Almost Irresponsible

by Charlene Payne, PRSA Pittsburgh Diversity & Inclusion Chair

“I find it almost irresponsible to not work with a DEI consultant when you are in a pitch or
when you are developing work,” said Frauenglass. “The consultants widened our view.” 

— WSJ, Coffee, Patrick, 9/25/23

This statement deserves two hands up and an “amen!” Unfortunately, there are several organizations that don’t feel this way. Why does it seem so difficult to provide equity to underrepresented populations? We are all responsible for offering a more level playing field to all populations. But for some reason diversity, equity, and inclusion are still prominent pain points.

  • “In employment, names can influence employment opportunities. A Harvard study found job candidates were more likely to get an interview when they “whitened” their name. Only 10% of black candidates got interview offers when their race could be implied by their resume, but 25% got offers when their resumes were whitened. And 21% of Asian candidates got interview offers with whitened resumes, up from 11.5%.” (The Conversation, 2023).
  • The American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom reported 695 attempts to censor library materials and 1,915 unique titles targeted for censorship – a 20% increase since 2022 (an all-time high since ALA’s recording of attempts over 20 years ago). “The vast majority of challenges were to books written by or about a person of color or a member of the LGBTQIA+ community” (American Library Association, 2023).
  • In June 2023, “In a 6–3 ruling,1 the Court held that Harvard and UNC admissions programs, which account for race at various stages in the process, violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (the UNC/Harvard decision)” (U.S. Department of Education, 2023).
  • The Legal Defense Fund is analyzing the Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard and Student for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina decisions and its effect on corporate DEI programs. The management term “glocal,” explains the need for global application and practice with local transformation. (Harvard Business Review, 2022).
  • A Brandeis University study for Economic and Racial Equity found the GI Bill enriched the lives of White Americans far more than Black Americans. This limits the opportunities for Black Americans to socially advance. (The Washington Post, 2022). The Washington Post shares, “Veterans pushed out for being gay are still waiting for VA benefits.”
  • The Business Disability Form stated that “…78% of disabled employees reported having to drive the adjustments process themselves rather than their managers taking the initiative (Forbes Magazine, 2023).

Biases and discrimination is everywhere. The evidence is there. Let’s continue to get the work done!

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