January 2, 2008

What's Wrong with this Picture?





This is the picture you'll find at Association Trends and this is the description of the article (subscription required): Some of the top assn executives identify the trends & issues of the year: leadership - both staff and volunteer, governance, federal scrutiny, lobbying, climate change, networking opportunities and an assn's relevance

No offense to any of the accomplished individuals, each of whom I know has interesting insights to share. But when I changed my calendar the other day, I turned the page to 2008, not 1978. We simply cannot continue to feature speakers, authors, and experts who aren't more representative of the demographic makeup of the world in which we live.

4 comments:

Mark said...

Amen Jeff. This makes it look like we only pay lip service to diversity.

Josh Goldman said...

Excellent observation. Do we know the demographics of CSO's. My guess is the sample is sadly representative of the population.

Anonymous said...

Jeff? I don't get it. I honestly don't. By looking at the collection of pictures I have no clue as to the background of the individuals - unless I start making some peculiar assumptions.

Are any of these folks Gay? Deaf? Blind? (PC terms to the side to make this post more concise) Physically Handicapped? Subject to Depression? Where were they born? Raised? What are their social backgrounds? Religion? etc. etc. In other words, how do we know how diverse they really are?

You make the statement that we cannot continue to feature speakers, authors and experts... who don't represent the demographic makeup of the world we live in - are you communicating that YOU will be cutting back on your speaking? Consulting? Writing? Because based on your photo you certainly 'look' as if you could fit neatly into that panorama of individuals.

I've seen a spate of this type of objections to a lineup of people, and they always puzzle me.

If I took ALL the posts in the ASAE EXEC listserve from the last year and selected out the top dozen MOST insightful comments - then obtained the pictures of the posters - would I then be subject to the same criticism if those top dozen posts came from the same type of grouping as the Assn Trends list? Even though the selection process was totally oblivious to all those attributes that make up diversity?

Without going into my background - I can't afford to be seen as someone who questions something so 'PC' - my upbringing has made me colour blind. I judge people on their many things but not on the things that others seem to obsess over when the issue of 'diversity' raises it's head.

Just wanted to post an alternative view on this issue.

Anonymous said...

This reminds me in a depressing way that women and minorities are still discriminated against when it comes to upper-level positions. The Baby Boomers can't retire fast enough to help a lot of us.