Why is diversity still a Corporate taboo?
People don’t know how to talk about diversity. This may seem staggering after decades of intentional diversity awareness, but the power of social norms and misunderstanding about how we are all different as people isn’t what people want to bring up or focus on. The topic still leaves people tiptoeing around it versus having open, constructive dialogue.
We talk about diversity as a “problem.” This is not only true about diversity. It is indicative of how HR approaches every topic. We feel that once something is a problem, then it can be addressed. Until then things should just be left alone. We seem to pride ourselves on “putting out fires.” Honestly, that makes us extremely reactionary and not proactive. Diversity is a fact – not a problem.
A lack of clarity on how diversity is defined. HR still talks about diversity from the EEOC filters. If people fall into one of the EEOC categories, then they are diverse. This is a narrow way to look at diversity. It’s true that the EEOC categories to put some descriptive terminology around diversity, but that only scratches the surface as to how diverse all people are even within those categories.
Fear of not being politically correct. This is a challenge, but it is sort of an unspoken fear. Instead of talking to each other as humans, we want to place people into a label because we think it helps us if people fit into boxes. This is short-sighted and needs to be addressed. If people use ignorant language that belittles or degrades someone, it’s not right period! It has nothing to do with being politically correct.
We don’t like to be honest. Corporations have made “diversity” a program and a system. The thought is that if we have these programs we feel we’re compliant and off the hook because things are in place. As stated before, diversity is a fact (and honestly a strength) of people. They don’t need a program to know they’re diverse.