Equal Society or Double Standard?

Question: I've had employees ask, "Why is it OK to have executive incentives or mentor programs in place to help minorities and women, but none for the rest of us?"

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.


Question:

A woman called into a radio talk show and asked, "Why is it OK for a black person to tell a joke about a white person, but it's not OK the other way around?" I've had employees ask, "Why is it OK to have executive incentives or mentor programs in place to help minorities and women, but none for the rest of us?"

The questions go on and on from why do we celebrate Black History Month, Women's Heritage Month, etc. but never White History month. There seems to be a ground swell of people who believe that in our efforts to become an equal society, we are using double standards which are not promoting equality. What is your take?

Answer:

I've grown to realize that it's not OK for anyone to tell a racial joke.

The other points in your question relate to profound ignorance on why these programs exist. There have been "double standards" throughout human history (slavery, misogyny, bigotry, homophobia, etc.) Addressing past injustices is how we move our society ahead ... especially economically.

Human rights and freedom are the foundation principles of our country's disproportionate success. Despite being imperfectly applied ... our Constitution has resulted in the best meritocracy that the world has seen. Extending rights to everyone cannot help but forge a stronger and more successful society.

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