Inclusion! It sounds so nice and polite…
Inclusion, in the workplace, means that people are offered jobs and not discriminated against on grounds such as gender, ethnicity, or disability.
In the real world, the workplace, the idea of diversity and inclusion is that colleagues are chosen for their aptitude.
For many, our experiences say otherwise.
Inclusion is a big lie.
Are you truly in an equitable environment or just a means to a quota?
- Inclusion is a lie when diversity isn’t truly valued.
How do people look at you when you wear your natural hair? When a topic that concerns people of color is being discussed, are you expected to be the voice for everyone, or to just share your personal experiences?
There is a value that diversity brings to the workplace. Research has found that a diverse team is more productive, by 35%! A diverse workforce is also more likely to understand customers’ needs and generate creative ideas. Inclusion in the workplace also increases employee morale!
- Inclusion is a lie when done for Public Relations purposes only.
In undergrad, my P.W.I created an entire initiative around this. The African American Studies program grew from a minor to a major, LGBTQ studies grew and the campus became a sea of colors, not just red and white (pun intended). More enrollment, more money!
You should be aware of campaigns at work that seem to exploit “popular issues”. Examples of this are: abortion during the supreme court decision, Inclusion during the BLM movement – these issues have always existed, were they being addressed by your organization before the media decided to speak on it?
Inclusion should not be a PR stunt, the organization should truly want ideas and representation from diverse candidates. The experiences of a first-generation college student will surely vary from the CEO who took over the company for his dad – all contributions should be valued.
- Inclusion is a lie when conversations do not breed change.
The BLM uprising made me sick. I saw people going into areas of protest, for photoshoots. I read so many “look, I have black friends!” social media posts and despite all of this, NOTHING CHANGED.
If you can, refrain from being the “spokesperson” for people of color in your workplace. You should only be expected to speak for yourself and change can not happen with your words alone. Pay attention to the actions people take to make you feel included. Are you asked to provide insight or meetings or simply invited? Does your team collaborate with you, or just inform you?
If after reading this, you realize that you are being lied to, remember that one privilege people of color enjoy is the desire for inclusion, but not the NEED for it.
Read “10 Privileges I Enjoy As A Woman of Color”
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