As our twenty-first century world grows increasingly diverse, it is often the polarizing voices dictating to us how we should view our neighbors, our interactions at work, our families, and even our race and ethnicities. Instead of sensing that the world is recognizing and celebrating our differences, we often feel separated from one another. We have not learned to connect the understanding of how our unique individual experiences cause us to see and navigate the world differently.
Illustrated with powerful life stories from the late Allison Boisvert, Jodi Pfarr’s The Urgency of Awareness brings clarity to this matter. Together they identify the various identities that are placed upon us by ourselves or others (male, female, people with and without disabilities, different skin colors, etc.) and examine how these categorizations within the societal system impact our life experiences.
The book offers readers keys to improve individual interactions as well as concrete tools to improve policies and practices in our organizations. Ultimately, these powerful yet easily digestible chapters will encourage healthier engagement between people with differing identities, from the individual to community level.
Discussion questions throughout the book invite readers to recall past exchanges with others and to consider how the lens of societal experiences affected the interactions. These prompts could be utilized in varied settings such as family discussions, book groups, or staff meetings.
With a new awareness of how we treat and interact with one another, we will be able to thoughtfully examine how we manage, teach, discipline, support, and engage with people in a manner that encourages more successful interactions.
Now is the time for change. It is our opportunity to embrace a broader understanding of the diversity in our world and to let our awareness support healthy human interaction at every level of our lives.