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‘Arm Candy’ Employees and White Privilege

Luke Visconti’s Ask the White Guy column is a top draw on DiversityInc.com. Visconti, the founder and CEO of DiversityInc, is a nationally recognized leader in diversity management. In his popular column, readers who ask Visconti tough questions about race/culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and age can expect smart, direct and disarmingly frank answers.

Ask the White Guy Luke ViscontiQuestion:
Since you are aware of your white privilege, how has your walk in life changed? When you are in situations where it is clear that your whiteness has availed you a benefit, do you do anything differently?

It is good that the diverse candidate is hired, but I’ve seen a lot of turnover as well. Why is it once the person is hired, the company can’t figure out how to retain him/her? I’ve seen in some areas of business where there are “arm candy” diverse candidates. By “arm candy” I mean that they are allowed to fill the work space but are denied the opportunity to learn the business or increase their knowledge to retain marketability. In your opinion, what should these candidates do to change this issue without being blacklisted or worse?

Answer:
I’ve addressed the first part of your question in other Ask the White Guy answers. DiversityInc was founded without outside investors nine years ago. We have dedicated our lives to this.

Regarding the second part of your question, engagement is the focus of the January issue of DiversityInc magazine.

As far as “arm candy,” you’re making a good point, one that demonstrates the difference in performance among corporations. Companies in the DiversityInc Top 50 have significantly better organizational development for all people, as documented by the data we collect.

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