“Not diverse enough”

Have a guess what today’s headline is describing. Go on, give it your best shot.

We’ll start you off with a few options;

  • An exclusive golf club with an outdated dress code,
  • A 200 year old London gentlemen’s club,
  • The executive team running a FTSE100 company,
  • The government cabinet of ministers,
  • The shadow government cabinet of ministers,
  • The board of a charity with somewhat “progressive” credentials,
  • The nominees for a prestigious movie awards event,
  • Henry, the mild mannered janitor?

Nope, it’s the awfully-right wing London Pride carnival.

A quick history lesson for the younger readers; London’s “Pride” was originally “Gay Pride”, and started in 1972 on the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village, New York. The riots were a response to Police brutality during a raid on a gay bar and are seen as a key pivot point for gay rights.

Language and definitions are useful milestones on the journey here. From the Wiki page on the Stonewall Riots (emphasis added);

Very few establishments welcomed openly gay people in the 1950s and 1960s. Those that did were often bars, although bar owners and managers were rarely gay. At the time, the Stonewall Inn was owned by the Mafia. It catered to an assortment of patrons and was known to be popular among the poorest and most marginalized people in the gay community: drag queens, transgender people, effeminate young men, butch lesbians, male prostitutes, and homeless youth.

All of those groups in italics were comfortable enough to be grouped as “gay” for the purposes of the subsequent civil rights activism which resulted in discriminatory laws to be repealed. i.e. the LGBTQI movement of today would have just the one one letter, “G”, back then and the “LBTQ and I” folk would have willingly got right behind it.

Bill’s Opinion

What started out as a civil rights movement in the 1970s has been incredibly successful. When the gay rights movement is compared with other civil rights struggles (Blacks in the USA, Catholics in Northern Ireland, for example), it’s clear that the key goals of the movement have been achieved in a remarkably short time period.

When many individuals can agree on a common goal, they naturally self-identify within a group; that’s the “gay” part of gay pride, an individual’s sub-category of gayness is less important whilst the main shared goal is still being pursued.

Perhaps though, when the shared goal has been attained and the consensus can’t agree on a compelling replacement, the group will fracture back down to the individual level. At the lowest level of analysis, we are all ultimately sitting in our own unique subset at the intersection of a myriad of Venn Diagram circles. Finding critical common unaddressed needs, gripes and complaints across very diverse individuals is actually quite rare in most circumstances.

The current trend is for this fracturing of previously large groups into much more tightly-defined smaller groups, hence the continued proliferation of letters each year on the LBGTQI continuum.

This should be actively encouraged by any sane individual who loathes identity politics because the natural end of the road for this trend is that we are all considered a minority; the individual is the world’s smallest minority.

Is “attention-seeking” a personality disorder?

The legacy media ™ newspaper, The Sydney Morning Herald, continues its laudable campaign to help people with mental health issues by giving them a public platform to express their issues so that others might better understand the challenges they face.

Well, that’s one way of explaining why they arranged for a lengthy photoshoot to provide multiple “arty” photos for an article about Jess Hodak’s multiple personalities.

Apparently, her other personalities include an 8 year old girl, a middle-aged man and a wolf.

These multiple personalities and their random intrusions into her day to day life, coupled with the heavy medication she is prescribed, means that Jessica is unable to find work or hold down a job.

Presumably, her physical appearance might be a factor in some of those job application rejections too.

It’s interesting to note that, with a plethora of legislation available allowing health authorities and concerned family members to “intervene”, nobody has seen fit to request a restraining order against her preferred tattoo parlour. Also, how does a person with no income afford so much inkwork?

The video of Jessica’s 8 year old personality is particularly interesting. One wonders whether this sketch show character provided partial inspiration;

What do we think; is it more or less likely that her symptoms will reduce following an extensive photo shoot, video and detailed story about her in a nationally-syndicated newspaper?

Bill’s Opinion

Jessica clearly has a lot of issues to deal with, not least of which is an overwhelming desire for attention.

