Exploiting Identity: When Insiders Use Diversity to Their Advantage

Diversity is about equality and justice, but sometimes it’s treated as a commodity. A college plasters its website with people of color to look more diverse. A company belatedly adds a woman to an otherwise all-male panel because it’s worried about optics. A person accused of transphobia rattles off the names of their trans friends. In all these cases, members of ingroups benefit from using the identities of an outgroup in instrumental ways.

University of Denver law professor Nancy Leong explores this phenomenon in her groundbreaking book, Identity Capitalists: The Powerful Insiders Who Exploit Diversity to Maintain Inequality. Join Professor Leong in conversation with Professor Kenji Yoshino, Director of the Center for Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging, to discuss the pitfalls of showcasing diversity, and what individuals and organizations can do to be more honest and authentic in their inclusion efforts.