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One of Time Magazine's Must-Read Books of 2019: An award-winning journalist shows how workplace diversity initiatives have turned into a profoundly misguided industry—and have done little to bring equality to America's major industries and institutions.
Diversity has become the new buzzword, championed by elite institutions from academia to Hollywood to corporate America. In an effort to ensure their organizations represent the racial and ethnic makeup of the country, industry and foundation leaders have pledged hundreds of millions of dollars to commission studies, launch training sessions, and hire consultants and diversity czars. But is it working?
In Diversity, Inc., award-winning journalist Pamela Newkirk shines a bright light on the diversity industry, asking the tough questions about what has been effective—and why progress has been so slow. Newkirk highlights the rare success stories, sharing valuable lessons about how other industries can match those gains. But as she argues, despite decades of handwringing, costly initiatives, and uncomfortable conversations, organizations have, apart from a few exceptions, fallen far short of their goals.
Diversity, Inc. incisively shows the vast gap between the rhetoric of inclusivity and real achievements. If we are to deliver on the promise of true equality, we need to abandon ineffective, costly measures and commit ourselves to combatting enduring racial attitudes.
About the Author
Pamela Newkirk is a New York University professor of journalism and award-winning journalist who has written extensively about diversity in the news media and art world. Her first book, Within the Veil: Black Journalists, White Media (NYU Press) examined the tumultuous entry of African American journalists into mainstream journalism. The book, based on archival research and interviews with more than one hundred journalists across the country, won a National Press Club Award for media criticism and continues to be widely adopted by colleges and universities.
Her most recent book, Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga (HarperCollins) uncovered the story of the young African who in 1906 was exhibited in the Bronx Zoo monkey house. The book, based almost exclusively on archival research, was included on a number of Best of 2015 lists, including NPR's, the San Francisco Chronicle's and the Boston Globe's and won an NAACP Image Award for literature and the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation Legacy Award. The book has also been optioned for film and stage by producer Scott Rudin. Newkirk's articles and reviews are regularly published in major media, including the Washington Post, the New York Times, The Guardian, The Nation, andthe Chronicle of Higher Education.
"Simply by reminding readers of the stories of people like Ingram and Roberts, dedicated employees who endured unthinkable humiliation - the "uncivil" ways in which they were treated, simply because of their race - 'Diversity, Inc.' may do more to help advance the cause of workplace inclusion than any canned bias-training program ever could."—Stephanie Mehta, Washington Post
"a must-read.... a well-sourced and succinctly written report that addresses the overall lack of progress in three key sectors: academia, corporate America, and the Hollywood entertainment establishment...The book is valuable for many reasons, not the least of which is the context Newkirk provides."—Ellen McGirt, Fortune
"Newkirk asks compelling questions as she takes a hard look at the American mosaic."—BizEd
"Pamela Newkirk has written the far-reaching and crisply worded book I had been waiting to read. Cheap diversity statements and costly diversity consultants are not working and Newkirk explains precisely why. Institutions can do better and Diversity, Inc., explains precisely how."—Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award-winning author of Stamped from the Beginning and How to Be an Antiracist
"With revealing statistics, a compelling narrative, and conclusions about our liberal institutions that will shock but perhaps not surprise, Pamela Newkirk's Diversity, Inc. is a must-read for our times."—PaulaJ. Giddings, EA Woodson Professor Emerita, Smith College
"Rejecting a 'we are the world' approach to diversity for an unflinching examination of the root causes of racial injustice, Pamela Newkirk has written a bold and fearless book about what needs to happen in this country for true diversity to flourish. We have to tell ourselves the truth about our history, our narrative of racial preeminence, and our current practices. Diversity, Inc. is written with the urgency of our times. A must read!" —Eddie S. Glaude Jr., author of Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul
"Pamela Newkirk's Diversity, Inc. is a necessary and clear-eyed assessment of how far we have to go to realize equity and inclusion in the American workplace."—Sherrilyn A. Ifill, President & Director-Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund,Inc.