I hate the term “diversity hire.” It’s a terrible way to describe “non-white male.”
But then, there’a bunch of terms that don’t thrill me when it comes to advancing diversity. “POC” (people of color) is one of them. Lumping together so many different groups of people whose only commonality is that they are not white doesn’t make much sense to me. Many Black individuals feel the same about “POC.” That’s how we ended up with the allegedly more woke term “BIPOC,” which separates out, but still includes, Black and Indigenous people.
Similarly, LGBT has morphed into LGBTQ, which has morphed into LGBTQ+ — but then there is also LGBTQIA and numerous other acronyms meant to convey inclusion.
The irony is that when you include practically everyone in a single banner, the banner no longer holds real relevance. And I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to be a plus sign.
The above acronyms undoubtedly entered our lexicon through the best of intentions. But they are nonetheless problematic. This one-size-fits-all approach fails to account for key differences between people. For example, the experiences of Black people are not the same as Indian- or Asian-Americans. Terms like BIPOC risk erasing, or at least diluting, important distinctions.
What’s the solution? I don’t know. We’re not there yet. But I do know that discussing these issues openly and candidly and respectfully is the path toward the answer. Cancel culture can often make that tough, though.
I’d love to cancel cancel culture in the coming year.
Meanwhile, here are top ERE diversity hiring articles from 2021: