Inspiring Leadership with Diversity, Inclusion & Cultural Competence


nation divided


By Leah Smiley


Sometimes, I like to read different blogs and news articles that belittle diversity. I want to know what the critics are thinking, saying and doing. On the one hand, it is a little disconcerting to read the horrible things that these enlightened posters believe. But on the other hand, I think it is necessary to understand the different points of view.




One day, I was reading an “American Thinker” blog by Dr. Robert Weissberg. The author asserted that college campuses should not be diverse. He ends his blog with the following final thought:




“Diversity makes us strong is the wrong slogan; it should be ‘if we were strong we would not need diversity.’  ”




I want you to think about those words for a moment. And then I want you to put Mr. Weissberg’s thoughts in the proper context. He is an educator, with more than 50 years of experience. As with Paula Deen, I can only imagine what his views on diversity have cost him; thereby reinforcing his beliefs that diversity undermines academic achievement.




The bottom line is that ‘hurt people, hurt other people.’  There’s no need responding to his messages of hate and bigotry because he’s a wounded animal—fighting against a world that he perceives has done him harm. Nevertheless, there is a whole new generation of racially enlightened people who are ready to listen and are much different than previous generations.




1.            According to conventional wisdom, bigots are all “old people.”  Yet, millennials question the need for Affirmative Action; they question why blacks are still talking about slavery and racism when we all know it doesn’t exist anymore; and they question the logic behind diversity education requirements in their core academic curriculum.




Here’s my thought:  does asking a race-related question, or requesting diversity justification, denote racism?




2.            While they are not being taught racism at home by their fathers and grandfathers any more, both males AND females access “enlightenment” information and connect with other enlightened individuals over the Internet. The problem is that there is a proliferation of misinformation readily available for misuse. Some folks attempt to debate, but to no avail. After all, black people are at fault for being too sensitive and whites who disagree with enlightenment are blasted as “sympathetic liberals”.




Here’s my thought: Are black folks too sensitive about race issues? And are white people, who believe in the need for diversity, really defecting against the white race?




3.            This enlightened generation silently complies with diversity and inclusion goals at work—understanding that their jobs are on the line—but outside of work, they tell scathing stories pertaining to inclusion, political correctedness, and “un”fairness. It’s a little sneaky, but it is not the outdated white robe and cone head hood approach.




Here’s my thought: does it matter what these individuals do outside of work?






I’m posing these questions because I am exploring this concept called “diversity of thought”. We say that this is what we are pursuing, but it means that everyone should be allowed to think differently about diversity and inclusion.




The ultimate question is: are we really prepared for diversity of thought?  Furthermore, does this mean that we will become a generation divided over this issue of diversity?





Leah Smiley is a leading national speaker and thought leader on the subject of diversity and inclusion. Mrs. Smiley is the President and Founder of the Society for Diversity, the #1 and largest professional association for diversity and inclusion. For more information about Leah Smiley or the Society for Diversity, log onto 

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