It is a little ironic that some of the line of questioning in the comfirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor question whether she is too tied to her cultural identity to be impartial.
It’s ironic because it assumes that those already on the bench, primarily white males, are NOT influenced by their racial, cultural and gender identity.
But I would say that it’s not a question of influence, it’s that their identity represents the majority culture–that ‘white’ is the institutional ‘norm,’ so that it is assumed to be fair an impartial.
My friend and associate Tracie D. Hall, founder of GoodSeed Consulting often refers to the fable of the Giraffe and the Elephant, in the book Building a House for Diversity by R. Roosevelt Thomas, Jr., with Marjorie I. Woodruff. While the Giraffe and the Elephant want to be friends, the elephant can’t even fit through the doorway of a house designed and built for a giraffe.
Is your organization built by and for giraffes? If you are working to involve more elephants, how are you addressing infra-structure and organizational systems? What are the unconsious assumptions, “known to be true,” that govern your organization?