The Insidious Nature of Marginalization

There are many polarizing issues in our society. They deal with politics, religion, abortion etc. The result of these intractable views has led to human discomfort and tragedy. These conflicts are in full view and remain a challenge for our society. There is also a lesser-known contributor that creates separation between individuals, organizations and community. That is the effect of marginalizing others.

Marginalization: to relegate to an unimportant or powerless position within a relationship, group or community.

When individuals or groups are marginalized, the process and consequences can lay below our conscious awareness. The marginalization of others can also be consciously created. At this time, I am addressing the unconscious nature of marginalizing others, although there is also common concern with conscious creation. Too often, marginalization has become part of our normal way of dealing with our lives and needs to be exposed for its detrimental effects. The unintended consequences of this behavior pattern are counterproductive to creating harmony and cohesion.

Marginalization can be subtle and occur without conclusive facts. Often misinformation from others helps to create this malady. Our well-being requires our full attention to our physical and mental health. However, it is our personal obligation to consciously reject the marginalization of others without fully verifying the truth. Many well-intended people unconsciously accept the marginalization of others. The insidious nature of marginalizing shuns others and will not allow a more personal connection. Marginalizing creates separation and is not compatible with the oneness nature of our existence. Oneness simply refers to the interconnections between all of life.

When a judgmental story, perspective or falsehood is passed from one person to another, some parts of the story are left out and often something is added to that story. When the story goes full circle, the narrative has drastically changed. So where is the truth? How can any relationship or organization function at its highest level with false perspectives among its members?

The unintended consequences of marginalization of others include the lack of cohesiveness, lack of respect, and the diminished possibility of creating a life that is good for everyone. When the marginalized are not celebrated as deserving, valued for their thoughts, contributions and ideas, the group or organization has lost part of itself. Reaching the highest and best good for all concerned is not as likely. There is an expression: Do not go where you are not celebrated. Relationships and organizations are greatly enhanced when everyone participates as an important part of the whole. Each person can be allowed to contribute their skill sets, ideas and passions that contribute to the goals of an organization or community.

There is a good analogy between the unintended consequences of the marginalization of others and cancer. They both can be malignant and metastasize. Cancer can be personal or alive in friendships, organizations and community. When one’s cancer makes its presence known, it has to be dealt with in an appropriate manner. The same is true with cancerous developments in our relationships, organizations and community. When everyone is treated with respect and celebrated, our best outcome is more probable.

We humans are meaning-making machines. We search for the truth of our existence. If one can predict the future, a sense of comfort arises. Theories are applied that seem to give credence to our ideas. A problem arises when our theories are not factual, although we treat them as such. Each of us must continually examine our own lives by searching for the truth. It is important to re-evaluate negative and judgmental thoughts regarding others and discern what is driving our perspective. This is a personal journey required by anyone who subscribes to the idea of creating a world that works for everyone.

Socrates reminds us that a life unexamined is a life not worth living.