I’m sure that you’ve seen many businesses, large and small, sharing their diversity statements on their websites and via email. Many are trying to show all of their customers and clients how much they care about black voices being heard and represented. It’s quite possible that you have toyed with the idea of writing one up for your own business as well. Here are some of the key reasons why you should think twice before creating a diversity statement to share with your audience.
Everyone else is in your industry is doing it
It comes across as very inauthentic when someone creates a diversity statement just because it’s something everyone else in their industry is doing. This is something I noticed when the George Flloyd protests started happening. Out of nowhere- everyone suddenly had diversity statements on their website. The thing is — if you and your business truly care about diversity and inclusivity, then it will shine through in your business in various ways without needing to say it. Someone should be able to go to your website and know that you are inclusive, without them needing to look around for a few sentences explaining that you are. Making sure your branding and messaging is inclusive says a lot and can really make a difference.
It makes it look like you care, so you don’t actually have to put any work into making changes
It’s really easy to talk about caring about diversity, and it’s another thing to actually show it. This is one of those situations where actions speak louder than words. Let’s say that you have a diversity statement on your website, where you talk about how you support BLM, but then you do nothing else to show that you care. It comes across as performative allyship when you talk the talk without walking the walk. As a business owner, it’s important that you walk the walk by showing that you value diversity and inclusivity on all fronts. Show this through your social media posts, the staff you choose to hire, and the voices you decide to showcase in your blogs and podcasts. You can learn more about this topic in a recent blog post here.
It’s easier than actually engaging with your audience about the beliefs and causes you care about
Diversity and inclusivity can be a tough topic for some people to feel comfortable talking about… they might be afraid of not knowing what to say, saying the wrong thing, or offending someone. A diversity statement is the easy way out. It gives you the chance to have a brief snapshot that checks the boxes, without needing to risk anything. But the truth is, if your audience is as passionate about diversity as you are, they want you to get fired up and genuinely talk about your thoughts and beliefs. As uncomfortable as it might be for you, there’s no excuse to keep on the hush-hush about the importance of diversity and inclusivity. You have the chance to use your platform to make a difference — and you need to use that to keep bettering the world.
Writing a diversity statement for your business can act as a formal way to make it seem like you care about BLM, as opposed to actually being anti-racist. With a diversity statement, you won’t have to risk folks getting upset or making them uncomfortable. If that’s your goal, great! If your goal is to be actively anti-racist, skip the diversity statement and spring into action. I have a few tips in this recent blog post on what you can do. Also be sure to check out my facebook group for feminist business owners that want to incorporate inclusion and diversity into their business. Hope to see you there!