Top 5 Reasons People Refuse to Support Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives

There are many reasons why people refuse to support DEI initiatives. Here are 5 of the most common reasons ranked in order of prevalence:

  1. The Ego- Ego itself is related to power and position and how much we fight to maintain a false idea of authority. There are people who are blatantly racist, sexist, homophobic etc and these people refuse to accept differences. Whether the ego supports their identity formation or supremacist beliefs they refuse to let it go, which leads to reason number two.
  2. Power- is the catalyst for ego, sort of like a parent, and a strong force in the presence of privilege. Power can also be earned and unearned just like a privilege. The idea that we have control both internally(over ourselves) and externally (over others) has plagued humankind for years. The idea of ego and power together has been the cause of many wars and where you find most people who refuse to support DEI. In DEI it has been the cause of oppression and an unwillingness to fight for equity and equality.
  3. Experience- Both experience and a lack thereof experience can harm DEI efforts. Experience can result in the passion to fight for equity and equality and it can also create blind spots to the oppression of others due to the prioritization of our own oppressions. A lack of experience as it relates to identity and how we do experience the world can also create blind spots. But if the person who lacks experience, has an ego they refuse to acknowledge, and power, this is a deadly combination for DEI. It is the epitome of a border wall: useless, takes up space, and prevents equality and equity.

4. Inaccurate Data: When you are in the minority data can harm you i it is not done with a DEI lens. For example, if you have a company of 100 and only 5 of them are female identified persons, 1 is non-binary, and the other 94 are male identified persons and you are doing a study on gender discrimination in the workplace, minority voices are less likely to be valid and therefore heard. This is the same with race, gender, etc. whatever the minority identity, the less likely overall data is to do justice to their experiences unless you have the right lens. You have to be able to interpret data by sample size by placing identity groups into silos when you evaluate the data. Remember the majority is the norm and the behaviors we are taught to follow, this can prevent someone from supporting a DEI Initiative.

5. The Comfort Zone:

The comfort zone is a major problem for DEI. People who don’t want to leave it, and for people working overtime to push people out of it. To the people working hard, here’s a tip. Don’t exhaust yourself trying to push people out of it (this creates more resistance), instead open the front door of their comfort zone and let them ease their way out of it step by step. There are people who believe in DEI and willing to support, put more of your energy in those places! To the people refusing to leave their comfort zone, you are harming DEI initiatives and my tip to you is to work on understanding that the world does not only work in the way that you see it, then accepting that fact! Get out of yourselves, over yourselves, and keep learning.

Share other reasons you see people refusing to support DEI initiatives within companies in the comment section! I know you all experience others as well!

Dr. Cheryl Ingram aka Dr. CI, is a very successful entrepreneur, blogger, content creator and expert of diversity, equity, and inclusion practices.

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