Diversity & Inclusion Myth Busting #8

    Posted on 29-Oct-2019 12:25:17

    Diversity Myth #8: "Diversity and Inclusion is about minority groups"

    After more than 20 years of working in the field of Diversity and Inclusion, I have come across a whole range of preconceived, often implicit, ideas which stand in the way of making progress towards more inclusive workplaces and societies. An important part of my role is to try to debunk them.

    These “myths” may be just that - erroneous ideas and misconceptions - but their effect on individuals, communities and organisations is very real, and detrimental. The more that all of us make a concerted effort to understand our assumptions in relation to Diversity & Inclusion, the greater the likelihood that genuine inclusion for everyone will become a reality.

    diversity myth 8

    I have selected a few of the most frequent and harmful ‘diversity myths’ for this article. I expect that some of you might recognise a couple, or even understand some of your own preconceived ideas. If so, I hope that analysis of these commonly held but inaccurate beliefs will help to explain where your assumptions might come from, why they are not backed by evidence, and why it is important for all of us to challenge ourselves on the ideas we perpetuate.

    Ultimately, I hope that by surfacing these myths you will be inspired to, with confidence and genuine commitment, promote Diversity & Inclusion.

     

    Diversity Myth #8: "Diversity and Inclusion is about minority groups"

    The final ‘myth’ we will discuss in this series is the idea that Diversity & Inclusion is about ‘other people’, about ‘exotic birds’ out there! The clue should be in the name but it is worth reiterating that the point is inclusion, not exclusion; that diversity is not an attribute of single individuals but of social groups. So it’s about all of us. 

    If you feel diversity is about getting ‘them’ and assimilating ‘them’ into your unchanged corporate culture, you are mistaken. Diversity and Inclusion is about creating a culture where everyone (each individual - including you) can thrive, contribute to your organisation and serve your evermore diverse customer base. 

    Every member of staff stands to benefit from a more inclusive workplace, because an inclusive culture goes hand-in-hand with a more empathetic, more emotionally connected place where employees are more likely to feel that they can ‘take their whole selves’ to work. 

     

    Keep an eye out for the other blogs in the ‘Diversity Myths’ series. While each piece stands alone, we believe that a powerful and coherent case emerges when all seven myths are considered as a whole. 

    Once we understand these myths, it becomes impossible to think of Diversity & Inclusion as being the sole responsibility of the Human Resources Department, the Corporate Social Responsibility Department, the Marketing and Communications Department or the Innovation Department. It becomes everyone’s responsibility - whether you are leaders, managers, supervisors, employees or serving customers - to play a role, every day, in creating a diverse and inclusive workplace that benefits all. 

    If you recognise these myths at work, please get in touch. We’ll be able to help you address them and transform your organisation.

    Diversity Myth #1: ‘‘We have more pressing business priorities than Diversity and Inclusion right now'’

    Diversity Myth #2: ‘We treat everyone as individuals: we don’t discriminate."

    Diversity Myth #3: ‘No matter what we do, some people will always think they are discriminated against.’

    Diversity Myth #4: “If only we could tackle unconscious bias, we wouldn't be discriminating anymore.”

    Diversity Myth #5: “Prejudice and discrimination are the same thing, aren’t they?”

    Topics: Diversity, Inclusion, inclusive transformation

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