Over at the New York Times Magazine, ambivalence toward capital “D” diversity courses through Anna Holmes’ excellent essay “Has ‘Diversity’ Lost Its Meaning?” Holmes, the founding editor of Jezebel and now an executive at Fusion, notes that while corporate odes to “diversity” are de rigeur these days at places like SXSW and fancy media conferences, these lofty pronouncements often deflate back at the office. It’s easy to get execs to say workplace diversity is necessary, and much harder to find examples of success.
A big part of the problem, says Holmes, is that we keep throwing the word around without defining our terms. “Diversity” has great approval numbers, even as it’s kneecapped by its own nebulousness. Holmes quotes a venture capitalist whose company has had some challenges in this arena — accusations of gender-based harassment, an overwhelmingly white workforce — but said he remains “deeply committed to diversity,” right before quipping, “We have two new partners who are so diverse, I have a challenge pronouncing their names.”
The tech industry has come under fire a lot on this issue, but it’s hardly exclusive to Silicon Valley. Television writers rooms are notoriously monochromatic — a March report from the Writer’s Guild of America found that nearly 86 percent of the people working as TV writers were white. That number is even more glaring when you consider that the most dedicated consumers of the medium are black and brown. To move the needle, some networks have tried to pay executive TV producers to hire a “diverse” writer every season.
NPR’s Code Switch is comprised of a team of journalists who study race, ethnicity, and culture, the ways in which they play a role in our lives and communities, and how things are shifting. Lead blogger for the Code Switch team, Gene Demby examines what happens when diversity becomes nothing more than a corporate buzzword in this article on diversity in the workplace.
Three key points we like from ‘Diversity’ Is Rightly Criticized As An Empty Buzzword. So How Can We Make It Work?:
- Diversity only can be productive when companies put thought into how to invite and control the resistance against accepted norms
- Companies need to be prepared to deal with a hefty amount of skepticism when working toward creating more diverse workplaces
- Companies need to support workers they hire when creating a more diverse workforce because they become representatives of diversity and shoulder much of the resistance and push back themselves.
At Ellyot, diversity is one of our core ethos and we’re currently underway with our campaign to #StandForDiversity.
Have you ever been discriminated in your workplace based on your gender, age, race, sexual orientation or anything else that has made you feel not quite right?
We want to hear from you. Head to ellyot.com/diversity to find out more or share your stories on Social Media with #StandForDiversity and call out those employers who have something to answer to!