of trying to include many different types of people and treat them all fairly and equally.” – Cambridge Dictionary
“An inclusive and equitable culture demonstrates behaviors that value and respect individuals and groups with different backgrounds, as well as recognizing the specific challenges and circumstances experienced by these different groups.” – LINC
Inclusivity emphasizes the treatment of people who have traditionally felt like or been treated as outsiders. This means, of course, that accommodating the majority at the possible expense of a marginalized group can have no part of being “inclusive.”
It’s tough to talk about whether our own actions are or aren't inclusive, though. We Democrats are proud to tout our inclusiveness. We all have good intentions, and so many of us naturally get defensive if someone suggests we are not being inclusive when we believe we are. Let's try to lower the temperature when such concerns are raised and talk them through respectfully. It’s an area where I believe our party can run circles around Republicans. But we have to walk the walk here in Burnet County. We have to recognize that people who have long been marginalized aren’t likely to speak up. They’ll just stay away. It's our responsibility, then, to be inclusive -- to go out of our way to help their voices be heard and their viewpoints counted.
Texas Republicans in power have made it clear who they think counts the most: straight, white, Christian men (and maybe their wives and kids). It’s up to us to have the frank, yet civil, conversations needed to learn how to be truly inclusive.