Who’s In the Picture? A Simple Way to Raise Blog Inclusivity

A diverse group of hands forming heart shapes.123RF

I tried a little experiment recently to give a boost to blog inclusivity. You probably didn’t notice, and if you didn’t, that’s not bad.

I made a subtle change on this blog during Black History Month to increase a sense of blog inclusivity here at Patrick’s Place. I would wager most people never noticed what the change was.

I bet a few readers just went to see if they could spot anything. If you did, you may have figured it out. But you may not have. I told you it was subtle…and intentionally so.

The change was that I include people of color whenever people appeared in featured images during the month of February.

Big deal, you might think. Well, actually, I would argue that it is a big deal.

You see, I’m a Generation X white guy. So when I give my opinion on what’s going on in my corner of the world, I bring that perspective. I would like to think that I succeed at trying to consider other people’s points of view. I do make that effort, whether it comes through or not. (I hope it does come through.)

That got me to thinking about stock photos I use on this blog. Yes, I use stock images. Some people may have an issue with that, but I’ve previously addressed that here.

In any case, it seems the majority of the images I use on this blog — whenever they feature everyday people — tend to be white. The majority also tend to be male. Again, that’s who I am, and that’s what I might gravitate to unless there’s a specific reason to focus on a female or a person of color.

Blog inclusivity doesn’t require a ‘specific’ reason for inclusion

It dawned on me that during Black History Month, I could feature images of people of color. (Needless to say, I will continue using people of color in images going forward. That wasn’t a Februrary-only thing.)

The website CultureAlly posted an article on why it’s important to include a diverse group of people in stock photos.

“Embracing diversity and inclusion through diverse images is an important way to show that companies respect their audiences and consumers,” their article states. But it goes further than that. The article suggests image diversity affects not only how people see your company (in this case, your website) but also how they see themselves:

Stock images have tremendous power: seeing someone similar to you reflected back in an image is uplifting and fosters inclusion. Addressing diversity and inclusiveness in your stock images will only widen your audience when you include more diversity, such as skin tones, body shapes, abilities, gender, etc. 

The article includes mentions of companies like Nike that have launched efforts to increase diversity in their marketing messages.

For bloggers, it’s very important to note that having images that portray diversity doesn’t mean you have points of view that are diverse. I’m still a middle-aged white man. No matter how much I may try to work in other points of view and discuss them as I write, I’m still limited to my own experiences.

Diverse images do not, by themselves, mean diverse points of view.

Including people who don’t look the same as you do in your imagery takes very little effort. But if the effort results in a blog that feels more welcoming, why wouldn’t you want to make that effort?

As more diverse audience members read what you have to say and share their points of view, the audience and the writer all benefit from that!

the authorPatrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.

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