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The political correctness police will test your politics by asking loaded questions about the "D" word!  Be prepared!

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The "D" Word:    Diversity!
The New Political Litmus Test
McCarthyism for the 90's

When the "D" word comes up at work, it means your politics are being tested.  Here are some helpful hints for coping with the political correctness police without having to compromise your own belief in equal protection under the law.

"D" Word:  Don't Answer Questions!

Don't Answer "D" Word Questions

"D" Word:  General Strategy!

General Strategy and Discussion

"D" Word:  Sample Dialogue and Practice!

Sample "Diversity" Dialogue

"D" Word:  Casual Conversation, Synonyms!

"Casual" Conversation & the "D" Word

Do Not Answer Questions
about the "D" Word!

          Today, "diversity" is government-speak for "preferential treatment" (so-called reverse discrimination*).  "Diversity" denotes the political philosophy that "preferential treatment" is a good thing as long as this form of racial discrimination is directed against the right people!  Job-related questions about "diversity" are, therefore, clearly political, and your job, promotion, performance review, or contracting opportunity should never be conditioned on your political beliefs! Go to Top of Page.Next:  Sample Diversity Dialogue!

           Prepare "alternate answers" to such questions ahead of time!  Use the sample dialogue, below, as a general guide.

Sample "Diversity" Dialogue
"How do you feel about diversity?"  Or, "Do you support diversity in the workplace?"

1. Ask for the question to be re-phrased:   YOU: "I'm not sure what you mean.  Could you restate the question?"   If the questioner is particularly obtuse or confrontational, you may need to be more specific:  YOU: "I'm not sure what you mean by diversity.  Could you elaborate?"

2. The questioner's response may take one of the following forms:

(a) They may restate the question exactly the same way.

(b) They may substitute another political litmus test, as follows:  "What I mean is, how do you feel about Affirmative Action?"

Prev:  "D" Word Litmus Test!Forward / Page Down:  More Dialogue!

(c) They may seek to avoid personal responsibility by alluding to some outside "greater authority", and may refer to things like "federal regulations regarding equal opportunity" or "state contracting guidelines regarding affirmative action".  Such a restatement of the question might sound like this:   "You know, do you agree to comply with federal regulations regarding equal employment opportunity?"

(d) They may switch to the "embedded in the rules" approach, like this:   "I mean, do you support this organization's mission and goals in this regard?"  This is a tricky one, because your organization (employer) has a printed "mission / goals" document which embeds its support of diversity and/or preferential treatment in some way. 


3. Your next level of response:   If you've rehearsed your responses ahead of time, you should be able to maintain the appearance of a calm, cooperative, sincere, and agreeable employee.  Use the following responses as a general guide:

Back Up / Page Up:  Dialogue!Next:  "D" Word Strategy!

Response to 2(a):  (Questioner repeats 'Diversity' question)   YOU: "Your question about diversity is a good one.  I personally feel very strongly that all individuals are entitled to fair and equal treatment regardless of race, gender or national origin."

Response to 2(b):  (Questioner switches to a new "litmus test", such as Affirmative Action)  YOU: "Oh, I see what you mean.  All my life I have believed in equal opportunity, and in fair and equal treatment.  I think racial and sexual discrimination are wrong, and I certainly intend to continue to combat discrimination."

Response to 2(c):  (Questioner alludes to 'greater authority')  YOU: "Well, I'm no lawyer, and I'm not familiar with all the laws, but I certainly support efforts to eliminate racial and sexual discrimination from the workplace."

Response to 2(d):  (Questioner "embeds it in the rules" by referring to your organization's mission statement)  YOU: "I definitely support our organization in its efforts to eliminate racial and sexual discrimination from the work place."

General Strategy and Discussion

          We are recommending a diversionary strategy, as in the sample dialogue above.  Your performance review or job interview is not the place for a confrontation on this issue.  After all, your job is being held hostage to your answer!  Therefore, "dodging the bullet" is the best interim approach.  But also consider filing a complaint with the EEOC.  If you elect this course of action, seek qualified legal advice.  (Also, see our EEOC Note.)

Back Up / Page Up:  "D" Word Dialogue!Forward / Page Down:  "D" Word Casual Conversation!

          You should be firm in your own mind that you are not going to answer questions involving the "D" word!  Remind yourself that any question pertaining to "diversity" is, in fact, a political question, and it is therefore wrong to be asked this type of question in the context of your job!

          Think about how you would react during a job interview if you were asked:  "What is your sexual orientation?"  Or, "Are you a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or Communist?"  Or, "What is your religious affiliation?"

          Remind yourself that you do support equal protection under the law, equal opportunity without regard to race, sex, or national origin, and non-discrimination in general.  You don't support the reverse discrimination* which is explicitly embodied in "diversity" programs!  However, we don't recommend that you go around your workplace stating this view explicitly.  Be subtle in your resistance to the political correctness police. 

"Casual" Conversation & the "D" Word

          Be wary of colleagues casually asking you political questions like "How do you feel about diversity?"   You should practice sounding sincere when you respond.  YOU: "I truly believe that racial and sexual discrimination in the workplace is wrong."  One of our other, favorite responses is the "synonym" answer, substituting "variety" for "diversity".  YOU: "I believe it is a good thing to work with and for a variety of people from all races, any gender, and all ethnic backgrounds."

Semantic Games:   At one time, words like "diverse" and "diversity" were perfectly useful parts of the English language.   However, since they have become politicized, you may wish to practice eliminating them from your everyday conversation.  For example: 

Back Up / Page Up:  "D" Word Strategy!Forward / Page Down:  Remainder of Page.
Political:

"There is a diversity of flora and fauna in the park."

Neutral: "There is a wide variety of flora and fauna in the park."
Political: "This certainly is a diverse group of people!"
Neutral:

"This certainly is a varied group of people!"

          If you get really good at substituting non-political synonyms for the word "diversity" in your daily conversation, then you will have come a long way to preparing yourself for the inevitable (and illegal) political question involving the "D" word.

 

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Copyright 2002 Adversity.Net, Inc., an IRS 501(c)(3) tax-exempt educational organization.  For problems or questions regarding this web contact editor@adversity.net    Last updated: October 29, 1998.

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*  We use the term reverse discrimination reluctantly and only because it is so widely understood.  In our opinion there really is only one kind of discrimination.