News Highlights: Week of September 11

Supreme Court allows broad Trump refugee ban, by Lawrence Hurley and Dan Levine of Reuters

What is a “bona fide” relationship? This question was a point of confusion for many refugee families when the Supreme Court ruled it a requirement for entering the U.S. back in June. Last Thursday, San Francisco’s 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals defined it to include grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins of legal U.S. residents. The 9th Circuit also covered refugees who have a formal offer from a resettlement agency, which would have allowed an additional 24,000 refugees to enter the country, but that part of the ruling was overturned. Now that some curbs to the ban have been reversed, those affected are anxiously awaiting the Supreme Court’s next ruling in October.

Colorblind Diversity Efforts Don’t Work, by Joelle Emerson of Harvard Business Review

Multinational professional services firm Deloitte recently announced the termination of their Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). Deloitte’s move can be viewed as a colorblind approach to diversity, which researchers maintain is ineffective. The rationale for colorblind policies might appear sound at first: it’s important for all employees to take part in diversity initiatives and ERGs exclude white male employees. That said, studies show two problems with this approach: 1) colorblind policies can make underrepresented employees feel less engaged, and 2) pretending that we are a colorblind society is exhausting. It can lead white employees to show more biased behaviors and avoid collaboration with unfamiliar groups. Emerson suggests that instead of scrapping ERGs for fear of exclusion, companies should re-evaluate how their ERGs are run: have allies been invited to join the group? Have those allies been given tools to serve as advocates? Do they know what they can do to effect change? And finally, is leadership involved at the ground level?

In the Art World, ‘Latinx’ Marks a Gender-Free Spot, by Jori Finkel of The New York Times

Have you heard of the term “Latinx”? It’s used as a gender-neutral alternative to “Latina/Latino” and has grown in popularity since 2004. The question of whether to use the term has popped up during the planning of California’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a sweep of art exhibits from 240 Latinx artists that kicks off this week. Event planners fear that “Latinx” isn’t recognizable enough and may interfere with online searches, and some say it’s awkward or unnecessary. Meanwhile, supporters of the term explain that adding the “x” is a deliberate political act that calls out issues with traditional gender terms (like how a group of “Latinas” is referred to as “Latinos” if even one man joins the group). For now, P.S.T. planners are sticking with “Latino,” but a number of curators for the event are moving forward with the more inclusive “Latinx.”

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