This year for Halloween, there was no trick-or-treating and no Halloween party. Instead, we opted for a movie night by campfire, complete with s’mores. We searched for a spooky (but not scary) movie appropriate for an 8-year-old. We ultimately settled on the animated version of The Addams Family. I knew we were in for laughs and gore, but I had no idea I would be schooled on diversity and inclusion.
The story began with the wedding of Gomez Addams (Oscar Isaac) and Morticia (Charlize Theron), who shared her intricate grooming ritual, including using her parents’ ashes as eye shadow. The ceremony ended abruptly when they were interrupted by an intolerant angry mob.
Longing for a new place to call home, the newlyweds drove to New Jersey. They fell in love with a hilltop asylum, including Lurch (Conrad Vernon) and a house spirit (also Conrad Vernon). The story advances 13 years, and the Addams were settled into their home, joined by a teenage daughter, Wednesday (Chloe Grace Moretz), and a preteen, Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard). Down the hill, HGTV-esque TV personality Margaux Needler (Allison Janney), who makes over homes, made over an entire town literally named “Assimilation.” During a welcome ceremony, residents performed a song containing the lyrics “What’s so great about being yourself when you can be just like everyone else?”
Needler sets her sights on the Addams estate because it was scaring prospective residents away. When the Addams family refuses Needler’s complimentary home makeover, she embarks on a campaign to defame the Addams family on Neighborhood Peeps (clearly, a parody of Nextdoor).
The smear campaign culminates in the destruction of the Addams family’s estate during Pugsley’s Mazurka (a family rite of passage in which Gomez doubts Pugsley’s ability because he is just “too different” from the rest of the family), which ends in a standoff between the Addams family and the Assimilation residents during which Wednesday outs some of the residents’ strange habits. The Assimilation residents ultimately embrace the Addams family and their extended family, who become residents of Assimilation, changing the entire character of the community.
A Ghoulish Lesson
The Addams family’s experiences can teach us about diversity and inclusion. The Addams family longed to live in a place where their differences would be welcomed. Ultimately, the Assimilation residents realized that though the Addams family’s macabre habits and demeanor were different, the residents had “different” habits, as well. The residents realized that the Addams were just like them. The key to diversity and inclusion is accepting others as they are and embracing them despite their differences.
The business case for diversity is that by hiring and retaining diverse individuals, a business can better understand the fluctuating consumer base in an increasingly diverse marketplace. A diverse and inclusive environment leads to more effective collaboration, resulting in a better working environment and a better overall business plan.
Diversity comes in different shapes, sizes, hues, and predilections (ghoulish, perhaps?). The more businesses can embrace diversity and foster inclusion, the happier their employees, clients, and customers will be.