#BlackBlogsMatter Bonus: 365 Days of Diversity

While Black History Month has ended, the #BlackBlogsMatter challenge has not. The Weekly Flavor of the #BlackBlogsMatter challenge will continue for 11 more weeks.

In addition to my own writings, I will be incorporating some guest posts and round-ups on topics into the lineup to continue efforts to center the voices of Women and People of Color. 

Today’s post is from Dr. Kimya Dennis. Her bio below speaks for itself. She is a long-time friend, Soror and strong, unrelenting voice for diversity and inclusion. 


Most often, diversity, inclusivity, and multiculturalism are catch words for “kumbaya”

Many people pretend life is a 1970s Coca-Cola commercial in which everyone’s common denominator is “buy the world a Coke”

An item on society’s “to do list” is racial diversity/inclusivity training/workshop

This training/workshop puts people in a room and expects most people to be soft spoken, cordial, polite, and well behaved. People are essentially told to play the Diversity Game and to pretend minds will be changed and it will not be “business as usual” for most people after they complete the training/workshop.

That is how white people (the power dominant group which  includes all cultures and ethnicities around the world that racially identify as “white”) are told to be polite and non-offensive to non-whites. Even avoid those “hilariously fun” race jokes.

Through this, whites learn to wait until there is a racial threat—which happens routinely and especially during social shifts, economic shifts, and political shifts. Whites learn to wait until their power, privilege, and status are threatened.

Whites learn to focus on covert, less obvious expressions of prejudice and discrimination. Covert is encouraged until overt is allowed in certain environments (e.g., “you will not replace us” in Charlottesville, VA was just a result of lovingly polite white men who innocently appreciate freedom of speech).

Robert K. Merton’s typology of prejudice and discrimination illustrates how people can be prejudiced (or unprejudiced) and be discriminatory (or nondiscriminatory). This is important because it addresses variance across contexts, power dynamics, and decision making.

Grasping context, power dynamics, and decision making is important. It also explains why I am not in favor of most racial diversity/inclusivity training/workshop in which people (perhaps most of whom have, at the minimum, high school education) tend to be told to get in a room and do the following:

  1. Pretend they do not know anything about racial and ethnic identity, racial and ethnic relationships, and need to be taught (in one training/workshop) everything
  2. Pretend they do not have daily Internet access (Internet has existed for a few days (sarcasm)) and have no idea to access (factual) information about racial and ethnic identities and racial and ethnic relations
  3. Pretend they do not normally use the Internet to find stuff when they care enough to find it
  4. Pretend they do not exist in environments in which they could have almost daily discussions about social issues and tough topics. This includes ruffling feathers, disagreements and debates, and sometimes people being angry with each other. That’s the purpose of challenging ourselves and challenging each other to learn new things, and learn what we previously believed is incorrect, rather than waiting to be summoned into a diversity/inclusivity training/workshop

Here’s an example of how I engage in almost daily discussions and debates to give people fewer excuses for lazily waiting for a diversity/inclusivity training/workshop:

I discuss the creation and continuation of “colorblind racism” (Racism without Racists). For instance, some whites will swear up and down that they saw a diverse representation at Parkland, Florida shooting protests. These whites will claim not to have a way to use Internet search engines to learn Parkland, Florida is middle-upper-socioeconomic status and more than 70% white including white Hispanic.

Being held to a high standard and challenged to learn is shocking to many whites. Racial power dominance allows many whites (both liberals and conservatives) to claim colorblindness, racial objectivity, and racial neutrality. Pretending to be colorblind, objective, and neutral helps whites to accuse non-whites, particularly African-Americans, of “blacksplaining” and making every topic about race. This is furthered when whites claim non-whites, particularly African-Americans, are “the real racists” and “the real reason” for racism.

I believe in 365 Days of Diversity. The same way Black history is 365 days, more than a month, diversity is a daily process not relegated to training/workshop. We have 365 days to dialogue, learn and challenge ourselves and each other.


Dr. Kimya N. Dennis does multidisciplinary community outreach, teaching, research, and consulting to address mental health, suicide and suicidal self-harm, criminal justice processes, childfree-by-choice, and reproductive freedom. This work reaches general population with emphasis on disadvantaged and under-serviced populations. Contact Kimya at kimya@kimyandennis.com

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