“Diversity” In White Institutions
August 8, 2009
Jaded Hippy linked to a fascinating guest post at Stuff White People Do by The Witty Mulatto, who blogs at Madness to the Method, concerning the meaning of the term “diversity” as employed by members of white institutions, such as the overwhelmingly vast majority of universities. The whole thing is well worth reading, but I just want to quote one part:
White organizations everywhere create entire commissions and councils surrounding diversity. Their mission statements usually say things like, “We believe the University environment is greatly enriched by the presence of people with diverse backgrounds and cultural perspectives.” They have a lot of pretty words. But what they really mean is, “How can we reach out to people of color and make them want to join our organization?”
The question that logically comes next but is rarely asked is, “Why would people of color WANT to join our organization?”
If you asked THAT question, things would get interesting.
As a member of a white organization, I can say from personal experience that this is, indeed, exactly what “diversity” ends up meaning for us, and how we strategize about it.
I have participated in many discussions concerning “How can we reach out to people of color and make them want to join our organization?” as well as “What can we do to improve the prospects of people of color succeeding within our organization?” I have never had a single discussion concerning “Why would people of color WANT to join our organization?”