Tools for Diversity Awareness
October is Global Diversity Awareness month, intended to challenge us to reflect on the positive impact a diverse culture can have on society.
In 2020, we can’t ignore the urgency of examining the climate in the U.S., which continues to highlight disparities across race, gender, sexuality, and other dimensions of diversity.
In the U.S. this year we have seen Covid-19 disproportionately infecting and taking the lives of racial and ethnic minorities, highlighting the systemic inequalities leading to their vulnerability. We have also seen women, especially women of color, be disproportionally furloughed or laid off due to the dipping economy.
Further, increased visibility of the excessive harm experienced by Black populations has called attention to oppressive systems enabling police brutality and a broken justice system. The increasing brutality towards the Black transgender community further displays a threat toward those at the intersection of marginalized races and genders. These are just a fraction of the issues impacting those in the non-majority.
The truth is, none of the issues are new, or unique to 2020.
The United States has long been steadily diversifying. According to an analysis from U.S. News, nearly 70% of the largest cities in the U.S. are more racially and ethnically diverse than they were in 2010.
By 2030, non-Hispanic white representation is projected to decrease from 59.7% to 55.8%, with Hispanic, Black and Asian representation significantly increasing.
The negative and deadly impact of the ineffectual care for our diverse population and the increasing complexity of our diversifying nation should do more than elicit a call-to-action to advocate for the rehabilitation of the governmental systems that perpetuate these issues. And putting aside the traditional business case for diversity which promises innovation and greater profit, we should also examine how the systems within our organizations contribute to systemic and institutional racism.
Most of us believe that racism and discrimination are a big problem in the U.S., so what are we doing to nurture people across different races and ethnicities?
The first lesson we share at IBIS is that either you’re upholding the status quo, or you’re actively working to change it. This doesn’t mean that you’re immediately going from good intentions to a leader in diversity, equity, and inclusion.
In fact, our FLEX model shows how much long-term work is involved in the path toward racial equity. That’s why we’re working with our clients to lean in to the pillar “Focus Within” with organizational assessments using our Inclusive Organization Framework. This is a diagnostic tool designed to give organizations an appraisal of what changes are needed to ensure DEI success.
With this tool, our clients are made aware of the interpersonal, systemic, and institutional disparities within their walls. Our clients who are ready to address the changes necessary in their journey toward racial equity are working with us to create holistic facilitated trainings and e-learning designed to teach employees core concepts around race, start dialogues around race, and take their awareness to action.
As we move through Global Diversity Awareness month, we recommend having a deep reflection on the experiences across race and its intersections with sex and gender within your organizations. Consider what stage you’re in on your journey toward racial equity. Based on your needs, find out how our assessment tool, facilitated training, and e-learning can help!
Kiera Penpeci, Senior Consultant, has been passionate about building inclusive workplaces since her own sense of belonging led to fast mobility during her early days in retail. Using Organizational Development theory, the power of community, and her research on emotional labor, she’s helped non-profit and high-tech organizations foster inclusion of employees from all walks of life.