Jul 23

Does Diversity Really Matter?

PWEM-diversity2-2Recently in a news release published on the City of Cincinnati Website, Chief Jeffrey Blackwell was quoted as saying “Having a workplace that resembles your communities’ demographics is critically important in your public service delivery efforts and we are proud of that in Cincinnati.” This made me wonder how important diversity is, and what efforts were made to achieve the results obtained in the makeup of the 104th Recruit Class. Did the results occur naturally, or was it necessary that some qualified individuals be passed over to achieve the balance desired. If candidates were passed over to achieve the balance, did the City actually hire the best qualified candidates?

The next question that comes to mind is to what degree of granularity should the concept of “representing your community” be taken. For example, is it important that units within the police department represent the community they serve? Than if so, than I believe there is work yet to be done. For example, the Youth Services Squad is predominately composed of African-American Officers. Does this represent the community they serve? Another interesting example is the ethnic makeup of the “Chief’s Office” which, based on the June 2014 Organizational Chart, is made up as follows: An African-American Police Chief, an African-American Executive Assistant, an African-American Adjutant, an African-American City Hall Safety Liaison, an African-American Public Information Officer, an African-American assistant Public Information Officer, an African-American Executive Aide/External Project Coordinator, and a female white Community Liaison Unit Commander. Additionally, reporting directly to the Police Chief is the Finance Management Section. This section is comprised exclusively of female members, both white and African-American. Hmmm, not a white male in the bunch. How diverse is that? Apparently diversity doesn’t count when the Police Chief selects his staff.

While discussing the concept of diversity, I can’t help but wonder how diverse the entire city workforce really is. The last I recall, almost all individuals who serve at the level of Director are persons of color. Many of them appointed by former City Manager Milton Dohoney. Does the entire city workforce represent the community they serve? Is each department fully diverse and each sub unit in each department diverse as well? I don’t have the numbers, but would be interested in seeing them.

Chief Blackwell also said “Perspective, balance, and increased efficiencies are all by-products of a diverse workforce”. I would be interested in seeing the data that supports this comment. I believe when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, most citizens really don’t give two hoots about this. Do you think a citizen who is a victim of a crime in progress cares what the racial make up is of the Police Officers who respond and protect them? If you are in a burning building, would it matter if the hero who came to save you was white or African-American? When you damage your car driving to work, is it important that the work crew that comes to fill the pothole be diverse? At what point is the line drawn to define diversity? Should there be inclusion of all groups? Should there be inclusion of the gay and lesbian community? Should we ensure proportional representation of Christians, Jews, and Muslims? What of other ethnic groups? Italian Americans? Irish Americans? This list could be broken down to the point of ridiculous, or are we already there?

Those are my thoughts, what are yours?

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4 comments

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    • Tim on July 23, 2014 at 12:18 pm
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    I’m tired of being called white. I want to be known as a European-American.

      • Scott on July 23, 2014 at 1:06 pm
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      I prefer Other Than White!

    • Rachel Baldwin on July 23, 2014 at 1:45 pm
    • Reply

    Great points!!

    • Anonymous on December 5, 2016 at 8:54 pm
    • Reply

    I just want to be me, is that so hard any more ?

Feel free to comment, why should I have the last word.

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