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The Future-Proof Workplace by Marshall Goldsmith, Morag Barrett, Linda Sharkey

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Chapter 6Diversity and InclusionFuture Inclusion

There are biases—some conscious and unconscious—that have to be rooted out.

—President Barack Obama

Did you know that in the 1960s the population of the United States was 90 percent white? For those of us who were alive then and those who are Caucasian, that's the context in which we were brought up.

Our tribe was white, but that didn't mean that everyone got along and that there was no prejudice. Remember all the now politically incorrect jokes that circulated during the '60s, '70s, and '80s? It was okay to tell Polish jokes and pick on other ethnic groups. Racial jokes were rampant.

Groups were excluded just because they were from different countries or practiced difference religions that were not mainstream. It's not that the country was not diverse—it was, but it was white diversity. Exclusionary behavior toward certain groups was a daily occurance.

Many of us have grown up with stereotypes and an aversion to people who are different from us. These were sometimes subtle differences, often not rooted in obvious physical differences. Sometimes they were differences of thought, values, behaviors, and how we lived our lives. They existed nonetheless. By virtue of being human we are exclusionary, prejudiced, and biased toward our own preferences and ways of life.

A common lament went something like this, “As a company we invested in a woman's training, then she would start having children and leave the company.” The popular television ...

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