BEYOND DIVERSITY | Kirkus Reviews
A comprehensive guide focuses on how to increase diversity and inclusion in society.
In these pages, Bhargava and Brown assemble facts and personal stories from many walks of life —entrepreneurship, the business world, academia, the entertainment industry, the creative arts realm, even home and family—in order to paint a detailed picture of how deep-rooted cultural practices often forge systemic barriers to inclusion, equity, and diversity. Throughout the book, they cite studies and statistics to shore up their claims (often surprising data, as in the World Health Organization’s estimate that 15% of the world’s population—well over a billion people—has some form of disability). Many of these informative tidbits are separated from the main text with eye-catching graphics. In all cases, the authors first assess how things currently stand in the area they’re exploring and then outline what needs to change and sometimes give descriptions of how things are in fact shifting. They finish with “What You Can Do,” a series of calls for actions both big and small that readers can accomplish themselves, everything from publicly noting an instance of inequity in the workplace or classroom to getting involved in organizations dedicated to increasing diversity. The authors repeatedly point out that merely noticing diversity problems is not sufficient. They urge their readers to take action and lay out several strategies for how to institute changes on the grassroots level, including how those in majority groups can be better allies for their colleagues.
The authors skillfully emphasize the importance of narratives in their discussions. “The stories we choose to consume—and believe—shift our worldviews,” they contend. “Beyond the stories we read, our worldviews commonly come from the movies we watch, the news we follow, or the events we attend (either virtually or in-person).” It’s for this reason that their primary goal is for society to change the tales it tells about itself so that those stories more accurately reflect the diversity and demographics of the real world. Occasionally, the authors’ efforts to avoid the typical pitfalls of identity politics falter. They argue, for instance, that “our identities are a spectrum that cannot be reduced to labels” (such as teenager, gay, Hispanic, creative, etc.). But they spend much of the volume seeming to equate these labels with identities, writing that “identity is race, gender, abilities, and sexuality. It is ethnicity and religion.” Likewise, they assert that people “must be guaranteed the freedom to explore, express, and bring their full selves to work without fear of reprisal or discrimination” while advocating that workplace diversity be mandated by law. But the book’s calls for fair treatment and equity in pay scales are very effective, buttressed by extensive research showing that, for instance, men are paid more than women for the same work and that minorities are underrepresented in most fields of study. Managers, CEOs, and hiring directors—as well as ordinary people—will find a great deal of valuable insights in these pages.
A useful, forcefully written, and wide-ranging study of inequities—and how to fix them.
Pub Date: today
Page Count: 268
Publisher: Ideapress Publishing
Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2021