CategoryGuest Bloggers

#BlackBlogsMatter Bonus: 365 Days of Diversity

While Black History Month has ended, the #BlackBlogsMatter challenge has not. The Weekly Flavor of the #BlackBlogsMatter challenge will continue for 11 more weeks.

In addition to my own writings, I will be incorporating some guest posts and round-ups on topics into the lineup to continue efforts to center the voices of Women and People of Color. 

Today’s post is from Dr. Kimya Dennis. Her bio below speaks for itself. She is a long-time friend, Soror and strong, unrelenting voice for diversity and inclusion. 

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Most often, diversity, inclusivity, and multiculturalism are catch words for “kumbaya”

Many people pretend life is a 1970s Coca-Cola commercial in which everyone’s common denominator is “buy the world a Coke”

An item on society’s “to do list” is racial diversity/inclusivity training/workshop

This training/workshop puts people in a room and expects most people to be soft spoken, cordial, polite, and well behaved. People are essentially told to play the Diversity Game and to pretend minds will be changed and it will not be “business as usual” for most people after they complete the training/workshop.

That is how white people (the power dominant group which  includes all cultures and ethnicities around the world that racially identify as “white”) are told to be polite and non-offensive to non-whites. Even avoid those “hilariously fun” race jokes.

Through this, whites learn to wait until there is a racial threat—which happens routinely and especially during social shifts, economic shifts, and political shifts. Whites learn to wait until their power, privilege, and status are threatened.

Whites learn to focus on covert, less obvious expressions of prejudice and discrimination. Covert is encouraged until overt is allowed in certain environments (e.g., “you will not replace us” in Charlottesville, VA was just a result of lovingly polite white men who innocently appreciate freedom of speech).

Robert K. Merton’s typology of prejudice and discrimination illustrates how people can be prejudiced (or unprejudiced) and be discriminatory (or nondiscriminatory). This is important because it addresses variance across contexts, power dynamics, and decision making.

Grasping context, power dynamics, and decision making is important. It also explains why I am not in favor of most racial diversity/inclusivity training/workshop in which people (perhaps most of whom have, at the minimum, high school education) tend to be told to get in a room and do the following:

  1. Pretend they do not know anything about racial and ethnic identity, racial and ethnic relationships, and need to be taught (in one training/workshop) everything
  2. Pretend they do not have daily Internet access (Internet has existed for a few days (sarcasm)) and have no idea to access (factual) information about racial and ethnic identities and racial and ethnic relations
  3. Pretend they do not normally use the Internet to find stuff when they care enough to find it
  4. Pretend they do not exist in environments in which they could have almost daily discussions about social issues and tough topics. This includes ruffling feathers, disagreements and debates, and sometimes people being angry with each other. That’s the purpose of challenging ourselves and challenging each other to learn new things, and learn what we previously believed is incorrect, rather than waiting to be summoned into a diversity/inclusivity training/workshop

Here’s an example of how I engage in almost daily discussions and debates to give people fewer excuses for lazily waiting for a diversity/inclusivity training/workshop:

I discuss the creation and continuation of “colorblind racism” (Racism without Racists). For instance, some whites will swear up and down that they saw a diverse representation at Parkland, Florida shooting protests. These whites will claim not to have a way to use Internet search engines to learn Parkland, Florida is middle-upper-socioeconomic status and more than 70% white including white Hispanic.

Being held to a high standard and challenged to learn is shocking to many whites. Racial power dominance allows many whites (both liberals and conservatives) to claim colorblindness, racial objectivity, and racial neutrality. Pretending to be colorblind, objective, and neutral helps whites to accuse non-whites, particularly African-Americans, of “blacksplaining” and making every topic about race. This is furthered when whites claim non-whites, particularly African-Americans, are “the real racists” and “the real reason” for racism.

I believe in 365 Days of Diversity. The same way Black history is 365 days, more than a month, diversity is a daily process not relegated to training/workshop. We have 365 days to dialogue, learn and challenge ourselves and each other.

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Dr. Kimya N. Dennis does multidisciplinary community outreach, teaching, research, and consulting to address mental health, suicide and suicidal self-harm, criminal justice processes, childfree-by-choice, and reproductive freedom. This work reaches general population with emphasis on disadvantaged and under-serviced populations. Contact Kimya at kimya@kimyandennis.com

I’m Bringing Decking Back – The Return of the Christmas Classics Series

I love Christmas movies.

The joy of the simple, feel-good stories and the sweet nostalgia of watching the same shows and movies year after year just can’t be beat.

For the few years on this blog, I dedicated several posts in December to Christmas classic movies.  Each posts was full of fun, practical inspiration from me and an amazing line-up of guest contributors.

So I decided to revive my Holiday Classics Series with 3 fresh, new posts this year. The fun will start on December 19th.

Until then, relive the magic of yesteryear by reading these throwbacks:

Deck the halls, yo! It’s the most wonderful time of the year

 

Happy #TKDay!! Cuz We All Need a Tiffany

March 15th is Tiffany Keuhl‘s birthday … so the BlogFFs decided to embarrass celebrate her with posts across our collective social media.

I met Tiffany on Twitter about 4 years ago when she retweeted something I posted. Soon after, I followed her back on Twitter … then we connected on LinkedIn … then Facebook … then we exchanged phone numbers and began talking/texting.

