The Rest of You Can Go Next

A yellow sign with a black arrow points to the right. It is hung on a wooden fence, with three plants of variable height in the forefront

On 6 February, I presented at the Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association (ACRAWSA) Conference. My paper was titled, ‘The Rest of You Can Go Next: Using Intersectionality in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Programs.’ The distinguished keynote was delivered by Professor Patricia Hill Collins, author of Black Feminist Thought, and, along with Sirma Bilge, co-author of Intersectionality. It was a wonderful conference. I felt good about my paper. My summary of the event will be on my blog soon.

In the meantime, here is my abstract:

This paper addresses the racial silences that women of colour navigate when developing and managing equity, diversity and inclusion programs. I draw on a critical autobiography of memory and trauma (Thompson and Tyagi 1996), analysing the impact of my career on my life as a woman of colour. Of my two-decades working as a sociologist, I’ve spent 14 years employed across public service, not-for-profit, and consultancy contexts. I reflect on the evolution of managerialism, which is increasingly eager to be seen as responsive to intersectionality, whilst remaining hostile to anti-racism (Ahmed 2017). I outline the barriers, negotiation and resistance strategies used when delivering public programs intended to serve marginalised communities, whilst simultaneously challenging racism, sexism and other workplace discrimination. I show how intersectionality is deployed in corporate branding, and the impact of diluting the race component of intersectionality from ‘equity, diversity and inclusion’ programs. Intersectionality provides a critical framework for exploring how race and gender simultaneously impact legal, economic and other institutional outcomes (Crenshaw 1989). These dynamics are disparately experienced by Aboriginal women and femmes, other Black people, and other migrants (Bottomley, de Lepervanche and Martin 1991; Collins and Bilge 2016; Moreton-Robinson 2000). Here, I focus on the racial, gendered and mental health costs of delivering social change.

I hope to finalise a peer reviewed paper on this soon, and then we can expect the usual glacial delay on a forthcoming publication. Until then, I’m getting ready to publish a resource about evidence-based actions institutions can take using intersectionality, to improve equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility. Keep an eye on my blog, The Other Sociologist, for this over the coming days.

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