In the video lecture, Dr. Dawn Bennett-Alexander presents three basic concepts for reducing the risk of discrimination in the workplace. She also describes a story about a white man who, during a training session, analyzes his experience with learning about race in his early years. He states that he did not have any racist messages passed to him and recalls that black people were not allowed to live in his town (TEDx Talks, 2015). This idea that white people need practical diversity due to the lack of conversations about different people is rather interesting and important to me because I have seen this type of thinking in my life.
For many white people, their race or ethnicity often does not become an apparent part of their identity. Therefore, they also do not think about other people’s races the same way as people of color (Drustrup, 2021). White people may unconsciously contribute to racism by dismissing the differences in the struggles that they and people of color go through. According to Cox (2022), the majority of white Americans support the ideology of color-blindness. This theory implies that it is beneficial not to recognize the race of others in order to avoid conflicts (Cox, 2022). However, in reality, this ideology leads to the denial of systematic oppression and discrimination that has been included in the legal and societal systems for centuries.
Bennett-Alexander’s idea of practical diversity built on compassion and love can combat this problem. The first principle of thinking about the message and how it can create a problem urges white people, among other groups, to start unpacking their beliefs and seeing them through a different lens. As an outcome, they may dismiss the ideology of color-blindness and adopt a more conscious approach to dealing with diversity. Bennett-Alexander’s approach has helped me to find an easy way for when I encounter such issues as color-blindness. The recognition of this problem is important to me because I have been dealing with it as well.
Cox, J. M. (2022). When color‐conscious meets color‐blind: Millennials of color and color‐blind racism. Sociological Inquiry, 92, 769-791.
Drustrup, D. (2021). Talking with white clients about race. Journal of Health Service Psychology, 47(2), 63-72.
TEDx Talks. (2015). Practical diversity: Taking inclusion from theory to practice | Dawn Bennett-Alexander | TEDxUGA [Video]. YouTube.