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To defeat discrimination, we have to be superheroes

Blair McPherson - former Director, Author and Blogger

Does your organisation’s Equality and Diversity strategy recognise the lack of black employees in senior posts and is one of the aims of the strategy to address this situation? Do you believe in superheroes? Because that’s what they would have to be to smash discrimination, bash negative stereotypes, trash ignorance and singlehanded make Gotham City or your workplace safer and fairer.

Perhaps having  a person of colour on the senior management team is just a tick in the diversity box, a symbol of progress, evidence of a fairer recruitment process or does it reflect an assumption that this is the person to sort the problem. Maybe as is the current trend with superheroes the answer is not one but a team of superheroes each with a different superpower and each specialising in an area of equality.

A comprehensive super team able to defeat racism, sexism, ageism, Islamophobia, homophobia, and discrimination on the ground of disability, sexuality or sexual identity. ( I don’t know if the Xmen  are strictly speaking superheroes but they have led the way in terms of colour, disability and sexual orientation not being a barrier to possessing super powers).

Clearly whilst most organisations would accept the aim of having a senior management team balanced in terms of gender and race it wouldn’t be realistic to have every area of equality represented-unless of course some double up. But gay, disabled, black super heroes are thin on the ground!

So despite the size of the challenge are we saying no more heroes. That we don’t want to rely on one person, even one with superpowers, to make the organisation a fairer more supportive place to work. Realistically if we are ditching the charismatic leadership style represented by the superhero we are replacing it with the expectation that there will be many leaders or champions of equality through out the organisation.
Being a champion of equality should not be restricted to those in management posts, a safe, supportive and accepting working environment is more likely to be established if champions of equality come from every level of the organisation.

So not Batman and Robin just HR and the Champions.

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