If the scope of diversity fundamentally concerns ‘the individual’ regardless of background, then in effect, it concerns all human beings – and therefore is neither about ‘minorities’ nor the ‘majority’.
The idea of diversity being about a ‘minority specific agenda’ in particular, has arisen due to the attempt to situate diversity squarely within an equal opportunities legislative framework. Equal Opportunities attempts to create representative workforces through positive action and positive discrimination initiatives, which tend to focus on creating opportunities for minority groups, specifically – BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) groups, the Disabled and Women, etc. But equal representation should not be equal representation for equal representation sake. It must, first and foremost, be about talent (which includes everybody) – a key point missing in an equality driven approach to diversity, the consequence of which has lead to tokenism creeping into the understanding of what diversity stands for – and wrongly so.
Defined as the positive management of difference (or people) toward creative and productive ends, diversity concerns all, transcending all equality categorisations, and reaches into all possible aspects of the human identity. It is the misinterpretation of the function and scope of equality legislation that has lead some to think that diversity is about managing ‘minority’ issues over-above issues pertaining to the ‘majority’. This is a forced division and is incorrect. Diversity is about people issues, and people issues affect all individuals in organisations, regardless of department or business function.
The idea of a ‘minority/majority divide’ therefore is misleading and constitutes a wrongful interpretation and approach to managing diversity in the workplace.