New York Shows Women of Color Some Love #diversity #equality #gender

On Thursday, New York City had a quiet, but notable first. New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced the Young Women’s Initiative, supposedly the first city initiative in the nation designed specifically for young women of color.Empire_State_Building_Cityscape_at_Dusk

“For too long, young women in New York City have experienced systemic disparity in all areas of life, whether its healthcare, education, or equal pay for equal work,” said Mark-Viverito in a statement. “These injustices are especially pervasive for young women of color, who have been denied opportunity for advancement and success time and time again throughout history. We are here today to say ‘no more.’ It’s time we stand up with women everywhere tackle this inequality head on — and this first-of-its-kind initiative will do just that.”

Of course, young women of color in New York aren’t the only ones who’ve suffered from systemic bias and discrimination, but that such a large metropolitan area is taking a step like this is encouraging — particularly because there was no predicating incident of note that would have made such a step necessary for PR purposes. Continue reading “New York Shows Women of Color Some Love #diversity #equality #gender”

Indiana Is Officially Not Gay Friendly #diversity #inclusion #LGBT #discrimination

Indiana not gay friendlyIndiana Governor Mike Pence made it legal this past week for businesses to turn away gay and lesbian customers in the name of “religious freedom.”

There is one big thing wrong with that statement — besides the obvious — and its one word: legal.

What’s next? Will it be legal to kill black people in the street? … OK, bad example. But you get my point, right? Making something legal means it’s okay, it’s right, it grants permission for distinctly noninclusive, not to mention not very friendly, behavior.

On the other hand, considering the extremely strong buying power of the gay community — in 2013, it was an estimated $830 billion according to Witeck Communications and — what better way to root out bigots? I’ve always believed it’s better to know up front where you stand with people. It’s easier to avoid trouble that way. Of course, that attitude isn’t effective if inclusion is the goal. But if this bill backfires, it will almost certainly be for economic reasons, not anything specifically diversity-related. Continue reading “Indiana Is Officially Not Gay Friendly #diversity #inclusion #LGBT #discrimination”

Remembering Ernie Banks, Baseball Player and Diversity Champion #diversity

Ernie Banks died last Friday at 83. Known globally as “Mr. Cub,” Banks became the Chicago Cubs’ first African-American player on Sept. 17, 1953. In his 19-year playing career and 40-plus years as an ambassador for baseball and the city of Chicago, Banks was a two-time National League Most Valuable Player, and he was inducted … Continue reading Remembering Ernie Banks, Baseball Player and Diversity Champion #diversity

Apple CEO Tim Cook Says: “I’m Proud to Be Gay” #diversity #LGBT

Apple CEO Tim Cook came out today.

Mum on his sexual orientation until he shared his truth in  Tim Cookan essay for Bloomberg Businessweek, Cook said he considered it a good trade, his privacy for the chance to bring comfort or to inspire someone “to insist upon their equality.”

Despite the prevailing non-diversity friendly sentiment that seems to hang over Silicon Valley — and the tech industry in general — like a bad smell, he said Appleloves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when organizations embrace people’s differences. Continue reading “Apple CEO Tim Cook Says: “I’m Proud to Be Gay” #diversity #LGBT”

You Gotta Make ‘Em Laugh #diversity #inclusion #humor

Make Em LaughHumor may be one of the most perfect ways to teach people about diversity. For instance, take this video I ran across this week featuring a coterie of black kids from Ferguson, Missouri, discussing how fed up they are with racism. They’re cute, they’re sassy, some are just a few syllables away from baby talk, but with style and childish flair they make their case. Even better, the message sticks with you.

Bringing humor in as a tool with which to relay diversity ideas works because it soothes the sting of latent guilt and discomfort, and it can ease the strain and defensiveness traditionally associated with this kind of subject matter. Video is also the perfect complement. It may be one of my new favorite learning delivery systems. Continue reading “You Gotta Make ‘Em Laugh #diversity #inclusion #humor”

Are White Gay Men Stealing From Black Women? #LGBT #diversity

Double StandardMy gay friend Travis sent me a blog he found in Time, “Dear White Gays: Stop Stealing Black Female Culture” by Sierra Mannie. In the piece, Mannie kvetches that Black women’s hair styles, clothes, language and dance moves are being pillaged by gay white men. That they are taking all of the glitz and glam and leaving behind the degradation, humiliation and stifled opportunities that characterize the black female experience. Essentially she’s saying there’s a line between appropriation and appreciation.

That’s very true. It seems like every time I turn around some black person is squawking about something we created being stolen by white people. And the list is long of black inventions, tangible or cultural, that have been appropriated by other races, for which we see a pittance, if any, of the resulting dividends.

My problem with the squawking is two-fold. One, what other races appropriate are often the most base, ridiculous and silly traits, things perpetuated by the media and a very small percentage of black people. I say, let ‘em keep that neck-popping bull crap. It has very little if anything to do with real – yes, I said real – black culture and history. Continue reading “Are White Gay Men Stealing From Black Women? #LGBT #diversity”

Arizona on Verge of Legalizing #Discrimination? #diversity #religiousfreedom

Okay, so if Arizona Governor Jan Brewer – she of the pointing finger in President Obama’s face; I’m so not a fan – passes the Exercise of Religion bill making it legal for business owners to discriminate against gay and lesbian customers if it pleases their religious beliefs, I will not be visiting that state, like, ever. In fact, I will be boycotting anything that starts with and ends with A, period. Religious freedom

Whatever next? Are we going to reinstitute prohibition? Maybe resurrect Jim Crow while we’re at it? Come on. I know – better than some – that we do not in fact live in a post-racial, completely gender and difference supportive society, but this is pushing it a bit too far, no? Continue reading “Arizona on Verge of Legalizing #Discrimination? #diversity #religiousfreedom”