Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity

Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity

For centuries, African Americans have experienced blatant exclusion in our society. Then came affirmative action and diversity. Affirmative Action was put in place as a way of reaching Employment Equity. Employment Equity refers to a workplace that employs a certain number of people from different race and gender groups. Attention has now been drawn to the fact that beyond equality, equity needs to include more than just the number of diverse individuals, but fairness in how businesses operate. What does it mean to move forward with fairness?

While diversity is a variety that includes race, gender, religion, physical ability, and gender (male/female).I don’t think any of us would disagree that the meaning of the word diversity has truly expanded to include, but is not limited to. race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, socioeconomic status, military status, educational, marital status, language, age, gender, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, mental, physical ability, genetic information, and learning styles. We have just witnessed the protection of the LGBTQ community in our laws and this is a wonderful thing. It makes it that much more important to understand how companies and organizations define diversity.

It is also important to note that inclusion is bringing traditionally excluded individuals and/or groups into processes, activities, and decision/policy making. I believe that this does not just mean being a part of the opportunity, but it also means having a voice that will be heard, valued, and respected. That is why It is imperative that “Equity” be included as part of the Diversity & Inclusion conversation. What does Equity really mean? More importantly, what does it look like? Equity is to ensure fair treatment, equality of opportunities, impartiality, and fairness within the procedures, processes, and distribution of information and resources by all. This means that we need to guarantee fair treatment by eliminating the barriers that have prevented the full opportunity for certain groups. In other words, it means to be inclusive of all people.

First, you must acknowledge that a problem exists to change it. Everyone must have the desire to make the necessary changes to create this environment. Once we are at this point, certain actions must be in place with appropriate consequences if not followed. It is critical that this needs to be reinforced with reporting, metrics, and values gained by the business and this boils down to effective communication and follow up. Some examples of behavior changes might be equal pay for women and opportunities for African Americans and other groups with support to succeed.

Another way to help with this effort is to do “skill resumes” vs. traditional job descriptions. We must realize that the ability to successfully execute certain tasks and initiatives is not solely correlated with whether or not someone graduated from a prestigious university. We must create opportunities for high achieving employees to be considered for advancement based on skills rather than just education, which would be a small step in the right direction.

Code Switching

Code Switching

Over the last few months, I have had more conversations regarding code-switching. First, let’s begin by understanding the definition of code-switching. The dictionary defines it as the practice of alternating between two or more languages or varieties of language in conversations. One might ask what is the problem? The problem or concern is that one perceives that they must code-switch to be accepted in certain environments.

In the black community, there is a language spoken from time to time. As black people, we often communicate with one another in a more relaxed tone and diction. I am not talking ebonics here, I am talking about being relaxed and confident to speak openly without judgment. While knowing that you are being understood even if the words and meanings aren’t entirely precise. We don’t use that language or tone when we go into work, specifically, professional environments as we don’t want to appear as if we are uneducated or unprofessional to management or our colleagues.

We often code-switch to survive. We use the language that is “acceptable” to the environment that we are in, so we can have the opportunities that we desire. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. There is another challenge within our own community that when we speak well; we are perceived as “acting white”. As you can imagine, no one wants to feel like a sell-out, or feel ostracized from their community, so we adapt.

After all of these experiences, one begins to ask “can I be authentic and code-switch?” Yes, you can. Code-switching is a way of addressing your audience. We do not speak to our children the same way we do colleagues at work. You do not say or speak the same way to your elders as you do your friends. We must not look at code-switching as being completely negative unless you are not being true to yourself.

We have to get to a place where we are comfortable in our own skin and learn to be authentic in our own presence. You do not have to apologize or be ashamed of your upbringing, background, or experiences. Everyone is a product of those things. We all have our own story and journey. Simply, just be yourself!

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“Game On Business Talk” with Dr. D. Anthony Miles

There is a problem in companies with bad management and practices. Bad management practices affects the profitability of a company. We discuss why bad management happens and the repercussions of those bad practices. Click the button below to listen to the entire Podcast.

Bad Management Practices in Companies

by Dr. D. Anthony Miles | "Game On Business Talk"

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