Diversity, Inclusion & Equity extends far deeper than rhetoric. We engage in safe, polite discussion about how to make our workplace environments more diverse, inclusive and equitable while valuing differences, and welcoming everyone regardless of those differences, and so on… We’ve all heard the normal conversation.
While it’s a nice tune, it doesn’t take into consideration the deep undertones of racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, implicit and explicit bias that have been woven into the fiber of our workplace culture – so much so that it has had some of us living in an alternative universe every day of working lives. We are the individuals at your company that are willing lead initiatives to attract and retain a diverse pool of candidates and employees, and advocate for more career pathing with every intention of impacting the environment and drive change. But we will rarely talk about some of the experiences that leave us with a healthy amount of skepticism that things are likely to change unless the focus is shifted to a cultural reset of sorts.
We are realistic about how deeply seeded the issues are that prevent organic inclusion and acceptance in the first place, because we are experienced enough to know that Diversity, Inclusion and Equity remains a heavy lift. We may appear to our colleagues to be socially well adjusted, adaptable within the space that we are in, and able to move comfortably in many political circles within the workplace. In truth, not a day passes without a reminder that our presence and acceptance is marginal at best, as you will soon read. We are resilient, if not numb, and we are skilled at keeping threats in front of us. We rely on self-affirmation and are cognizant of our surroundings even when they have been deemed “safe.” We come with a series of experiences and short stories that span our career that have left our rose colored glasses crystal clear and un-tinted when it comes to all things diversity. The following are just a handful of mine. In the fairly recent past I have:
So don’t be misled folks – in matters of Diversity, Inclusion and Equity, we have our work cut out for us. As you plan your approach to addressing this renewed social consciousness, take time to understand everyone’s experience, so you will know where to begin.
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