June 7, 2009

Guess what? The more color-blind a group or organization or corporation claims to be – the more racial bias minority employees experience. So says research from Plaut, Thomas, and Goren. (“Is Multiculturalism or Color Blindness Better for Minorities,” Psychological Science, 20 (4), 2009).

Check out the article “Color Blindness Is Shortsighted” in summer 2009 issue of Stanford Social Innovation Review. Ignoring things — like race / ethnicity, gender, age, etc. — doesn’t make things better or more equitable. Instead, “color blindness cloaks dfference like the emperor’s new clothes: Everyone can see that race and ethnicity influence people, but no one can talk about it.”

Ignoring issues or differences or conflicts just doesn’t help. Recognizing and talking about issues does help. Feeling sufficiently comfortable and respected and welcome to raise issues … talk about the tough stuff … makes a difference. Acknowledging and celebrating differences … not blindness … works.

(Why is this a Pet Peeve, you wonder? Because I’m tired of “blindness,” which I see as code for avoiding and ignoring.”

Filed under: Leadership


About Simone Joyaux

A consultant specializing in fund development, strategic planning, and board development, Simone P. Joyaux works with all types and sizes of nonprofits, speaks at conferences worldwide, and teaches in the graduate program for philanthropy at Saint Mary’s University, MN. Her books, Keep Your Donors and Strategic Fund Development, are standards in the field.

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