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This is me speaking about DEI in Tech on Lenovo Late Night I.T. Season 2!

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What's a "Diversity Hire?" It's Time to Desegregate Internship and Fellowship Job Titles.

This blog post originally appeared in DEI in 5, my curated weekly newsletter highlighting current DEI news.

"We are actively seeking applications from Black, Latinx, AAPI, and Native American talent as well as from members of the LGBTQ+ community, veterans and individuals with disabilities."

Today, I came across (what appears to be) an amazing summer internship opportunity for a Diversity Fellow at a communications agency (if you're interested, shoot me a message and I'll share the details). Seeing this blatant call-out specific to recruiting ethnic diversity, I thought: Yes! As you should be. But, is the term "Diversity Fellow" necessary?" Why not just "Fellow?" 🤔

Modern illustration of a diverse group of young people assembling a 'UNITY' puzzle in vibrant, contemporary styles.

Last week, I shared a LinkedIn post expressing how the phrase "diversity hire" can feel othering. A handful of people chimed in and shared their thoughts as well.

Having designed and led several diversity hiring programs in tech, I understand their critical role. In most cases, diversity doesn’t just happen. It requires intentionality. However, I now question the use of "diversity" when we refer to people. After all, an individual cannot be diverse. Diversity refers to a group’s collective mix of differences.

Words matter.

Often without realizing it, we send subtle signals that highlight differences, subtly reminding someone of their 'otherness' compared to the majority. We often refer to these as microaggressions. This might not cause immediate harm, but over time, these reminders accumulate and can be damaging.

But kudos to this company for advancing its DEI initiatives and working to diversify what seems to be a historically homogeneous organization. To be clear, I am not here to dismiss their efforts. This is just meant to serve as a reminder that DEI is an ongoing journey, not a destination—and yes, I know I say this often!

With all this in mind, while I've expressed concerns about labeling roles with “diversity,” I'm open to other views. Different experiences might highlight the benefits of such terminology. Do you see any advantages in including “diversity” in job titles that might outweigh the drawbacks? Feel free to share your thoughts with me on Linkedin. And be sure to check out DEI in 5 Episode 2: I Am Not Your “Diversity Hire.”



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