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‘Ask the White Guy': What Does It Really Mean?

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:
Although I find the title of your blog amusing, I have to wonder … having a blog called “Ask the White Guy” perpetuates the notion that in order to get a “good” or “correct” answer, one should always seek assistance from “the white man.” Did you think about this when you created this blog?

Answer:
As you have kindly pointed out, I intended to be humorous with the title. However, many of the questions I receive document that humor and this subject coexist in a very volatile way.

The title is meant to be ironic. It plays off the pompous attitudes of self-delusional know-it-all white guys like Rush Limbaugh. Before some of you white guys start tapping away on your keyboard, please understand that I’m not sorry if that offends some people. Guys like Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Franken and Moore give us white guys a bad name. I won’t even get into what Nancy Grace and Ann Coulter do for white women. Part of the problem is that white people have one hundred public blowhards for every one Ward Connerly or Linda Chavez.

Although I’m “the” white guy for this column, I’m not the ONLY knowledgeable white guy or the OMNIPOTENT white guy who can help all people with all problems.

What I hope to bring to the table is a white perspective from an enlightened point of view. It is my hope that this dialogue facilitates greater understanding and clarity for everyone, including me.

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2 Comments

  • Anonymous

    I hope this board isn’t closed because I have a question/concern. I have decided in my mid 30’s to try the non-profit track. While I don’t have a degree, I do have a lot of experience, am intelligent and a great worker. That said, I’ve worked for 2 well known non-profits now and I find them to be homogeneous and very exclusive. Non-profits seem to attrack a very small part of the American population: one that is primarily young, middle class or upper middle class, female, white and college educated. Being a 35-36 year old black woman, I am finding working in a non-proft to be difficult. I don’t fit. I will pass people in the hallway and half of them won’t make eye contact or speak to me, when I make suggestions to my team, I am overtalked or dismissed by my peers, because I am so good at what I do I get a lot of overt praise from top managment and because of the attention am often being subtly undermined and “thrown under the bus” by my white, female colleagues. It has gotten to the point where I am pretty much making the decision to get out of the non-profit world and go back to corporate. I can become a donor and still serve. Why are non-profits such tough places to work for minorities?

  • I’m not aware of where the poster is located, but Minnesota has a generous capacity for minorities in non-profits. It is not unusual to find African Americans in prominent non profit positions. In addition, you will find many organizations/agencies founded by African Americans, and other people of color. You might want to widen your scope of intent when researching non profits, and network with cultural agencies that serve various communities. I’m sure you’ll find your fit!

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