Generation X is usually an afterthought. The fight between Millennials and Baby Boomers is often played out on cable news, Twitter, and Tick Tok. Generation X is significantly smaller than either of these groups, but Gen X’s position has been one of the early adopters of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in both the workplace and society.
Twenty years ago, an Inclusion and Diversity report by an organization was unseen, but now that Generation X has reached company leadership positions (even if just due to the retirement of the more numerous boomers) they have started to demand them. This kind of thought change was built from our Boomer parents that were some of the first to have mixed and multiracial marriages and children.
They pushed for racial and gender equal rights. Gen X built on this, on its own, with the expansion of rights and protections for the LGBTQ community. None of these issues are where they should be, but their acknowledgment is a significant step forward from what was generally swept under the table and not even discussed. One in six marriages in the U.S. is now interracial, but some still finding this unusual, is a sticking point.
The “Inclusion” of DEI is thought of as the outcome of the DEI process, ensuring those that are diverse actually feel and are actually welcome. Inclusion outcomes are met when an organization (or society) is genuinely inviting to all. Where diverse individuals fully participate in the decision-making processes and development opportunities of the organization.
The feeling of inclusion is difficult to achieve; if it is forced, then the feeling of real diversity is not there, but if there is genuine thought behind the process initially, then eventually there will be a feeling of inclusion naturally. Generation X has the opportunity to be the first to naturally embody this feeling.
As we move forward as a society of all generations, it is possible to leave unconscious bias and feelings behind and think on a universal path to humanism. By contributing to the foundation that our Baby Boomer parents fought and, in some cases, died for, by pushing for our own expansions of rights and inclusion of all, and by working with those of the coming generations, we can meet these goals together.