Frank McCloskey’s wife of 31 years, Debbie, talked about her husband with her new coworkers, telling them about his job as vice president of diversity for Georgia Power. During lunch one day, Debbie, who is white, had just finished telling a story about Frank’s diversity efforts when a colleague of hers said, “I want to tell you how courageous it is that you are married to an African American.” Oops! Frank is white.
Too often, white men–and to a lesser extent, white women–are assumed to have no role in diversity-and-inclusion efforts. But white people who are heterosexual, Christian and not disabled can and do champion diversity efforts. To assume otherwise is like assuming that talented Black or Latino executives do not exist.
To further explore stereotypes about white people in the corporate-diversity world, Fair360, formerly DiversityInc talked to several white men intimately involved in diversity-and-inclusion efforts. Here are nine things they suggest never saying to your white colleagues.