Diversity: where are my invitations?
I believe that diversity in teams helps improve outcomes by the team’s values.
Some places have more diversity than others. A big part of culture I see is to increase diversity, particularly in places with authority like government, corporate boardrooms, and STEM fields.
People point out that those places are overrepresented by people who are combinations of male, white, rich, straight, fit, and a few other characteristics. Making them more diverse means bringing in people with other characteristics. There are many programs, initiatives, and resources to help them reach those places.
If those places are overrepresented by people of those characteristics, other places must be overrepresented by people of other characteristics. There must be places with more females than males, more non-whites than whites, more poor than rich, and so on.
Doesn’t increasing diversity mean that those places should increase their representation of people who are male, white, rich, straight, fit, and so on? Where else would those displaced from where they’re overrepresented go? Or is there no place for them? Even if there is no places for them, wouldn’t their presence in communities underrepresenting them improve outcomes for those groups by increasing those groups’ diversity?
Maybe I should say “us” instead of “them,” since, though middle class seems to describe me more accurately than rich, the other characteristics describe me.
So my question: am I missing invitations for me to these places people with my characteristics are underrepresented? If so, where are my invitations?
Maybe I’m not seeing them, I can’t think of many people with characteristics different than mine inviting me into their worlds—not women, people of other skin colors, poor people, people of other sexual orientations, obese people, etc.
Unless I’m missing these invitations and programs, is it my responsibility to find them or make myself welcome in these other places? Then is it everyone’s responsibility to make themselves welcome in groups they aren’t in? The existence of the initiatives and programs I mentioned above suggests that people don’t think so.
Where are the programs and initiatives to get people with characteristics like mine into these places? Believing that diversity improves outcomes suggests that such programs and initiatives would benefit those groups. Motivating them to leave the groups they, or we, are currently in would open spaces for people with other characteristics to fill in government, corporate boardrooms, and so on.
The knee-jerk response to people asking such questions about sex, race, and so on is to call them sexist, racist, and so on. Or ignorant. Or to say things like “straight white men have always had power so spaces for LGBTQ or people of color or women give them safety.” Such policies seem to oppose diversity. Where would straight white men go except where they are if other places don’t accept them?
People call me privileged enough that I can expect many people would call me privileged for this post, suggesting that people with my characteristics can already do what they/we want. But there are many places that don’t make me feel welcome to say the least. This view suggests that straight white men uniquely, when we get together, are a problem that others aren’t when they get together. If so, this view seems to dehumanize us.
Also, responses like calling people with my characteristics racist, sexist, ignorant, and so on seem to have contributed to votes for Trump. I could be wrong, but if not, continuing that path would suggest risking another four years, more Supreme Court seats, and so on.
Unless I’m sexist, racist, ignorant and so on, it would seem to help everyone to create programs to bring people like me to places we’re underrepresented. If I’m sexist, racist, ignorant, etc, I welcome someone relieving me of my sexism, racism, ignorance, etc.
In the meantime, where are my invitations to women-dominated spaces, to LGBTQ-dominated spaces, to African-American-dominated spaces, to obese-dominated spaces, and so on?
Read my weekly newsletter
On initiative, leadership, the environment, and burpees
1 response to “Diversity: where are my invitations?”