Diversity is such a broad topic that includes gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, cultural beliefs, etc. but most people equate diversity to race.
I was talking to a friend of mine last week and on this particular day he sounded like he just needed someone to listen so that is what I did – that’s until we got on the topic of diversity. He told me that his employer just recently implemented their diversity initiative, and he didn’t complete his mandatory training; he said he doesn’t need it because he’s black. His viewpoint is that non-blacks need the training because well, they’re not black. I didn’t get the specifics into what their diversity program consists of, but I do know it includes at least one training course about the topic. What I do know is that he was annoyed that the company not only rolled out this initiative and made it mandatory for him to complete the training, but they also gave out a diversity award to a white male. I asked him what the criteria were to receive the award, but he didn’t know so I suggested that the guy is homosexual and that’s why he got the award.
This exchange made me wonder why most of us believe that we don’t need diversity training when diversity cover things other than race. I also find it interesting that companies that do have a diversity position or department usually hires a person of color into the role. The implication to me is that only a person of color can be hired into a position responsible for the company’s diversity program. Or could it be that Caucasians are not interested in working in positions where the responsibilities are to develop and execute strategies that support the organization’s diversity initiatives?
I’d like to know your thoughts: who needs diversity training? Should people of color be exempt from training because we are diverse by default? Sound off below in the comments.