Mixed Messages

This is something that’s been on my mind, and I’ve just got to get it written down.

When I see these combinations together, I feel like I’m getting mixed messages:

  • Non-discrimination policy and diversity scholarships
  • Equal opportunity and minority-owned grants

When I ask people about them, I hear the phrase “level the playing field”, which also makes me cringe.

Non-Discrimination Policy and Diversity Scholarships

The part of this that gets me is that…

  • The diversity scholarships are for women and other under-represented demographics.
  • The non-discrimination policy prohibits discrimination based on “race, color, national or ethnic origin, age, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, veteran status (special disabled veterans, disabled veterans and Vietnam-era veterans), or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal or state law”.

Now wait a minute… how is it that the diversity scholarships are allowed while there’s a non-discrimination policy in effect?  Those diversity scholarships discriminate against other demographics by excluding them.  That doesn’t seem right to me.

Equal Opportunity and Minority-Owned Grants

This is along similar lines as above.  If you are giving grants out to a certain demographic, then there’s no equal opportunity there.

“Level the Playing Field”

I am absolutely irritated by this phrase.  While I may be part of an underrepresented demographic, I also know that it’s not my fault that I’m underrepresented.  My under-representation doesn’t handicap me; if anything, it makes me more of an unknown, a wild card.  I’m offended when someone suggests a handout to “level the playing field”.  That’s not how I operate.

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