On today's Diversity Inc.com
I'm a member of the diversity council in my company - one of few white folks - and I'm often called on for my opinion. Now granted I've done over 10 years of diversity work, but why are you assuming the guys on the regional councils are naive?
I'm also a member of a diversity organization that holds an annual 4 day conference, and we always try to find a frame to discuss whiteness. Last year was most successful. Again, white folks are in the minority, so the four or five women launched a workshop we called, "Everything you ever wanted to know about white people, but were afraid to ask."
It was a hit. We were asked pertinent questions, not jabs, and the most interesting question, that actually stumped us, was "what about being White brings you joy?" Everything we named was either a class thing or was about avoiding what People of Color face all the time (being stalked in stores).
I think you are way too isolated as a white guy - WACAN is forming an on-line dialogue for folks who've attended the White Privilege Conference - there were 900 folks, and probably 300 or more white folks, and all of them that I met have done their own work and are savvy. You really have to reach out more to realize you aren't the only cool white person around.
DiversityInc partner and cofounder Luke Visconti responds:
Comparing average business white men to people who have sought out WACAN is apples and oranges.
Yes, I'm assuming a company that doesn't even apply for the DiversityInc Top 50 has low quality training and "diversity councils" with very little structure and business planning. That's based on my eight years of experience running the Top 50 competition, benchmarking hundreds of companies and presenting to hundreds of "diversity councils."
Most white people in corporate America have no idea what they're talking about when it comes to "diversity" and succumb to making statements that express ignorance to a degree that is detrimental (i.e. "it's all about parenting" or "those people don't value education").
Your mention of being "cool" is interesting. "Cool" has nothing to do with this. If you think you're "cool" and find yourself speaking in "vernacular" or shaking hands in any way but the (white) traditional way, you may want to think again.