I teach CPR, First Aid, BLS, Advanced First Aid, First Aid CPR AED, Challenge Courses, and Wilderness First Aid to anyone who wants to take a class. I’ve never thought or worried about diversity and inclusion because everyone is welcome in my classroom. But maybe this is a long overdue post.
A while back I was reading a post in an instructor group I belong to online. I actually belong to quite a few instructor groups. I really enjoy them. I learn a lot from other instructors and feel great when I can support others. We’re not competitors, we’re colleagues.
Anyway, this particular post had comments that were starting to go downhill fast. It made me angry and I know it put the original author of the post in an uncomfortable position. The post was about another instructor group that I did not belong to, nor could I ever belong to. Because it was for minority instructors. Someone in the original group noted he was not allowed entry into the minority group. The original poster asked him if he was black or a person of color… and his answer? It was along the lines of “I’m sure I have something in my family tree”.
This type of response or attitude is why we all need to look more closely at the privileges we unconsciously don’t realize we have because of our race, gender, age, nationality, or orientation. In this particular post, the instructor felt he should be able to join any group, and this is not accurate or right. I know I can honestly say I’ve hit the ‘glass ceiling’ for pay and promotion in previous careers. And I know there are some places that will never hire me to provide training because I’m an older white woman. To me age is a number, not a definition, but my white hair throws a few folks off. As a woman owned business I have challenges my male counterparts do not have. If I was a woman of color I could have even more hurdles and challenges to teach the skills I believe are so important for all of us to learn.
A year or so ago there were 2 major studies published on layperson response to SCA (Sudden Cardiac Arrest) focusing on race and gender. One was a US study, the other was European. Both had similar results. Men were less likely to begin CPR on a woman they did not know for fear of exposing or touching her chest. Black and Latino victims were less likely to receive bystander CPR.
This is upsetting and wrong. We ALL can be better than this.
I’ve heard a lot of arguments about Black Lives Matter versus all lives matter. All lives can only matter if they are inclusive and equal to all. And unfortunately in many places there are not equal or inclusive. I also believe that the lives of emergency responders matter when they place the responsibility of their job and training ahead of race, gender, orientation, or age. Our world and society is not perfect, we have so many ways that we ALL need to improve.
In my classroom everyone is welcome. It doesn’t matter to me the color of your skin, your gender, your orientation, your religion, your age, your nationality, or anything else. You leave politics at the door – my classroom is like Switzerland and we’re politically neutral. If you need an exam or book in another language I’ll get it for you. I want everyone to learn lifesaving skills and my classroom is inclusive of everyone. Diversity and acceptance is the norm and not the exception. If you need a BLS, CPR AED, First Aid, First Aid CPR AED, or Wilderness First Aid class – and you are challenged to find an open and accepting class – please reach out to me. I’m happy to welcome you into my classroom.