Monday, October 23, 2017

The Orwellian language of inclusive corporate policy

So my employer was recently bought by a very large corporation.  One of the new perqs I enjoy *cough* is regular news e-mails from corporate.  A lot of it's just press releases or discussion of proxy fights, but sometimes they throw in something cultural.

All well and good, but it's usually about drumming up interest in one of their "employee resource groups," which interests me for almost two seconds before I realize there's no news there.

To be fair, they don't insist on joining any of these groups.  Some of the our-plant-only committees are always eager for fresh blood, but you can say no to their face and there are no repercussions.  I've heard of other large companies that take a dim view of people who hesitate too long before joining their more progressive employee groups, and I don't see that happening here.

Which is good, because the only groups are for veterans, professional women, Hispanics, and homosexuals.

I only need to point out that I don't really need to point out how odd this juxtaposition is.  I'm also a little surprised there are only four, but that's another matter.

Suffice it to say I'm not interested in any of them because I don't belong and I'm not much of a "join to cheerlead" type.

But then I saw one of these e-mails go out and while explaining how these groups are critical to our vitality as a company, they presented the statistic that 50.2% of employees' children are diverse.

What?  "Diverse" is a quantifiable thing that an individual person can be?

Uh, no, it's not.  You might say the group comprised of all employees' children is diverse, but I am suspicious of whatever survey they did that enabled them to calculate that 502 out of every thousand children raised by my coworkers wears some kind of "diversity" badge.

And when it's over half, aren't we getting to the point that whatever makes them distinctive from the traditional white male workforce no longer qualifies as a diversifying characteristic?  If they were all Hispanic lesbians, the group wouldn't be diverse at all.

For that matter, what are these criteria they're using?  50.2% might just be how many of the children we're talking about are girls. Not saying that doesn't count, but it is mundane.

My sneaking suspicion is that, if they're not just using the number of girls as a shortcut around statistical sampling, they're looking at race and making sure we know they mean homosexuals too when they say "diversity," so we have one more thing to look for in our own children, even if they're too young to know how they're oriented or what claiming to know really means.

I wonder what the veterans group thinks about that.

Actually, I have more than a sneaking suspicion.  Some of the more recent postings have some nice, neutral jabber about how inclusiveness helps make sure ideas and perspectives we might not otherwise consider get brought to the table, as if this were an elementary school where that was a lesson that needed to be taught and was willing to be learned; but just so you know what they mean, the postings are all decorated in rainbows.

Can't just put the bullhorn down once so we can give your intentions the benefit of the doubt for a second, can you?

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