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If Social Movements Are Gendered, Are They Also Raced?:
Unformatted Document Text:  12 closed.” And I thought, well all be damned, here I am, if my eyes are closed, I’m asleep! Beverly points out that a common feature of diversity training is its emphasis on teaching whites how to better understand the behaviors of people of color. This approach has made its way into lesbian and gay and feminist organizations, and it reinforces that the standard for lesbian and gay employees (and activists) is a white standard, and that diversity refers to its contrast: people of color. Diversity Day at Center was therefore an opportunity for whites to make sense of the previously incomprehensible behaviors of people of color, such as listening with ones eyes closed. Imported from the corporate sector, the Center’s diversity management model took as given that the behaviors of people of color may appear strange, rude, or crazy to even the most reasonable white person, and that translating these behaviors into codes that whites can understand will reduce racial tension and promote a sense of sameness among employees. From the perspective of many employees of color at the Center, Diversity Day increased racial tension by requiring that they look on while whites were provided with crass short-cuts for understanding and tolerating the differences of their co-workers. Dissonance between Organizational Identity and Staff Identities The second way that the Center’s diversity projects reinforced the organization’s white identity was by highlighting the gap between organizational identity and staff identities. In 2001, The Center’s upper-level managers and executive team developed a five-year strategic plan with five points of focus, one of which was phrased “commitment to diversity.” Management also appointed 15 employees (11 employees of color and 4

Authors: Ward, Jane.
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closed.” And I thought, well all be damned, here I am, if my eyes are closed, I’m
asleep!
Beverly points out that a common feature of diversity training is its emphasis on teaching
whites how to better understand the behaviors of people of color. This approach has
made its way into lesbian and gay and feminist organizations, and it reinforces that the
standard for lesbian and gay employees (and activists) is a white standard, and that
diversity refers to its contrast: people of color. Diversity Day at Center was therefore an
opportunity for whites to make sense of the previously incomprehensible behaviors of
people of color, such as listening with ones eyes closed. Imported from the corporate
sector, the Center’s diversity management model took as given that the behaviors of
people of color may appear strange, rude, or crazy to even the most reasonable white
person, and that translating these behaviors into codes that whites can understand will
reduce racial tension and promote a sense of sameness among employees. From the
perspective of many employees of color at the Center, Diversity Day increased racial
tension by requiring that they look on while whites were provided with crass short-cuts
for understanding and tolerating the differences of their co-workers.
Dissonance between Organizational Identity and Staff Identities
The second way that the Center’s diversity projects reinforced the organization’s
white identity was by highlighting the gap between organizational identity and staff
identities. In 2001, The Center’s upper-level managers and executive team developed a
five-year strategic plan with five points of focus, one of which was phrased “commitment
to diversity.” Management also appointed 15 employees (11 employees of color and 4


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