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Trump supporters can’t use ‘diversity of opinion’ as a defense for his harmful speech

If you have not yet voted, please vote for inclusion today.

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A version of this essay was published on Medium.

“What about diversity of opinion?”

That question has been a common response to our real fear for our and for others’ safety from the hate- and fearmongering of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Those who ask often define inclusion as requiring all people and views to be included —  regardless of how they promote excluding others. We at Project Include find this definition offensive and reject it.

Trump is uniquely harmful, because his actions are beyond political speech — he actively promotes and fosters hate and violence.

This is what that hate and violence look like:

This is how his supporters respond with hate.

This is happening even in progressive places:

Trump judges people by race, ethnicity, religion or gender and encourages his followers to attack groups based on biases. He has called Mexicans rapists and criminals, discouraged black renters, bragged about grabbing women’s genitals, advocated banning Muslims and encouraged physical violence.

The “diversity of opinion” argument comes with calls for change, for less government, for freedom of speech. We believe that safety, inclusion and freedom from hate and violence are fundamental rights and need to be part of that new world.

As a society, we cannot have a productive dialogue around your “diverse opinions” if you do not respect us  —  our opinions and our identities  —  and instead threaten us.

Project Include’s focus is diversity and inclusion. Diversity and inclusion go hand in hand, and productive diversity of opinion cannot be based on principles of exclusion. We applaud the many others who have also expressed this view.

If you have not yet voted, please vote for inclusion today.

Ellen K. Pao is the co-founder of Project Include, an open community working toward providing meaningful diversity and inclusion solutions for tech companies. A former partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, she was also former interim CEO at Reddit. She can be reached on Twitter @ekp.

This article originally appeared on

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