Do What You Can #diversity #inclusion #opportunity

helping handsSo much of diversity seems to be attached to a problem. Someone did something wrong, someone mistreated someone else, this data on the state of whatever is gloom, doom and oh, my gosh, when will the pain end? But that’s only a small part of the real story. The underlying truth of diversity and inclusion is actually quite hopeful and positive.

I like to think of diversity as this vast and varied canvas of untapped possibilities, and less about taking every chance there is — and unfortunately there are many — to point out what people are doing that you don’t agree with. Pointing a rude, crooked finger at what’s wrong in a situation hasn’t worked that well to effect change thus far anyway.

Under a more positive and hopeful umbrella, strategic diversity management becomes a toolbox stuffed full of different ways to promote equality, build awareness, share the wealth — whether that be via knowledge or support — and find creative new ways to tackle existing problems. Continue reading “Do What You Can #diversity #inclusion #opportunity”

Black Skin Means Bad News #diversity #race #discrimination

I’ve talked to many diversity executives over the years, and almost all have confirmed that in order to create real traction for their initiatives, to even gain acceptance of their presence and value, they have to talk about diversity like a business. That means hard numbers, tangible connections to key stakeholders and strategic alignment to established business goals and needs. No soft stuff.Numbers don't lie

Emotion, historical baggage, discussions of right or wrong, or playing the blame game and pointing fingers, these things do not work, they say. In fact, these things actively work against the diversity executive, even in situations where there are acknowledged or apparent workforce diversity issues.

But according to some new research, numbers may not always work to sway hearts and minds and promote positive action. A study from Stanford University psychologists Jennifer L. Eberhardt and Rebecca C. Hetey revealed you can’t fight racial injustice with statistics either. Continue reading “Black Skin Means Bad News #diversity #race #discrimination”

Mike Brown: Today’s Hiroshima #diversity #racism #power

I had no plans to blog about Mike Brown. I thought, this happens so often, as tragic and horrible as it is, what more can I say that I haven’t already? Two things changed my mind.

One, I saw an absolutely stunning photo of a silent protest at Howard University where hundreds of solemn black faces stood with their hands up. No words were needed. It was peaceful, it was powerful, and it was in direct opposition to the fear and violence that swept Ferguson, Missouri this week.Howard

Then I read a beautifully written piece in Salon by Brittney Cooper: “In defense of black rage: Michael Brown, police and the American dream,” discussing the mentality behind racism, and I had to chime in.

Cooper says: “We live in a country that is so deeply emotionally dishonest about both race and racism. When will we be honest enough to acknowledge that the police have more power than the ordinary citizen? They are supposed to. And with more power comes more responsibility.”

That’s the bottom line.

Continue reading “Mike Brown: Today’s Hiroshima #diversity #racism #power”

Stop Treating Powerful Women Like a Novelty #diversity #gender

HammonSo Becky Hammon made history this week when the San Antonio Spurs named her assistant coach. Hammon is only the second female ever to achieve coach status in the NBA. But what is perhaps as notable as her appointment is how the team broke the news.

In the release, the team was very matter of fact, simply stating her name and position, there was no “first female” or similar descriptors to metaphorically pat themselves on the back and grab pro-diversity attention from the media. It was a straight forward announcement, and I like that.

Too often when women achieve a high powered position, it’s all about, “the first,” “the only,” the this, the that, and that does several things. One, it makes the appointment seem odd or special, a novelty, as my colleague Kate pointed out, and highlights the fact that this woman in power is not usual, leaving the why she was appointed open to interpretation. Even if a female leadership appointment is unusual, it does not usually serve the woman in question to be labeled this way. It adds an unnecessary spotlight and pressure to a position that is likely already quite challenging. Continue reading “Stop Treating Powerful Women Like a Novelty #diversity #gender”

Punished For Being Pretty #diversity #beauty

One of the things I love most about Instagram is not the beautiful images you see of lives well lived, well traveled and well considered, it’s the motivational sayings that proliferate the platform. In fact, my own posts are comprised of more phrases than pictures.Sabina

Model Naomi Campbell posted one this week that I wish I could share. It’s too long to relay here in its entirety, but this bit struck a chord with me: “You can’t do anything without being labeled… We live in a society where people can’t survive if they’re not judging the next person.”

You may have read about 17-year-old Sabina Altynbekova, the Kazakhstan volleyball player who’s so pretty her position competing for her country in the Asian Under-19 Volleyball Championship is in jeopardy because of pervasive and insistent media attention about her looks. The girl is beautiful, no doubt about it. But it’s really sad that her desire to play volleyball has been threatened through no fault of her own. Continue reading “Punished For Being Pretty #diversity #beauty”

Perception is the Devil; Women Penalized for Promoting Women @WSJ #diversity #inclusion

I’m convinced that perception is half the reason progress in diversity-related matters is yo-yo slow. How those in power look at you, their unspoken but powerful judgments, they’re like microinequities on steroids. Strong Female Bound

Even when you try to do something good, if you’re a minority, something bad will appear and follow you like a bad smell. Take Rachel Feintzeig’s recent piece “Women Penalized for Promoting Women, Study Finds” for instance.

In it Feintzeig talks about new research from the University of Colorado that found women and non-white executives who advocate for other minorities to be promoted or hired often get lower performance ratings than white males who do the same thing. Why? Perception. Continue reading “Perception is the Devil; Women Penalized for Promoting Women @WSJ #diversity #inclusion”