You cannot Diversify your way to Equity and Inclusion

“Believe Black women.”
“Listen to the stories of Black, Brown, Indigenous, and other People of Color.”
“Follow these accounts on social media…”
“Make sure you hire diverse people.”
“Use inclusive language.”
“Support BIPOC.”

This is often the advice tossed at folks who either want to be helpful allies, slipped up making an attempt at following social justice ‘trends,’ or are somehow completely clueless how to be decent human beings.

Though this advice is well intentioned and actually following it can move you in the direction toward justice, it’s often ineffective.

And the reason why is because most people believe that once they check off the boxes of the list of the above advice, that’s it.

Inequality is done and dusted! No more racism! Yay!!!

But nothing is that simple. And specifically, THIS is not at all simple.

Dropping folks of color into your life, work, and other activities is NOT AT ALL how you create inclusion, and it surely is not going to move us toward equity.

It will, of course, make everything you experience more colorful. And that’s a great start.

But that awareness and exposure will break down exactly zero systems of oppression unless you have the skills to interact with the depth and breadth of the actual experiences of those human beings different from yourself.

Current systems and cultures of domination can be traced back to white supremacy.

One of the ways to start down the road of “Doing The Work” is to apply the first step of my 4-Step Framework for Body Liberation: Education. Because you cannot fight back against a system you neither know nor understand, you first have to learn what it is you’re up against.

And when we’re talking about creating diversity, equity, and inclusion, we’re actually talking about breaking down the very systems that make things exclusive, inequitable, and homogeneous.

Regardless of the oppression, be it sexism, forced heteronormativity, classism, ableism, racism, or any of the other systems and cultures of domination, they tend to be rooted in white supremacy.

Now here is where many people jump in and insert some sort of comment around how that is an unfair generalization or oversimplified or even that white people suffer these things as well. And, yeah, so much of that is correct. However, without a broader understanding of what white supremacy actually looks like, because it’s so much deeper than the belief that white people are better than people of color, it’s difficult to see how it is woven into every other system of beliefs and values that oppress people.

An easily accessible resource that can help connect these dots for you is “White Supremacy Culture” by Kenneth Jones and Tema Okun. It’s an excerpt from a longer text that, “is a list of characteristics of white supremacy culture which show up in our organizations.”

The resource is freely available online and you can access and read it any time you’d like. But if you’re looking for accountability as well as space to process your thoughts, questions, and feelings around the text, then I’m offering a community-based container for exactly this purpose called the Fat Freedom Group Read.

You don’t have to wade into the waters of Doing The Work all alone.

We’ll get started with the Group Read on Monday, Apr 10, 2023 with a live discussion call on Friday, April 21 at 12pm Eastern time.

You don’t have to wade into the waters of Doing The Work all alone.

Come join us and we’ll do it together.

Learn more and join in by clicking the button below.

If you are interested in continuing this uncomfortable and messy conversation with me, feel free to join my list below.