5 Rules for White Guys Talking About Diversity…

Capitalist Note – Rerun for MLK day.  Topic: White Guys engaging on their beliefs related to diversity in the world of work. Hashtag: #complicated…

Full disclosure – I’m a white guy. 

There’s lots of angry white guys out there who feel that all “this diversity talk” has made them a protected class. I’m not one of those, but I’m interested in the dialog.

First, let’s take a look at the video below of Matt Damon attempting to tell a diverse group what diversity is and is not (email subscribers click through for the video):

Here’s the money quote from Jason Bourne: “When we talk about diversity — you do it in the casting of the movie, not in the casting of the show,” he said, insisting that the selection of directors must be based on merit.


With that in mind, here’s my 5 Rules for White Guys Talking About Diversity:

1. Never talk about what diversity is or is not. You have good intent, I know. Nobody cares.

2. Never talk about the need for raw talent to supersede the need for diversity. This happens without you pointing it out. All the times you think a quota hire robbed someone of a job they deserved are blown away by the numbers on the other side – when someone hires a person they’re comfortable with. You know, the one who looks like them.

3. Never say the words token or quota when referring to a hire. Doesn’t matter the intent, these words will be viewed as code for what’s really going on in your mind. You’re deeper than that.

4. Don’t brag about the diverse hire you made. Let people figure it out. You get less credit if you talk about it. Be bigger than that. 

5. Don’t talk about diverse candidates in special terms to the influencers in your process who are interviewing. You think you’re helping, but you’re actually not.

Actions, not words is probably the appropriate wrap up of this post.

Oh, and stop telling people you have Drake in your Pandora rotation. If you’re a Nirvana guy, just own it.

This post originally appeared on The HR Capitalist
Author: Kris Dunn