I had a conversation this past week with an author looking for a quote from me on some diversity topics, and since I’m in HR, well, of course I’m finely suited to talk diversity. Here’s what I found funny, though, about the whole experience – I found myself thinking less about coming up with some profound wisdom to share with the masses, and more about making sure I don’t come across like some Grand Master of the KKK. This is when it hit me – HR doesn’t get White People! You know – guys like me – white – male – 40ish; I’m like a Purple Squirrel in HR! I mean in HR we are all about diversity. Diversity is what we do, so we live it, we hire it, we are IT!
But, I get it. I’m fine walking this lonely road within HR and being a white male. It’s what HR is all about, right? Diversity! And what says Diversity more than a white male 40ish short dude, in HR – I know crazy right!? It’s like your mom in IT pumping out JAVA code – it just doesn’t fit. So, as usual, I’m here to help – so I give to you this holiday season my first gift:
HR’s Guide To White People:
1. Passive-Aggressive: It’s critical that you understand that white people are passive-aggressive. We like to get our way, but we don’t want to get our hands dirty. We aren’t going to get up-all-in-your face, we will subtly torture you until you do it our way.
2. Throwing Ourselves On The Sword: White people like to feel bad, we love tragedy – but in a good way – well the best way you can take a tragedy! It makes us feel good inside knowing it’s going to be bad, and might get worse. It allows us to complain and have lower expectations.
3. We Want To Be Hip: White people desperately want to be hip, but we can’t figure out that whole – Nigga v. Nigger thing – so we give up – see points 1 and 2 above. We listen to hip-hop and rap, but only by ourselves, and we label it “urban” on our iPod lists so not to offend.
4. We like to buy really expensive cheap crap if it helps animals or kids: Stop it, don’t judge – but I would definitely step over 3 homeless people to get a new pair of Tom’s! But not four homeless people, I have emotional limits, and short legs. Your welcome poor kid who just got a new pair of shoes – that makes me feel so good inside!
5. Snow Sports: White people like snow sports. You don’t have to be real athletic, and you need a bunch of money to do it – so it fits us pretty well. Stop having conventions in warm places – how about a freaking convention in Breckenridge or Vail every once in a while, you racist convention planners!
6. Management: White people don’t really like management – don’t get me wrong – we want to be management, just so we are clear. We just don’t want somebody managing us.
7. Leadership: Yes, this is different than management. Let’s face it, white people love to cheer-lead and nothing says cheerleader, motivation and Tony Robbins like Leadership! Give me a 6 set series of DVD’s and a book on tape and get out of my way!
8. Diversity: See no. 3, somehow we think that supporting diversity will get us a best friend who is black, Hispanic or Asian – thus make us so much more hipper than those white people who are to scared to speak to non-white people.
9. Awareness: White people love to be Aware! Aware of your feelings, aware of the situation in north Africa, aware of just about anything – it makes us feel important.
10. Being An Expert on YOUR culture: Since white people aren’t completely thrilled about their own culture, we love being an expert about YOUR culture. We will travel to your country, we will learn your language, we will take on your religion. It helps cleanse our soul for past digressions.
Bonus Guide to White People likes: Coffee, Organic Food, Gifted Children, Hating Their Parents, Wine, Microbrews, Farmer’s Markets, 80s Nights and Mos Def.
Use these insights wisely to create an environment your white people will feel comfortable and welcomed in. Now I’m off to listen to PBS and drink an $8 bottle of water.