Diversity is a hot topic on social media. Depending on who and what you follow, you may have missed everything completely or got flooded with for a couple of weeks now. (Taylor Swift, Matt Damon, League of Legends, SC2 (and many more esports) but you can click on these links for reference about recent events)
So you can look up diversity in the dictionary, but who really uses that these days. Let’s just suffice it to say that whoever you employ in whatever you’re doing, you get a diverse spread that is representational of the reality outside this little world you’re creating. This can really be anywhere; in the regular workplace, in film, also in esports. We’re talking minority races (non-white and non-white-passing), genders (women and non-cisgender) and even sexualities (lgb+) that need more representation. If you do it right, your products, your reviews and influence can go pretty far, but I’m not here to talk about the many benefits of diversity.
Defending lack of diversity
I want to talk about the thing that people somehow learned to say in defence of lackluster diversity; that whoever is best for the job will get the job.
It sounds so idyllic, right? There’s no racism or sexism at hand, the people we see now are simply the best choices. What if indeed, whoever did the hiring, was indeed completely neutral in their hiring. Maybe that person was even convinced of this. I’m definitely not going to claim that I know of anyone that is consciously making sexist and racist decisions. Heck, even people who are actually saying racist and sexist nonsense preface their nonsense by “I’m not a [insert a discrimination category], but…”
Why you shouldn’t defend it
People aren’t aware of their socially inherited prejudices because our society has this normalized to a point where gender* and racial stereotyping are something you experience naturally as part of this world. This isn’t actually your fault. It’s never one person’s fault. It’s just, there. In a lot of cases, subconscious prejudice just happens, whether you consider yourself someone who discriminates or not.
So the reason I have a problem with the defence of “the best person wins” *, is that this is based on normalized racism and sexism. The reason people want diversity, is not just because we want to thwart your experience and get mediocre quality, but to make employers aware that they’re not helping to improve the world we inherited.
Role models are also incredibly important when it comes to minorities. Not looking hard enough to employ in a diverse manner is a missed opportunity for minorities to grow to equal levels of this supposed greatness our non-diverse groups of people are praised with.
I would even argue to just stop defending these organisations that we’re trying to call out on diversity issues, simply because it’s actually their responsibility to get it right, not yours. But, hey, this is the Internet.