And now I cannot imagine my world without her.

Tiffany is a great friend. When she rocks with you, she rocks with you. You don’t have to wonder how she feels about you because she tells you. You don’t have to worry if she’ll be there when you need her because when you look over your shoulder, she’s already there. Through every victory I’ve had and every loss I’ve suffered since we became friends, she has been a consistent source of encouragement and support.

Tiffany is an amazing HR professional. There a few people who know more about the world of HR and are willing to share without hesitation or expectation than my Tiffers. She “gets” that sharing information with others doesn’t diminish her value, worth or importance. She “gets” that helping others makes her and our profession better.

Tiffany is a networking savant. Tiffany knows everybody! And she knows somebody who knows somebody. She is intentional about being current and connected to other professionals. In every conference or seminar or meeting she attends, you will see her on the move, shaking hands and taking photos and exchanging information and making introductions and getting to know people. She soaks it all up like a sponge — then she squeezes it out by connecting those connections to the rest of us.

Tiffany is a loving family woman. She is married to another HR pro — and they have a beautiful son. She is a daughter and a sister and an aunt and a cousin. She loves her family and is as dedicated to them as she is to her friends and her career.

Tiffany is fun, funny and fun-loving. Our conversations (although mostly by text these days because our schedules are unnaturally hectic) are always hilarious. You will find her on Instagram out-and-about in great places with great people having a great time. Even when she’s down, she’s never out of encouraging words or positive perspective.

Turnup with us for #TKDay online … cuz we all need more people like her in our lives. And when we have them, we should absolutely celebrate them.

Happy Birthday, Tiffers!!

Bunches of love      ~ Buzzarooney

 

TKDay - Tiffany Kuehl

All is Not as it Seems: HR Lessons from Christmas in Connecticut

One of the movies I most look forward to watching each year is Christmas in Connecticut starring Barbara Stanwyck. It’s more romantic comedy than HR How To, but there are a few potential lessons.

 

barbara stanwyck

A Quick(ish) Summary

Elizabeth Lane writes a popular column for a women’s magazine describing her idyllic life as a homemaker on a picturesque farm with her husband and young son. Unlike the perfect homemaker image she portrays, in real life she is single, lives in a small apartment in NYC, and can’t cook. The recipes she writes about come from a friend who owns a restaurant and her descriptions of the farm are based on one owned by John, a successful architect whom she has repeatedly turned down for marriage. When her publisher invites himself and a war hero to her farm for Christmas, she knows he will learn the truth and she’ll lose her job. Desperate, she agrees to marry John and host Christmas at the farm. But, before they can be married by a local Judge, the guests arrive and chaos ensues as they try to hold the farce together.

Lessons?

 

  1. There’s a reason for checking references and verifying credentials. This is too obvious not to mention. It’s never revealed how she got the job but, because of her popularity, it would have cost the magazine considerable embarrassment and credibility if anyone discovered the truth.

 

  1. Job requirements are a filter, not a guarantee. Deception aside, she was very successful because her skill as a writer and imaginative detail overshadowed her inexperience as a homemaker. I don’t condone deception, but it does raise an important issue.

 

Job requirements are an easy way to identify and separate out the people most likely to be successful at a job. But in many cases, the “requirements” are just a best guess or even arbitrary and don’t truly have much to do with job performance (I’ll spare you my rants about college degrees or personality profiles). Too often, meeting all the requirements does not guarantee a person will be successful in the job while rejecting many who might be high performers.

 

Do any of your job requirements unnecessarily screen out people who might otherwise be fantastic? It’s easy to see if those hired are successful, but hard to tell which of those eliminated might otherwise have been successful. So, how do you know?

 

  1. The best ideas are those useful to you. She had zero expertise with anything she wrote about yet her readers revered her as the ideal they aspired to be. She didn’t have the credentials but she made the information useful to her readers.

 

Today, there is a lot of HR content pumped into the interwebz. Some is good, some sounds good, and some is just noise. Too much is positioned as cutting edge, aspirational HR Truth-with-a-capital-T when there is no one-size-fits-all. Different people and different situations are, well, different, and what works for one person in one situation might be an ugly fail in another. We all need to be discerning in deciding if something is true, useful, and could work in our particular situation. Caveat emptor.

 

 

  1. Connection with customers is crucial. When one column mentioned she was looking for a specific type of rocking chair, 40 readers purchased and shipped chairs to her as a gift. That’s connection.

 

What kind of connection does your HR team have with employees and managers? Are they raving fans, indifferent, or openly hostile? If HR was about to be outsourced, would employees fight to keep your team or cheer?

 

 

  1. Performance trumps. (Spoiler!) The publisher fired her for dishonesty and hired her back at double her pay when he realized he lost one of his most popular writers. It’s a reminder that, right or wrong, people who excel are often given a degree of latitude the average person never experiences.

 

Has your HR department created enough credibility and results to be given the benefit of the doubt and be listened to even when your advice or actions run counter to what leadership wants to do?

 

 

  1. Your choice. Watch the movie and let me know your biggest takeaways.

 

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This post was written by Broc Edwards. Broc is a speaker and blogger on business, HR, and learning and development topics and has published the book “What Thinks You? A Fool’s Eye View of Human Resources”. Connect with him on Twitter @brocedwards or his website or blog fool (with a plan).

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