The bad news is that everyone has implicit biases — beliefs that are so ingrained that we don’t even know they’re there. And those implicit biases often find a way out of our mouths or through our behaviors as microaggressions, which are usually meant as compliments, “but contain hidden insults,” according to the WSBA Diversity Dictionary.
Out in the real world, this might take the form of someone telling Joy Williams that her hair is beautiful and then asking to touch it. For the person asking, specifically a white person, this might feel like a compliment; for Williams, a black woman, it translates to “you are not like me — you are other.” Read more
IBM is suing Microsoft for hiring its former chief diversity officer, according to a recent Seattle Times story. It’s a move that has some employment lawyers puzzled; non-compete agreements usually aren’t enforced over positions not tied to a company’s core product or business. As the WSBA’s Diversity and Inclusion specialist, I find it interesting to think about the idea of “IBM’s diversity trade secrets” and how the market intersects with the values and goals of diversity. In order to be competitive, companies are trying to claim ownership of their approach to diversity and inclusion, especially in recruiting. Read more
*Warning: This word — the actual word — is a prominent part of the article below. It has been somewhat sanitized in the title because, I understand, it’s a word that can shock, cause discomfort, and shut down readers before they even get to the substance — but please understand, as a person of color, as an African American and as a gay black woman, I encounter this word and its accompanying degradation every day; hopefully that truth is even more shocking and uncomfortable.
Equity, inclusion, and justice within the legal profession are under attack and it’s time to fight back. The legal profession is not the place for racist individuals, biased laws, and hateful rhetoric, yet they continue to find space to flourish. Read more
In October, as part of Disability Awareness Month, the WSBA Diversity Program partnered with the Washington Attorneys with Disabilities Association to present a program entitled Beyond the Dialogue: Disability and Ableism within the Legal Profession. Read more
Around a large conference table at Perkins Coie in Seattle, twelve young attorneys of the Washington Leadership Institute listened attentively as a local Muslim-American lawyer spoke about media portrayal of Islam. The lawyer, Aneelah Afzali, issued a call to action, urging her audience to know Muslim people and challenge the media’s portrayal of Islam. Read more