A rather contentious card today… Apartheid means “the state of being apart.” It can be interpreted as meaning separation or segregation.
It’s a word most commonly associated with South Africa and its race segmentation. I’m beginning to see a new variation of it floating around: Vaccination Apartheid.
It refers to people who are excluded from societal activities because of their personal choice to not get vaccinated.
This doesn’t mean the individual is necessarily an “anti-vaxxer.” It may mean that they’re holding off getting vaccinated until they are confident in the information they’re receiving is based in solid, peer-reviewed medical science and is not the folly of political power being mishandled.
For today’s Flower Affirmation card, I was supposed to be sharing on my morning commute, only I no longer have a morning commute. I am now required to work from home because of my (heavily pregnant) decision to not get vaccinated at this time.
I was told that this was a decision made by the business because all of the team members said they would feel uncomfortable working in the same office as someone who isn’t vaccinated.
They didn’t give a reason nor were they required to. I wasn’t asked for my reason. There was no team discussion. For the benefit of existing staff, I was not given the option to get a formal medical exemption, which I’m entitled to.
Here’s the challenge with this:
When it comes to rules a company has to follow according to the government, I get it, hands are tied. But, this wasn’t the case here. It was a decision informed on the consensus of how people felt.
How the majority feels is important when you run a business. However, when those feelings single out one team member over all others, preventing that person from having a say, being heard or understanding the rationale of the majority’s discomfort, then you destroy what trust and inclusivity you’ve created with that individual.
Now in this instance, it was made clear, this wasn’t about me specifically, but about anyone who isn’t vaccinated but when you’re the only person in the office that represents the unvaccinated, then it becomes bloody difficult to not take it personally.
It sends a clear message: We’re not comfortable with your decision. We’re not open to understanding you. We don’t want you here.
Certainly, how I feel is not the responsibility of anyone I presently work with. They were asked and they gave their black ‘n’ white response.
Societally, this vaccination apartheid doesn’t consider the mental or emotional ramifications of the individuals who are being excluded. It doesn’t consider the facts of the contagion of the virus. All it does is single people out into two groups: Included or Excluded.
That is an incredibly dangerous precedent to set in what was once a democratic, inclusive country.
I know, I will be okay. But, what of those Excluded who are facing joblessness and worse? What will be the long-term cost to businesses and society?
To learn more about these beautiful cards that inspire so much deep thinking from me, you can visit Kym’s Insta @kym_creative or get your own deck at Kym Creative.