Equity: It’s Just Not That Hard

July 1, 2020

Why do most leaders believe that it IS hard to create equality within their companies? Maybe because it takes effort for someone in the majority to imagine what it must be like to be Other.

Equity: It’s Just Not That Hard

Why do most leaders believe that it IS hard to create equality within their companies? Maybe because it takes effort for someone in the majority to imagine what it must be like to be Other, someone who is not granted power by accident of birth. Why would they see power as a zero-sum game rather than something that is expansive enough to make room for all?

Sometimes I think it boils down to a profound lack of curiosity and knowledge. Do traditional (sic. white, male, Christian) leaders study history or different cultures or minority experiences? What is on their bookshelves? What movies do they watch? What neighborhoods do they live in or go out to eat in? How do they travel? Who are their closest friends? How many languages do they speak? What are their deeply held beliefs about equality?

Many choose to live inside comfortable bubbles. But do you know who doesn’t live inside of a bubble because they can’t? Women and people of color. Every day they walk into work which is based on white, male norms. They must become bicultural and bilingual. They must shape shift into the predominant norms and leave the rest of their beings at home. How many leaders do the same thing? How many leaders know enough about Others to be fluent in their cultural norms? How many are curious enough to learn these new languages? Another way to think about inequality in the workplace is that Others must always adapt; while those in power don’t.

The moral of the story: Change is so overdue; which is a gross understatement. As we used to say in the 60’s: If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.