One way white people like to exert their privilege in the inclusion debate is to create this myth of what I like to call cheap inclusion. It goes something like this. Can we coexist? Can we tolerate each other? I think I can put up with this person in the workplace. They want to do just enough to get by.
They are willing to build diverse workplaces by welcoming differences to have a seat at the table; they are unwilling to ensure inclusion by allowing those differences to have an equal voice at the table.
One way they do this is by playing the political correctness card. When we finally get to the table and say we are offended by the dominate group, the subordinate group is often accused of being politically correct.
American Indians get this all the time. When we say using our names as sports mascots is offensive, white people say you are politically correct. When we say to white people you should not dress up like American Indians at Halloween, white people say you are politically correct. When we say stop using terms like “low on the totem pole” and “hold the fort” white people say you are politically correct. When we say federal holidays like Columbus Day, Presidents Day and Thanksgiving are offensive; they say we are politically correct. When we say your teaching of American history is rooted in white bias and inaccuracy, they say we are politically correct.
What white people are really saying is they are not going to give up their power and privilege to build truly inclusive workplaces and communities. For to relinquish this power, would be an admission that they are ready to fully recognize and embrace the differences of people who do not look like them or act like them. One way they wield this power while they are still in the majority is to rally all of their fellow white people to join the effort to put down this rebellion rooted in shared power. This is easy to do since most of their members come from places of privilege and power in the first place. We have to put these upstarts in their place they grumble. They can sit at that table but they can just coexist.
They are very slick with their responses to subordinate groups who are demanding a voice at the table and a listening audience. People of color often hear statements from white people as they highlight their alleged diversity resumes.
• I married a person of color.
• I have traveled extensively around the world.
• My family was oppressed like yours.
Sometimes when they are desperate they will defend their privilege from a nuclear arsenal of other white bias energy sources such as the media, history, religion, education and government. These are easy repositories of resources for them since they have exclusive access to these institutions any way.
Another reason they refuse to share power is if they did, they would have to acknowledge their own participation in the historical oppression of the people they claim are politically correct.
Keep playing the political correctness card. It is just a matter of time before you and your ancestors will know what it feels like to be in the minority. No worries. You will not lose your place at the table or your voice. Because it will be led by people who originally welcomed you to this country and learned the true lessons of coexistence from you.