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Could this book change the way we look at Equality and Diversity forever?

Something must be wrong when twenty years of graft has been put into make society a fairer place and we are still at square one .

Binna Kandola

(pictured above) co-founder of

Pearn Kandola

,  a consultancy who are leaders in the field of business psychology,  may have found the answer to why we have all achieved so little progress in Equality and Diversity despite our good intentions.



He has published a groundbreaking book which is set to influence the approach of diversity practitioners forever.  Where the traditional approach has been to look at the organisation and its practises Binna says a lot of the answers lie within us. He argues that we are all consciously and unconsciously bias towards those we identify with.  This is a tendency that is “hardwired” into our minds that may have served a purpose during our earlier primitive human history to help identify threats. This clearly means those we don’t have a bias towards could be seen as a threat, and this could be an unconscious phenomenon we are all vulnerable too.



Binna Kandola argues that it’s controversial to start with the premise that we are all bias, and to a large extent that’s why this approach hasn’t been considered seriously before. As a society we are much more comfortable for blaming and others for prejudice. The thought of someone being racist or favouring someone because of their gender for example has been stigmatised so strongly to be associated with the most undesirable characteristics in our society we don’t want to identify with this behaviour at all. But if we are all unconsciously programmed to be bias, without accepting it as a starting point real progress cannot be made according to the respected professor.



We favour people “who are more like us” to help boost our own self esteem. It allows us to categorize other groups and places our perceived group in a higher hierarchy.  Blaming others for bias when you consider these factors can bring up emotional and heated reactions. How many of us for example would be prepared to admit in front of their colleagues that they are biased towards a particular group? The book explores topics that are very rarely discussed in organisations but are ever present (because they are part of our make-up as humans) i.e. prejudice, bias, privilege and power.



While we are aware of conscious bias, it’s even more important to discover our unconscious bias as this stands in the way of us making fair decisions. Binna Kandola used a series of tests to identify his unconscious bias, apparently widely available online, to test his theory on himself.  He too learnt that he had a bias towards Asian people. Having worked as a practitioner in psychology, diversity and equality it came as complete surprise to him.  In another test conducted that is described in his book he unravels that both men and women have an unconscious bias to men being in senior positions.



Trevor Phillips Chair of the  Equality and Human Rights Commission has shown strong support for Binna’s argument and his new book, he is quoted as saying:-



"Electrifying! This rigorously researched and densely argued book will challenge all of us. Essential reading for anyone who leads a company or public body"

The Chair of the Equality Human Rights Commission clearly sees this book as a breakthrough in how Equality and Diversity will be approached.  He adds,



“This is a book that puts science in the locker of the Equality and Diversity professional.  A new tool which will help us deal with a business problem or organisational objectives. This needs to be a tool for all, not just those who want to do the right thing, but those who want to do things well.”


This book puts forward a logical argument for the way forward for Diversity and explains how our journey so far has delivered so little. Binna Kandola may have found the key element to making a diversity and equality strategy work, us.

No doubt his theories will be tested further and it wouldn’t be too surprising if further vindication of his theory will follow. This book could change the way we approach Equality and Diversity forever. It certainly appears to be a must read for anyone who practises in the Equality and Diversity field. 

to order a copy visit the following link

http://www.pearnkandola.com/thevalueofdifference.html

Ends

posted by, Asif Yusuf

 

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