Diversity statement

In a meeting earlier today working on the job description for a Chief Information Officer, the topic of a diversity statement came up. This will be a true rant against the whole concept of diversity statements. The whole concept of a diversity statement, is that a individual could put on a piece of paper their beliefs about diversity, Let’s talk about something that is truly impossible. If a individual can make a statement on a piece of paper that makes me believe they hold a true belief and diversity I would probably have a heart attack. Diversity is not something you put on a piece of paper, but the belief in diversity truly comes from an individual action year after year, not the everyday actions but the true actions that come out of people when they are under pressure or an uncomfortable situation. I.e. when your daughter comes in with the boyfriend of another race or when your daughter walks into the house with her girl friend, it is at peace points in time in life one can really tell how diverse they are. It’s not if you say the first thing that comes to your mind it’s the ability to stop and think and consider the ramifications of your thoughts and words.

One of my major disagreements with the concept of the diversity statement is that most individuals do not truly get the concept of diversity, I am a black man who was born in the early 60s in New York City, I grew up in different low-income areas throughout New York and New Jersey until I was about 13 years old, in my seventh grade year the population of my middle school (William J. Hart middle school East Orange New Jersey) was 90% black and 9% Hispanic I switched schools in my eighth grade year where the population of my middle school (Maplewood middle school Maplewood New Jersey ) was 95% Caucasian, 3% black and others. I spent the next five years an a area mostly populated by Italian and Jewish people, I went to a College (Western Carolina University Cullowhee North Carolina) that was about 96% Caucasian, 2 1/2% black and others.I spent my summers in the projects of New York city, (Johnson projects) for those of you who are aware.
 
I hold a true belief that we should always higher the most qualified candidate at all times, that all organizations should be flexible enough to deal with any cultural differences. It never seems to fail people always talk about diversity with serious caveats about hiring people that fit into the institutional culture. This logic of a person fitting in to a culture in diversity is a true oxymoron. For example If you do not hold a true respect of government cheese and lunch is being served at the elementary school during the summer. Me and you are not really from the same culture and I would truly even wonder if we were from the same planet. But at no point in time should that affect my decision about hiring a person for a job. The decision to hire or not hire person should always be 100% based on qualifications to do the job. You always seem to get the same statement from people at meetings, it is absolutely necessary for a person to fit into the culture of the organization to ensure a smooth transition. This statement always seems to come from a person, who fits into the culture of the organization, who can write a beautiful diversity statement with lots of flowery words.

My overall take would be to get rid of the concept of a diversity statement, begin to judge people on their actions over time, and have institutions begin hiring the most qualified individual for all open positions, if we hire the most qualified individual for all open positions, and not worry about if they fit into the culture of the institution, the concept of a diversity statement becomes null and void.

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