It is not sympathetic to a fragile and distressed individual to glamorise the consequences of their condition by treating it like a fashion show. It’s actually a reprehensible and egregious abuse of power with the sole motivation to drive eyeballs and clicks to their website.

But then, this is the same media outlet that believes President Trump was stigmatising those suffering from dementia by calling the Las Vegas mass-shooter, “deranged”, which makes one wonder what adjective is allowed to be used to describe someone who murders 59 people with no apparent motive?

Luke Sayers – 100% inclusive

We’re all different.

We’re all equal.

Only one of these statements can be correct.

If I differ from you in ability to sprint the 100m, let’s say it takes me 15 seconds whereas you can cross the line in 12, we’re not equal in our ability to run the 100m. We are different, diverse, perhaps.

Should I be disbarred from entering sprint competitions? Of course not.

Will I win one? Unlikely.

Consider Luke Sayers, replete with ribbon, CEO of PwC Australia, then;

What we’re trying to do at PwC is be 100% inclusive“.

Here at William of Ockham, we like precision of language. If we can agree on definition, we can start to sift through the noise to the truth.

So what might “inclusive” mean and, therefore, what would a totality (100%) of it look like?

Judging by this video and this statement on the corporate website, it means future partner admits will be 40% male, 40% female, 20% either male or female (cynically, that gives Luke an “out” to make it almost 60% male). It also means 20% of future partner admits will be from a “diverse cultural background“, rising to 30% in 2020.

What qualifies as a “diverse cultural background“? No definition is available. To repeat, without an agreement on definitions, we can’t find the truth. Is an ex-pat Harvard-educated Anglo-Saxon male called Bradley diverse enough for Australia, perhaps? What about a Parisian, educated at the Sorbonne? Tssk, those pesky definitions, eh?

There’s also a commitment to hiring people with disabilities, which was really the main focus of the video, but tellingly, no tangible metrics on that promise. Nothing about the ratio to be employed, nothing about their pay relative to their peers.

The chap in the video, Jeremy Kwok, has a vision disability. Given that a large component of the work of a corporate tax analyst and any other field of accountancy is analysis of financial data in spreadsheets, and that an ability to rapidly assess information on a screen is a foundational part of that work, how efficient is Jeremy compared with a hypothetical peer who has equal abilities in all other aspects? Would we expect them to be paid equally?

Does PwC pay Jeremy the same as his fellow graduates? We aren’t told.

Back to our original question. Perhaps being inclusive is to give a job to Jeremy, a person who, through no fault of his own, will never be able to glance at a spreadsheet and make an efficient analysis of the most appropriate course of action (which, as a client being billed by PwC by the minute, I’d desire) as quickly as a fully-sighted peer, but that job is paid at a lower rate?

What might 100% inclusive look (excuse the pun) like then? In the absence of definitions and metrics from PwC, one could be tempted by both the Strawman and the Slippery Slope fallacies here. For example, perhaps PwC are intending to offer jobs to every type of physical and mental disability such as those poor souls suffering in persistent vegetative state? Of course not. So is that being 99% inclusive then?

What of the 20% culturally diverse partners? Diverse from what, exactly? Being Australian? That should be a facile achievement given that 26% of the population in 2016 was born overseas. Again, for a firm that makes its revenue from counting numbers against defined rules, it is being very imprecise in its own backyard.

Bill’s Opinion

Luke Sayer is unable to articulate the concepts he is espousing in a way that most of the audience will understand. This might be for one of several reasons;

  1. The message is far too complicated for most people. In which case, why bother trying to explain it on a slickly-produced corporate video?
  2. He, and all of the corporate marketing team are incompetent and couldn’t distill the information into a precise message.
  3. It’s a flawed strategy that hasn’t been fully-thought through. The sentiment might be noble but the implementation requires far more introspection, analysis and a more honest assessment of what is feasible.

 

Occam’s Razor suggests option 3.

Poor old Luke. He’s confused feelings for facts and it’s made him feel warm and loved.

So, this song by his namesake is for him (replete with a chord progression plagarised from Leonard Cohen’s “Famous Blue Raincoat).

https://youtu.be/uXNjMTTW58U