A coworker was asked this at the office. He asked for my $.02, and I gave it.
Diversity and inclusion means two things to me. First, there’s the meaning given by your intended use of the question. To that, diversity is the highest virtue man can strive for. It is the accumulation of wisdom that is acquired when men and women from all over work together and share a unique perspective. It enables problem solving and unlocks other qualities like compassion and our own ability to relate and enjoy others.
Then there is the more literal question – what does it mean to me?
Diversity to me is a political advertisement. It’s something we promise to do, because it is the right thing to do according to loud people on Twitter. It’s these loud people on Twitter that we as a company have become slaves to. They hold so much power over us, not because they are a pillar of morality which gives them a rational right to judge us, but because we do change our behavior when they call on us. We are afraid of what Twitter users will call us if we don’t say the right things.
Right now, the blue check marks are calling for diversity. Of course, we know what diversity means. It means black people mostly, some Asians, and women. It means “less white-male-y”. To encourage diverse thought would be to encourage debate and differing opinions, such as this speech. But that’s not what we’re calling for. We can’t deliver this speech to a corporate audience. This speech presents an idea that is diverse.
What is that idea?
That diversity, as we’ve been handed, is just branding. It’s not about caring for other individuals. What, did we not care about the white people that used to fill these positions? Of course not. The company doesn’t care about you either. You are just as replaceable as the white man of the 80s. More so actually. There’s lots of labor available in the market, especially if we add more diversity through our contractors and employees in cheaper nations.
Our company has an image problem. We’re “old-school”. We’re “white”.
We’re not worse people than Elon and his engineers at Tesla who are “working to save the world”. We’re the exact same. We’re hard working individuals trying to find happiness on this planet. However, Elon and his company market themselves as saviors of the world, and our company chooses to belittle us and deny its nature as a profit machine.
Diversity is the same as “green” and “great place to work”. It’s just an advertisement to Twitter checkmarks.
I’m not against diversity. I’m against dishonesty. And honestly, I think the whole diversity kick exploits less expensive labor and makes us look good to lunatic Twitter accounts with 10,000 followers who will shriek if we don’t have an executive staff that reflects what that twitter user thinks it should look like which will become a public relations thing.
The irony in all this is that there is a right answer to the question “What does diversity mean to you?”
Rather than the spirit of the question being a celebration of different viewpoints, it’s just a way to confirm which team you’re on – the side of the corporate advertisement that is diversity, or the side of those that challenge what they’re told, the rebels, the ones that have been made famous throughout history because they had the courage to challenge the establishment.
Real diversity is rebellious. We are all different in every way – why would the answer to this question be any different? Without different answers to this question, we are all the same, no matter what we look like.