Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive Disruptor!!!
I’ll never forget the high-profile case of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who murdered 46-year-old George Floyd in 2020.
Along with weeks of worldwide protests, I remember heightened discussions about structural racism and police brutality in the United States. Activists demanded that statues representing oppressive historical figures be torn down or removed. Local bookstores even saw increased book sales on those that discussed racism and other equity issues.
What’s also noteworthy is that many of our corporations beefed up their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, promising to achieve a diverse workforce.
Three years later, many DEI officers hired after the George Floyd tragic murder saw their positions eliminated. Advocates for an ethnically balanced workforce and former DEI officers asked what happened. Did these corporations lack commitment? Weren’t held accountable enough by consumers? Hired inexperienced DEI officers with few resources? Were disingenuous about effecting change? Or all the above?
Hello, I’m Johnicon George Sr., owner of Icon Connects, LLC. Welcome to the Real Social Change Blog.
Last month, journalist and political commentator Roland Martin discussed on his Roland Martin Unfiltered daily broadcast the topic “Corporate Job Cuts Phasing Out Diversity Workers.” He asked his guest, Randi Bryant, a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive disruptor, and his regular panelists their thoughts about what happened with DEI. They, too, remember how the George Floyd murder sparked a corporate movement of equity, especially when it came to Black folks.
Roland referenced an NBC News report that discussed a Society for Human Resources Management survey. The survey stated DEI roles increased by 55 percent after Floyd’s murder. However, at the end of 2022, the attrition rate for DEI roles was 33 percent, compared to 21 percent for non-DEI roles.
Another survey noted was that Black employees represent only 3.8 percent of chief diversity officers overall, with White people making up 76.1 percent of the roles. Hispanic or Latino make up 7.8 percent and Asian 7.7 percent.
Seems like DEI positions within companies were mainly superficial. I recall a Solano County company hired a DEI specialist. The company hired White men in upper management positions and primarily White women in the lower management positions.
The DEI focus should have been directed towards ensuring that, particularly, Black Americans — who have been shut out of every segment in our society — got an equal footing.
Another point the panelists made was the lack of an adequate budget for DEI officers to hire staff, receive training, and other valuable resources to do the work. More importantly, many DEI officers weren’t given power or authority to enact change.
A final point made is that companies often placed DEI in Human Resources. I believe DEI should have its own department within the company’s corporate hierarchy that reports directly to the CEO monthly or quarterly, increasing its power.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion is a 450-year-old set of problems that won’t solve overnight. We’re dealing with generations of ingrained behaviors, attitudes, and fears, requiring committed and passionate DEI disruptors.
Next month, we’ll continue this topic, discussing a DEI disruptor.
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See you next month!