SEPTEMBER 12, 2023

DEIB Practitioners Have An Opportunity To Be Cultural Connectors

Too much of our current DEIB work separates people into groups.

Yes, strategies such as Employee Resource Groups are helpful to individuals who can’t find support elsewhere. Yes, when there’s healing to be done, People of Color need separation, a space where we can be more of ourselves and say what we really think.

Having these divided spaces has allowed many People of Color to break through the need to code switch, shrink, or avoid. In some cases, People of Color came together with a collective mind and our White allies found their role in helping us, and how to walk in it.

But now, with the weaponization of DEIB and accusations that DEIB divides people, it’s time to create spaces where people in the dominant culture no longer see DEIB as exclusionary, or “a way to put me in my place.”

Like it or not, we find ourselves here, in this cultural moment where the pendulum is swinging back.

DEIB can not survive if we’ve got White people on one island and People of Color on another.

If we are going to move from opposite sides of the table to the same side, DEIB practitioners have a huge role to play. In fact, we’re the ones who can make this happen.

We have an opportunity to be cultural connectors.

We just have to remember that we all want the same thing. It’s not you against me, but you and me against the problem.

We have to let go of fear and anger because like it or not, we all live together in this society.

We know that Black people have been trying to express that they don’t feel safe. If you listen, White people are now saying the same thing.

Let’s recognize that we all want to feel safe in this process.

We all want a voice and to be heard.

We all want to be included.

It’s going to take each and every one of us to create change. White people have to stop being bystanders to bad behavior by members of their own community, and Black people have to speak up and call out unwanted behavior and set expectations.

I often say that the change must come from the dominant culture, but White people (especially White men) won’t do that if they don’t feel safe. One group can’t do it all.

I truly believe our nation depends on us. We need to become more diverse, inclusive, and equitable, and the workplace is the only space where we all have to go every day.

If people don’t feel that they belong, they’ll continue quitting, the economy will continue to suffer, relationships suffer, and people suffer.

If you want to discuss how you can become a cultural connector, check out our DEIB Bootcamp.