Inclusion feels by Pepe Macías

This is my mantra: inclusion feels.

If we want to improve our ability to include, my recommendation is: remember how it feels.


And because you feel inclusion, you know it, and because you feel it and know it, inclusion concerns you.

Inclusion should not be a buzzword. It didn’t work when different groups – including persons with disability - appropriated that word.

Why is that? Because inclusion concerns us all.

 As the social species that we human beings are, inclusion is the culmination of all that conglomerate of socioemotional skills such as empathy, cognitive discernment, emotional regulation, listening, curiosity, critical thinking... And it all ends in a "I include you or I exclude you." You belong to my group or you don't.

Now a days, when many persons think about inclusion they feel that it is something alien to them, because historically marginalized groups took the word and made it our flag when trying to claim our rights. But the result was that inclusion went away from many others and led them to see it as an alien, fashionable and imposed concept.

 The simplest way I have found to give inclusion back to people is to ask them to remember it and relive what they felt at that moment; because we all, without exception, have experienced episodes where we are part of something bigger than us, or where we are pushed out of the group.

It doesn't do me any good to ask you to think about what it is like to live with a visual disability, because whether you are interested in the subject or not, you will never experience it, unless you were visually impaired.

It works for me to ask you to think about how you felt when you were left out and seem to be invisible. That's how I feel when a company blocks job opportunities to me or when someone declines to interact with me because I can't see.

It serves me well to ask you to think about how you felt when you were part of it, when you contributed and your voice was heard. That's how I feel when I am allowed to study in regular schools or when the infrastructure of cities allows me to walk around like any other person without a disability.

Is inclusion an emotion?

No. Inclusion is the behavior that results from the amalgamation of many other socioemotional skills. However, the impact that inclusive or exclusionary behavior has on us is very profound; we may not remember exactly what someone said or did, but we do remember what we felt.

That is why I believe that emotions, or that emotional imprints that each inclusive or exclusive interaction has left on us, are the meeting point, it is the way to bring back your innate inclusive capacity and then yes, based on a personal conviction - and not by moral obligation - begin the inclusive transformation through the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do.