Diversiphobes and The Underground Derailroad

derailroadThe Diversiphobe mental frame influences one to devalue differences.  In the worst of cases, the frame results in the most simplistic, superficial description of persons evoking not merely a stereotype, but a visceral reaction to a perceived threat at some level. Diversiphobia is indicated by the primitive use of differences as a proxy for culture, a countervailing force to diversity.  Author and psychoanalyst Michael Maccoby said “how people describe each other is a kind of warfare…a very primitive way of looking at each other.”  (Authors@Google: Michael Maccoby, YouTube, Dec 10, 2007)

And yet, “ascription,” the most superficial means of attribution, differences, rose out of nowhere to become the primary mode of operational and interpersonal thinking as the centerpiece of the Diversity paradigm. It has worked to actually elevate “a kind of warfare” in the workforce rather than abate it. Diversiphobes, fueled by “differences,” have built and successfully maintained defensive structures, bulwarks characterized as “ceilings” that have derailed attempts at encroachment of “differences” upon cherished and securely held turf. Diversiphobes have their own sets of crystal clear sound bites to represent differences, and  they’ve developed an “Underground Derailroad” that countermines Diversity programs and bolsters diversiphobia.  In one company, efforts at D&I were so unsuccessful, one employee asked, “Can’t we simply stop hiring Diversiphobes?”  The other responded,  “Who would be left to do the work?

The Diversity paradigm has focused more on changing the attitudes of Diversiphobes, and less on developing critical socio-emotional frameworks for helping nontraditional professionals with coping and navigation.  D&I fails to address that primitive “kind of warfare” by taking a predominantly defensive, conformist posture, a non-prosecutorial approach to managing culture at that most primitive levels of human interaction.  Diversity consultants generally aren’t hired to conduct proactive training to enable or empower Diversiphiles to proactively manage the invisible but well evidenced ‘pushback’ from frustrated and angry Diversiphobes. It is instead usually a one-way campaign of “therapy” for curing Diversiphobes, whose resentment can grow with each new wave of mandated training.

Ironically, even acknowledging the organizational existence of Diversiphobes as anything more than the schizophrenic imaginings of Diversiphiles is tantamount to treason in any business.  No Chief Diversiphobia Officer will ever be appointed to manage it, nor an anti-diversiphobia program promoted. Thus Diversiphobes are endowed with the advantage of invisibility, their existence generally denied.

Yet the evidence of their presence abounds in organizations and societies that appear to be diverse, but remain homogenous at their core in almost every respect.  The Underground Derailroad is alive and well, working to smuggle its passengers and organizations toward freedom from Diversity.

Diversiphobe™ is a thought topology, a frame of reference, just as Diversiphile® is a separate and distinct mirror-image thought topology and frame, each with associated and identifiable systems of belief, attitudes and behaviors.  In a culture context, they are learned, and can therefore be unlearned. The change function or “unlearning process” is accomplished through facilitating a dynamic state between the two, a “culturefaring” third space of neutrality.

CONTACT US for information on the Managing and Working Effectively With the Diversiphile™ or Diversiphobe™ in your business or professional career, and how to escape the cycle of conflict between Diversiphobes™ and Diversiphiles™ through a CultureNeutral® Framework.

Diversiphobe™ and/or Diversiphile® branded Training and Coaching facilitates work and professional behaviors and attitudes centered in the achievement of cultural
equanimity in challenging intercultural work environments.

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