I must admit to having a little sigh when I heard the news that Twitter had appointed a white man as its new Head of Diversity.
On the other hand, since I myself spend a great deal of time with Boards and senior leadership teams saying things like “you don’t have to be… fill in the blank… in order to address it”, I quickly had a word with myself.
It could be that this white man demonstrates brilliantly that you don’t have to be a woman, or black, in order to address racism and sexism. I have no idea about the new Head of Diversity’s social identity in relation to religion, sexual orientation, disability, or social class. He may well bring his own sophisticated analysis of how subtle and unsubtle advantage and disadvantage operate in organisational settings: from his own experience, or that of family or friends, or from a thoughtful consideration of and commitment to social justice. He may be the person most willing and able to do something about these challenges, so that Twitter can recruit and retain the best people, not only those who look just like the people already there.
So, having had a word with myself, let’s see what the new Twitter Head of Diversity does, and be ready to celebrate his successes. Let’s see what he can do to address the under-representation of BAME staff, women, and so on, in those roles without the word ‘diversity’ in the title.