As a Black woman, I am often requested or nominated to lead or support various "diversity" initiatives. Over the years, my feelings about these requests have gotten more emotionally complicated. I'm a firm believer that people of color or other target groups of oppression, should be "leading" any and all equity projects, initiatives or programs. Yet my heart also knows, diversity and inclusion are just code for, "we don't want to share power and we will allow more black and brown or queer faces here as long as you assimilate.".
Diversity efforts as we currently know them, are frankly offensive. You are asking people from different cultural backgrounds to assimilate to your cultural norm. Which in almost all cases is white, middle class, masculine dominated, cis-gendered, able-bodied, American born liberal do-gooders. Whether it's for profit, nonprofit or public sector, the dominant workplace culture is not diverse. We aren't talking about racial or ethnicity here, although that needs improvement too!
True diversity is a by product of equity. Equity of opportunity ,equity of presence, equity of value, equity of all forms of doing business, working styles and cultural responsiveness. Meaning until you share power, value what every single person can bring to a workplace and equitably provide opportunities for decision making and measurement of success to all folks, by definition you cannot reap the benefits of true diversity.
Fostering Real Opportunities supports efforts to build those environments of equity and valuing multiculturalism. Our coaching and consulting utilizes "diverse" strategies to work toward inclusion of all. This is not to uphold the systems of power and white supremacy, only including those that assimilate. This is building practices that transform those workplaces to value and incorporate multicultural perspectives and practices.
In our current workplaces and community organizations, inclusion work is necessary to break down the rigid dominant culture; it is simple a pebble in a much larger beach of the equity journey.
Are you ready to transform?
Why you shouldn't do "diversity" work...