Marco Verch Professional Photographer, Flickr CC, //

Q&A with Dr. Leah E. Glass

Dr. Leah E. Glass is an industry researcher whose new Contexts feature explores the (in)effectiveness of DEI training in a nonprofit context. DEI is a billion-dollar industry, and initiatives are now ubiquitous. But, Glass argues, we must ask what we’re trying to accomplish and what’s going on when well-intentioned people and well-intentioned work fall short of substantive change. “[E]ven some of the most progressive Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work and initiatives–in my case, it was a White supremacy culture training…–these things actually result in little organizational change and, in some cases, can actually have adverse effects.” In her study site, “despite DEI initiatives and training,” a culture of unnamed expectations and racialized differential treatment persisted. Yet when “white staff utilized the new language and vocabulary from the trainings,” the result “was a very convincing performance that made this organization appear to be antiracist and progressive, but there was really no substantial organizational change.” Read “Fool’s Gold: DEI and the Performance of Race Consciousness,” free to download and share through June 17, 2023.


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