Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) processes have been around since the 1960s when the Equality Pay act was established in 1963. In 1964, former President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law. In 1967, discrimination against older employees (age discrimination) became law. Yet, structural, and systemic racism persist even in today’s “woke society”. In 2008, when former President Barack Obama was elected, many believed change was afoot and all would be well. However, that was not the case. Those who harbored feelings of hate and prejudice contributed to the chaos of animus, dissonance, and violence. Then in May of 2020, Mr. George Floyd was murdered. During this discord, Covid-19 became a part of our lives whether at work, play, or anything else. The pandemic sheltered most of the Country in place. Within this window of time, DEI endeavors were becoming relevant, not simply an acronym or generic words.
“The constructs of age, gender, and race are challenging. Belonging and inclusion oﬀer the first foundation of best practices and standards. Diversity and equity are essential to creating productive teams and getting the best out of life.”
Between 2019 and present day, organizations hired more chief diversity officers (CDOs) than they had in previous decades. In three short years, those same organizations who rushed to hire CDOs are now shredding CDOs at a double-digit percentage, (Alfonseca, & Zahn, 2023). The decline in CDOs and real inclusion change were due to several factors including an unstable economy, a lack of focus on DEI, and the race and sometimes the gender of CDOs. These and other eﬀorts have resulted in a decline in DEI practices. First, most of us have a short attention span. Secondly, conversations about race are particularly uncomfortable. And finally, DEI is tough. It is more than chief diversity officers. It is more than superficial activities. It is more than the C-Suite leaders. Unpacking DEI requires us to put the emphasis on the recently added belonging and creating policies to ensure belonging is immediately connected to inclusion, and diversity is connected to equity.
Thus, BI + DE ©. The constructs of age, gender, and race are challenging. Belonging and inclusion oﬀer the first foundation of best practices and standards. Diversity and equity are essential to creating productive teams and getting the best out of life. In this Blog, I introduce BI + DE. If we understand and apply the concepts of BI + DE, we have the best chance at achieving better outcomes, better productivity, and better teams. BI + DE asks us to see each other rather than generic interactions that leave us disengaged and distant. In our distracted lives, we rarely see each other. When someone asks us how we are, we respond with the classic “I am fine or “fine”. Often, the response is an oﬀ the cuﬀ response with limited thought on the behalf of the speaker and the listener. To see each other, we need to actually engage with each other and not just a casual glance in a meeting or as we pass each other at the water cooler.
Everyone is busy. We are distracted. Time is ﬂeeting. However, if we want a better and more harmonious world, we must belong (belonging), we must be included (inclusion), we must be seen (diversity) and we must have the same opportunities as everyone else (equity). If you belong, you are included. Diversity makes equity possible.
Contact the Campus Consortium Foundation about BI + DE workshops that can show your teams how to apply BI + DE at work, at home, and at play. (email@example.com).
Alfonseca, K., & Zahn, M. (2023). How corporate America is slashing DEI workers amid backlash to diversity programs. https://abcnews.go.com/US/corporate-america-slashing-dei-workers- amid-backlash-diversity/story?id=100477952
Dr. Rochelle Newton, Ph.D.
Published on: August 2, 2023