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You can't erase anti-racism from DEI
I’m republishing some of my social media content - this was posted on LinkedIn earlier this year.
When something happens, my natural inclination in many cases is to reach out and try to bridge gaps in understanding. Not everyone responds - that’s their call. And sometimes I wonder if I should have done it at all. I’m still wondering about the most recent example…
I reached out over the recent “DEI is not just about race” debacle for two reasons:
1. That statement seemed out of step with what I knew of the person who said it. (Others have had VERY different experiences, I’ve since learned.)
2. I hoped to help her see what she was clearly missing about the post and her subsequent comments.
While DEI looks after all the isms, the way that post was phrased felt like a weapon that attempted to exclude the necessary foundation of anti-racism from DEI. (Yes, necessary. Yes, foundation.) We all know when you address racism and anti-Blackness with policies and actions, ALL other groups who face isms benefit. That is a fact. DEI wouldn’t even be a thing without attempts to deal with racism in the Civil Rights Movement.
As I pointed out, whatever the original intention of her post, the impact was harm, compounded by insulting the Black women who took a different view. More harm, in other words. That was not ok.
By the end of our discussion, the harmful impact had been acknowledged, at least to me. My final message suggested that a public apology was in order, though whether it would be enough at this point was doubtful.
Sadly, somewhere in there, the post was deleted and the account was deactivated. That’s disappointing, but also familiar.
We all mess up. When we do we must hold our hands up, apologise and attempt repair. If we choose not to, then that says something too.
P.S. After I drafted this, someone else came with the same BS (no, I’m not linking to it). This in a few days where:
- Queen Angela Bassett was ignored, then slated for not fixing her face for the white gaze
- Posts celebrating Ms Bassett’s body of work were attacked by people spouting racism and misogynoir (see Lisa Hurley’s recent post on this)
- A major leadership organisation failed to make it right with the Black and Global Majority members it’s been failing
- A WSJ journalist tried to blame the SVB banking debacle on diversity
- It’s white women’s Equal Pay Day (Black, Indigenous and Latine women will be waiting till MUCH later in the year)
Please make it stop. We are TIRED!
And you can’t erase dealing with racism and anti-Blackness from DEI.