Diversity Is More Than A Talking Point

HR spends a lot of time (or at least should spend a lot of time) discussing diversity. This happens in part because we’re supposed to, in part because it makes good business sense…but mostly HR should be talking about diversity because it is the right thing to do.

But sometimes doing the right thing is difficult.

Losing Friends
Many years ago friends would come over for an evening to visit. Our time together was usually fun…except when the husband would make a subtle racist comment here or there.

Damn. Why did he have to do that? It was an awkward position to find myself in because his wife was a long time friend of my wife; and, one of my absolute hottest hot buttons is racism. (I give my parents full credit for raising me in a way that finds racism absolutely reprehensible, and I thank them for it.)

Put Up or Shut Up
What came next was impossible to avoid. He opened his mouth, the racist comments came out, and I called him on it. It was obvious this was the beginning of the end of that “friendship.” That’s okay, because to be quite candid, people who are racist, harbor racist feelings, or choose to believe people are better or worse based on the color of their skin are not friends of mine. Nor will they ever be.

HR Needs to Call People Out
One of the privileges and joys of my work is that I can effectively use my authority to get rid of the blatantly racist people who work where I do. Yes, we are entitled to our opinions in this country; but once that “opinion” infringes on the rights of another employee it is HR’s responsibility to do the right thing.

How About You
What do you do when confronted with racism in the workplace? Do you speak up and hold the bigots accountable? Or, is it easier to fall back into that nervous laughter that is so often heard when the narrow-minded souls among us believe they are being funny.

I’d love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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