Why Welcoming Your Identity But Not Your Ability Can Be a Covert Form of Discrimination [Research Breakdown]

There’s a lot of evidence to show that discrimination of all kinds exists in organisations.

Find out why it’s often hard to identity or intervene.

Here are some key messages from this episode:

  • Why tokenism is so common
  • Why Tokenism undermines inclusive strategies
  • The reason your employee resource groups may be used as a form of tokenism and much much more

Play the episode for more.

Here are some key takeaways from this episode:

Tokenism suggests a lack of Diversity & Inclusion

“I’ve heard of examples where an individual is “invited” to participate in special events or initiatives when they may not hold the necessary expertise. These tend to be high profile events and their involvement served to increase the credibility of the initiative by portraying a culture that embraces diversity. The need for such practices suggests the opposite and actually undermines inclusive strategies “

Tokenism can mean Unnecessary Help

“In these scenarios, their training and competencies are disregarded and unnecessary support is provided because of prejudice about them being ethnic rather than professional. This legitimises the ethnicity of the individual but delegitimises their professional competencies”

Employee Resource Groups can be Tokens

Organisations can start to claim that they are inclusive because their website shows employee resource groups or they wheel them out during International Women’s Day or Inclusion Week. Under these circumstances, the abilities of these individuals is not welcome, it’s their identity that is favoured and this is a problem. That’s one of the many reasons why having an effective employee resource really matters. Resource groups should be aware that they may be used as tokens, especially if they are perceived to be ineffective”

Here are some selected links to for the resources and reports I discuss in the episode.

Here are some resources so you can go deeper: 

Professor Koen Van Lear

Professor Maddy Janssens

Ethnic minority professionals’ experiences with subtle discrimination in the workplace

Check out these related episodes of the show.

Covert Discrimination Part 1: Garlic Bread & The Normalising Gaze

Covert Discrimination Part 2: Qualified Compliments & Masked Prejudice

Whenever you’re ready, there are a few ways I can support your Inclusion Journey:

The Elements of Inclusion #4

Leaders must collaborate innovatively to leverage cultural expertise and drive business performance.

  • Why inclusive outcomes are driven by innovation
  • How developing a business case for diversity and inclusion specific to your organisation is a competitive advantage
  • Why novelty is at the heart of your inclusion journey

The Elements of Inclusion #3

Leaders must establish systems to ensure that everyone shares the same advantages and benefits. These processes will create incentives for inclusive behaviours.

  • How to augment your team with the tools and insights they need to prevent structural disadvantage
  • Why reinforcing generative norms ensures everyone belongs in the organisation
  • How inclusive representations can be embedded to promote an inclusive culture

The Elements of Inclusion #2

Leaders must redefine career development relationships to support inclusive performance.
  • Why traditional mentor relationships must be revised for an inclusive workplace
  • How leaders must embrace networks of developmental relationships for individual growth
  • Why established workplace norms must evolve for inclusion in the modern workplace

The Elements of Inclusion #1

Leaders must properly socialise people and socialise inclusive ideas by providing an environment for the cultural learning needed for an active role in an inclusive organisation

  • How your socialisation processes must evolve to encourage the sustainable cultivation of inclusive competencies
  • Why Leaders must consistently negotiate the line between organisational commitment and personal authenticity to promote performance
  • How developing intersectional self awareness can help leaders to leverage individual employee experiences