Don’t let the title confuse you, I think that all minority groups deserve more opportunity and respect in each and every field. However, I don’t think these diversity quotas that brands and businesses are trying to check off are beneficial to anyone. What often ends up happening is that either people of color, the LGBT community, and women are there to be tokens to add into company photos or ad campaigns and not actually accepted. Or, they’re given a diversity program that makes it feel as though the company has to train minorities to be at a certain level when all they truly need is the opportunity. What we should ask for is inclusion. Inclusion means that your thoughts, opinions and feelings matter and that you have a voice in the conversation. We want to be included in a space which means that our ideas should be heard and we should be able to feel comfortable in the environment in which we work. Often our diversity is just a rainbow of colors and identities that are expected to be extras and background to present a certain image to the public.
The greatest example of diversity that isn’t inclusive is Loreal’s treatment of Monroe Burgdorf. After hiring this black trans-woman for an image of diversity they fired her instantly after she raised her voice on white supremacy’s role in American society. This is a great demonstration of companies pushing for diversity for appearances without actually having inclusion or allowing for a diversity of ideas.
I also believe that now is the time to take a chance and begin to build our own entities again. Inclusion is great and necessary but it is not the end all be all. Create our own and support our own.