Welcome to the seventh edition of the Floorish newsletter dedicated to providing you with insightful data, ideas and views on diversity, equity and inclusion. In this newsletter, taking no more than 3 minutes of your time, I aim to keep you informed and inspired with thought-provoking content, practical tips and inspiring stories.
Last week I watched the Disney movie Brother Bear with my son, which offers a compelling example of how characters learn to gain different perspectives on life and the world around them.
The film centres around Kenai, a young Inuit man who is transformed into a bear through a magical spell. As a bear, Kenai gains a new vantage point on the world and begins to see things from a completely different perspective. This shift in perspective is exemplified in several ways:
- Transforming Physically: Kenai’s transformation from a human to a bear literally changes his point of view. He initially sees the world as a human with human concerns, but as a bear, he experiences the world from a different height, senses, and interactions.
- Forming Relationships: As a bear, Kenai forms relationships with other animals, including a talkative cub named Koda. Through these relationships, he gains insights into the challenges, fears, and joys that animals experience. This firsthand experience leads to a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of all life.
- Sharing Experiences: Kenai’s journey alongside Koda exposes him to the sides of nature he never fully appreciated as a human. They face dangers, experience natural wonders, and share moments of vulnerability. These shared experiences create a bond and mutual understanding that highlight the value of unity and connection.
- Perceiving Differently: Kenai’s initial motivation for seeking revenge on a bear was based on his human perspective, driven by anger and prejudice. However, as he lives as a bear, he comes to understand that bears have their own struggles and are not inherently evil. He gains insight into his own biases and learns the importance of empathy and forgiveness.
Overall, Brother Bear illustrates how gaining a different perspective can lead to personal growth, empathy, and a deeper understanding of the world. Kenai’s journey from a human to a bear’s viewpoint encourages the audience to reflect on their biases and consider how understanding multiple perspectives can foster tolerance, compassion, and unity.
The same week I saw the TEDx Talk of Daryl Davis Why I, as a black man, attend KKK rallies. I tried to draw parallels with what I had learned about Roger Kelly, a former member of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) who befriended Daryl Davis and eventually chose to leave the KKK.
- Transforming Physically: Just as Kenai’s physical transformation led to a changed perspective, Roger Kelly’s personal connection with Daryl Davis prompted a transformation in his beliefs. Through conversations and interactions, Roger gained new insights into Daryl’s perspective and experiences as a black man. This could have allowed Roger to see the world through a different lens.
- Forming Relationships: Similar to Kenai forming relationships with other animals, Roger developed a relationship with Daryl Davis. This connection must have provided Roger with a unique opportunity to understand the person behind the “other side.” Their interactions might have encouraged Roger to view Daryl not as an adversary, but as a fellow human being with his own experiences and emotions.
- Sharing Experiences: Roger Kelly’s journey alongside Daryl Davis exposed him to a different side of society. By engaging in dialogue and sharing experiences, Roger could have begun to witness the effects of racism and discrimination on a personal level. These shared moments could have created a bond between them, highlighting the common humanity they shared despite their initial differences.
- Perceiving Differently: Just as Kenai’s perspective on bears evolved as he lived among them, Roger’s engagement with Daryl might have been the leading factor for him to reevaluate his actions and beliefs as a member of the KKK. Their conversations might have led to him questioning the foundations of his exclusivist ideology and the harm it caused to individuals.
“Just take a look through my eyes. Everything changes. You’ll be amazed what you’ll find. If you look through my eyes.”
The power of gaining a fresh outlook is beautifully captured in the lyrics from the song Look Through My Eyes by Phil Collins, from Brother Bear‘s soundtrack. In essence, both the journey of Kenai in “Brother Bear” and Roger’s engagement with Daryl Davis highlight the transformative impact of looking at the world through a different lens.
Engagement, empathy, and understanding can lead to personal growth and a departure from certain beliefs. The power of genuine conversations and human connections in promoting inclusivity, can not be underestimated in relation to breaking down barriers.
Final words by Daryl Davis: “The lesson learned is: ignorance breeds fear. If you don’t keep that fear in check, that fear will breed hatred. If you don’t keep hatred in check, it will breed destruction.”
I hope these insights have sparked your curiosity and I invite you to share any data, ideas or views you believe should be highlighted in future newsletters. Stay tuned for the next edition.
© 2023 Floorish – All rights reserved