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  • Krischanna Roberson

Diversity vs. Racial Inclusion

There is a significant difference between diversity and racial inclusion.  If you are a small or large organization, questions you should consider are, How do I and leadership define diversity and racial inclusion? AND which of these (perhaps both) do we have policies and practices in place for? AND how do you know?  


If your organization is considering how to move forward with understanding and alignment around racial inclusion then read on…..


A study was recently completed by the McKinsey Global Institute to investigate employee diversity being associated with better business results. Diversity Matters, is a study that included 366 public companies from different countries.  There were 2 key findings:

  1. Gender-diverse companies are more likely to perform 15% better

  2. Ethnically-diverse companies are more likely to perform 35% better

Interesting… Organizations can gain better business results if they are gender and ethnically diverse.  But why is ethnically diverse used instead of racially diverse, because its easier to talk about ethnicity and/or culture plus its fluid, it can change, race can not AND is much harder to talk about. Great study and good facts that lend to the importance of the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion.


Which brings me back to my original point.  What is the difference between diversity and racial inclusion?  The 2 key findings in this study help to define the terms (a little).


Diversity at its basic definition is…every human on the planet.  Each of us is made up of a different molecular structure, hence diversity.  However factoring in how we operate as humans lend an additional level to our diversity with things such as gender, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economics, culture, etc.  Every organization already has this in place.


Racial Inclusion is a bit more nuanced because we must break down each word to get a clear understanding.  First, one must understand that race is a socially constructed force that has the proven power and ability to prohibit, discriminate, and exclude based on skin color and/or physical attributes.  Second, White people are used as the standard for what is right and the norm for race.  I must digress if you are having some issues with this.  Please take a listen to Dr. Robin, DeAngelo, a White woman who said as Whites, “We live a very insular experience. We have rarely ever been challenged in our racial worldview. We move through a society in which racial inequality is the very bedrock in racial comfort as white people and we are rarely ever out of our racial comfort zones.”


OK where was I…. Third Inclusion is belonging.  The challenge with Racial Inclusion is that people have to get to a place of educating themselves on their beliefs, biases, and ideas in regards to their race and the race of others.  This my friends is the hard part.  For inclusion to happen, we must individually interrogate, dismantle, and develop our understanding around the good, bad, and fearful ideals that are upheld about race.   


Organizations that are on the path of trying to get “equitized” by following a list of practices or polices without working to create graceful learning spaces for EVERY employee to deepen their understanding around self, is just putting a bandaid on a bullet hole.  To be better we all must do better, and to be better we have to first develop ourselves around this very contentious and hard subject of race. 


If you're ready and want to begin the process of creating a comprehensive approach for developing an inclusive mindset, knowing that diversity already exists in your organization then lets Collabovate.


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Krischanna Roberson is an extraordinary leader who inspires and models’ racial equity transformation. She is a proud native New Yorker who hails from Brooklyn and is a mother of two young adults who