Why DEI Work Is Not Working

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After the death of George Floyd, the world acknowledged the senseless loss of life. Many people did not know how to respond or what to do, but humanity wanted to do something. Many companies began by creating inclusion statements and funding Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion positions. Relations in the United States hold myriad issues that bog down or enrage people in a spectrum of emotions. Yet, three years later, there has been little foundational change to the core problem because no one has addressed the core problem of race relations in the United States.

The complexities of understanding how to heal such relations often take time to develop. While some think European Americans need to admit the atrocities of their ancestors, others believe that learning about oppressive systems will solve the ignorance of the times. Nevertheless, people have become more polarized and separated as a clear path is needed to heal toward community well-being.

Racial healing work is not in teaching someone about the history that has been invisibilized. Although this is essential information, it does not unroot the issues and cultivate healing to move forward as a community. What needs to be considered is the neuroscience of how emotions, harm, joy, and other emotions live in our bodies. How are we supposed to pick up our beds and walk toward togetherness when we have not addressed how we feel inside or what we carry from past generations.

Can I undo all the subtle but biased images, feelings, and media I have digested by attending one training? How can I possibly process how my family and ancestors have perpetuated these inequities? You can not remove harm from our systems by a once-a-year DEI training, creating a new DEI position, or making a statement or policy. These actions are helpful, yet they are surface to our problem.

DEI work is heart work, not head work. The essential part of healing our world is healing ourselves. We must understand our racial or critical consciousness before engaging with others and our community. Sadly, our consciousness has been informed by years of oppressive practices we all live within and need to learn to see. This is the foundation of DEI work, so the work is not moving.

Understanding the heart, mind, and body level is the actual work, and that requires willingness, a trauma-informed environment, and an instructor who has done the work themselves. This is more than a course or learning from a workshop. It requires a willingness and humility to work for the world we want based on love and community.

reposted from https://medium.com/@lisa.y.collins/why-dei-work-is-not-working-23aaad657a35

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