Michelle Goldberg in the New York Times said, “When one is accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.” I think that explains much of the opposition that we see to the Black Lives Matter movement, LGBTQ rights, and most other social struggles that people are … struggling with. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is a concept that has finally found its way into mainstream conversations. At its simplest, DEI is about the participation of all people – but especially those of different ages, races and ethnicities, abilities and disabilities, genders, religions, cultures and sexual orientations. Everyone gets a seat, but particularly those who have been excluded in the past. A baseball analogy might describe it as people who were born with no means to buy a ticket to just watch the game – compared to those of us who were born on third base. Like a lot of things, instilling a culture of DEI into any organization is easy to claim, but maybe not so easy to accomplish.
We work with a lot of clients with the right intentions who are just trying to understand and navigate this new reality. You may not be in a position to force the wholesale organizational changes that DEI ultimately requires, but even old, white guys can be an ally. We should probably start by avoiding paralysis by analysis (stuck with inaction trying to figure it out – too afraid to make mistakes), and taking the following five (5) doable, positive steps.