Diversity is defined as “The fact or quality of being different; having a variety.” It can only be applied to a group of things or people in order to highlight the presence or absence or difference or variety.
The reality is that a roomful of black women is no more diverse than a roomful of white men. And yet, we tend to describe programs as being aimed at “diverse attorneys” and state that we would really like to make a “diversity hire” in this position. But when you stop to think about it, what do we really mean?
If a program is for diverse attorneys, it must be for all attorneys and hopefully the group will represent a large variety of people. Is that really what we mean? No, it isn’t. What we mean is that the program is for attorneys who are underrepresented or marginalized in the field of law. Why not say that? Or better yet, let’s actively state what we mean. Is the program really aimed at women and people of color? Then let’s just say so. Let’s not seek a diversity hire; let’s seek to create a diverse workforce. Or we can talk about diversifying our employees.
Thought provoking and to the point. As lawyers, we know language matters. Perhaps it is time to change ours. Read more here: Is “Diverse” Really What You Mean? — NWSidebar.