Dr. David Embrick, Associate Professor of Sociology and Loyola University-Chicago will present his talk entitled “Pluralism, Multiculturalism, Diversity, and Inclusion: What Does it all Mean in the Post Civil-Rights Era?” on Thursday, January 24th at 5:00 pm in the Tupelo Room of the Barnard Observatory. For more information, see the synopsis of Dr. Embrick’s talk below. We hope you can join us!
Diversity” has become one of the most commonly used words by U.S. corporations. Indeed, many companies claim that they have spent millions, sometimes billions of dollars to create an egalitarian workplace for all workers. Given the amount of money spent and the increased amount of research that corporations have done on the issue of diversity, we should expect some progress in terms of equality or equal rights for minority and female workers. However, while there has been a substantial increase in the rise of corporate philosophy espousing diversity, there is also overwhelming data that suggests minorities and women are still unable to obtain opportunities or to achieve success at the same rates as their white male counterparts. How can we explain the apparent contradictions? Furthermore, why are many companies that have historically barred minorities and women from their workplace now publicizing their support for racial and gender integration? I suggest that the term “diversity” is ostensibly used by corporations to mean increased access of minorities and women to non-menial positions in corporations, but actually used only to give the illusion of greater access while, in reality, protecting those in power. The concept of diversity, then, does far greater damage than no attempt to equalize access at all, because it hides the fact that no change is occurring while falsely promising that change will occur in the future. Using in-depth interviews conducted with 40 middle and senior-level managers and upper-level executive officers from Fortune 1000 companies, I find that many corporations use “diversity” as a shield to hide the fact that nothing has really changed in the structure of U.S corporations. That is, U.S. corporations have been, and continue to be, exclusive clubhouses for upper class white males.