four women sitting on benches outside building

An Inclusive Workplace is More Than Skin Deep

We hear a lot about cultural diversity in the workplace. One thing we should all agree on is that every workplace should be culturally diverse. Diversity allows for different viewpoints on every topic, better problem solving, and greater inclusion of voices representing customers and the world beyond the workplace. 

One persistent barrier to understanding diversity is the idea that ethnicity and culture are reflected in an employee's skin color. 

Some people have said that Post Status is not culturally diverse, although half of our employees identify as female. They say we are not diverse because we all look “white.” Does that make us a company that is not culturally diverse? No, it doesn’t. What that photograph does not show is heritage, or home culture, or race and nationality. Our team is a combination of different nationalities, races, and cultures. 

What we need to examine is what is cultural. Culture by definition encompasses a person's norms they find in society, basic knowledge, beliefs, Social behavior, customs, and habits. Culture is generally determined by region  or heritage. It goes beyond skin color. We need to understand that cultural diversity in a workplace goes beyond the color of the employees skin color, and breaks down into who they are as a person. What country is that person from? What race does that person claim to be? Can you look at a picture and determine every person’s race or culture? I would personally state that you cannot judge a person by the shade of their skin. 

I myself am a member of the Cherokee Nation Tribe of Oklahoma. I am an award-winning traditional Cherokee basket weaver. I participate in tribal activities. I was raised in the Cherokee culture, and I am raising my children with the Cherokee culture and belief system. My skin color is light. 

My daughter is Latina and Cherokee. She has light complexion and blond hair with blue eyes. Does that make her “white”? No, she is beautifully Hispanic and Cherokee. 

Cultural diversity is the inclusion of different cultures to benefit the whole team. You want different opinions, problem solving skills, and consumer voices. For teams to work effectively they cannot have the same experiences and viewpoints on a product or service. We have to look beyond skin color and into the heart of culture and support each other for our uniqueness and diversity. 

Talisha Lewallen is the Founder and CEO of WP Connects and the former Director of Operations for Post Status.

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