And how to avoid becoming one

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You’ve got to admit it. You’ve been wondering whether it’s really you they hired. Did they even care about your skills and experience, or did they want a brown face to plaster all over social media announcing their new diversity hire? Some folks consider it an insult to be called a diversity hire. People want to be hired for their talent, not their demographic identities. As one internet troll recently asked, “Since when did race become a job qualification?” Do the same rules apply if the words diversity, equity, or inclusion are in your job title?

If this is you…


Demand accountability for the tokenize-and-discard culture

The CDO Golden Parachute (Source: Canva.com)

So you’ve just been offered that new diversity job, now what? If the first thing your employer does is schedule a headshot, be very afraid. Corporate Blackwashing is trending. People are disappearing their diversity hires almost immediately after they score the LinkedIn-woke-washing optics victory with their BIPOC executive hires plastered on our timelines. It’s time to subvert this trend and start protecting our people. Severance is for all valued employees.


Leveraging bias in service of inclusion

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Black people and female founders are the least likely to get funded by private equity. A paltry 0.64% of total venture capital investment between 2018 and 2019 went to Black and Latinx women combined. I know this from statistical research and from personal experience. I believe that if machines are the messengers, investors and corporate customers may be more likely to trust our expertise and our products.

The diversity, equity, inclusion(DEI) and human resources (HR) fields are overrepresented by women and people of color. By sheer virtue of experience and numbers, we are the experts in these and related fields…


Optimizing performative inclusion for maximum (Wall)Street cred

Your CDO is over it. (Source: Canva.com)

In order to avoid corporate Blackwashing after the Antiracist summer of 2020, your company decided to hire a Chief Diversity Officer (CDO). Marketing was thrilled to plaster their brown face all over social media as part of the corporate wokeness media campaign. The CDO salary was more than you wanted to pay, but leadership insisted that since everyone else was hiring diversity leadership, you should, too.

Hiring a person of color for a diversity leadership position is a great idea. I know some highly qualified CDOs who can’t get hired because they are too white for business’ Linkedin check-out-our-new-BIPOC-executive campaign…


Failing to speak up against racism is lazy allyship

The once popular white ally safety pin. (Source: Canva.com)

Perhaps people would be less afraid to say the wrong things if we normalized being honest about racism when we see it. Many white people are afraid of being called-out, or worse — cancelled, for saying or doing something racist. Ibram X Kendi’s assertion that everyone is capable of racist thoughts and actions, or the fact that unconscious bias is a normal byproduct of human brain functioning don’t seem to offer sufficient solace to inspire action.

BIPOC folks don’t get to opt out of oppression, and true allies don’t give up because things get hard.

White folks are so scared…


The consequences of downsizing before the pandemic

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What I miss the most is the $5000 solid copper soaking tub. I literally had a house built around the Victorian replica tub, the second floor at least. My glorious tub was craned in before the roof was built. But alas, I never moved into that house. A series of bizarre twists helped me realize that I didn’t need another giant house at that moment just because society said that’s what success looked like.

Shifting from a mansion to an apartment was a wild transition. I grew up affluent without being rich. I still have hardworking parents with doctorate degrees…


Surviving the ultimate heartbreak

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No parent should ever have to outlive their child. Nonetheless, child mortality has been part of the human story from the very beginning. Origin stories the world over, describe this awful reality that no degree of civilization or technological advancement can eradicate.

I’m not an expert in child loss, but I’ve been pregnant 10 times and have three living children. My third child is my rainbow baby — a child born after a pregnancy loss or infant loss. As a result of my experiences as a birth doula and having lost so many pregnancies, I’ve recently embarked on a death…


A Spoon Theory primer from a spoonie

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If you’ve never heard of a spoonie, it’s a person, often with invisible mental or physical disabilities and conditions that affect daily functioning. Any chronic illness ushers you into the spoonie club. Frequent migraines, fibromyalgia, endometriosis, and anxiety are among the myriad debilitating diagnoses that impair the flow of life for sufferers.

Spoon Theory

The term spoonie comes from Spoon Theory, which was coined by award-winning blogger and patient advocate, Christine Miserandino. She wanted to explain the challenges inherent to people living with Lupus. The problem is that people with invisible conditions often appear healthy and able-bodied. This makes it hard for…


Spoiler alert: It’s impossible

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Imagine the sound of chalk screeching down a chalkboard. For the generations who grew up with whiteboards; recall the sound of someone pulling a fork across their teeth as they finish shoveling in that last bite. Now you have a sense of my visceral response to the throngs of people who say they want to “get it right” when referring to their diversity strategies. The flip side of that coin, being afraid to get diversity ‘wrong,’ is no less frustrating.

It’s not that I lack compassion nor the capacity to comprehend the sentiment. The problem is that fear of failure…


Notes on a 30 year journey into the light

One of my superpowers is seeing arguments from all sides. It’s what makes me good at my diversity work building bridges between people across differences. As transparent as I tend to be about my journey, I am aware of the risk of sharing that I was once, however briefly, a full blown antivaxxer.

I don’t always have to internalize a rationale or perspective to understand why people believe what they do. People’s feelings and perspectives are valid, even if they are misguided. I like to hope that each of us has evolved in some way, over time, that causes us…

Tiffany Jana

Non-binary Best-Selling Author, Bias Hunter, B Corp Founder, TEDx, Inc.com Top 100 Speaker, Skier, Pleasure Activist, Blue-Haired Maverick

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