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Diversity Needs to Become More Diverse

In Dr. Michael Brown’s book, A Queer Thing Happened to America, he recalls a very interesting interaction he had with Caribou Coffee Company. Here is what he had to say:

A similar exchange of emails (albeit with a more ironic ending!) took place in 2008 when another coffee chain, Caribou Coffee, sponsored the Pride Charlotte event. In response to my concerns, Lauren Mihhajlov, Director of Brand Marketing, wrote back to me and explained that Caribou would ‘continue our sponsorship as we know it is important to the communities in which we operate.’ She also noted that ‘we strive to be a part of our neighborhoods and communities, as this is one of our core values. In being good community members, we also endeavor to be inclusive of all members of our community.’

I wrote back to Ms. Mihhajlov and stated that, while I was disappointed with the response, in keeping ‘with this clearly stated core value of your company, we want to officially invite you to be a sponsor at our second “Not Ashamed Charlotte” event planned for this coming May.’

I explained that, ‘This is a wonderful, positive, wholesome event, reflective of the values of tens of thousands of citizens here, an event in which we celebrate the family (highlighting the importance of male-female marriage and of teen sexual purity) and underscore the sanctity of human rights, beginning in the womb.’

I informed her that we already had sponsorship commitments from some fine local companies, and we would love to include you in our list of sponsors. Our previous event in 2006 drew positive coverage from the local media along with the participation of a diverse cross-section of the greater Charlotte community.

Your participation in the event would send a great signal to our constituency that you do, in fact, mean what you say when you write that ‘we strive to be a part of our neighborhoods and communities, as this is one of our core values.’

And how did Caribou respond? They would not sponsor our event because they were ‘inclusive.’ I kid you not! And I imagine they said it with a straight face too. -Brown, Michael (2011-05-25). A Queer Thing Happened To America: And what a long, strange trip it’s been (Kindle Locations 5913-5917). BookMasters. Kindle Edition.

This insane and ironic form of diversity reminds me of an episode of The Office when Michael Scott leads a meeting on diversity:

Michael’s words towards Toby remind me of today’s ‘diversity’. Caribou says:

At Caribou Coffee Company, Inc., we wholeheartedly value diversity. It makes us more aware of the world around us. And we’re better because of it. We don’t discriminate based on gender, race, creed, color, age, religion or sexual orientation and we are committed to a diverse workforce. Our benefits package also includes domestic partner benefits for those employees who work more than 20 hours per week. -Caribou’s Diversity Statement

Caribou sponsors gay-pride events, but when it comes to an invitation to sponsor an event that promotes traditional family values Caribou gives the Michael Scott, “Get the [heck] out of here.” Apparently, Caribou’s diversity needs to become more diverse.

Need more evidence? Okay! Davidson College in North Carolina has now become one of the first colleges to suspend Chick-fil-A from serving food at college sanctioned events according to the Huffington Post. Want to hear the ironic part? This is what the Union Board of Davidson College said after the suspension came down:

We reached out to the Union Board members to begin initial conversations but because the board operates on consensus decision-making, a final decision is being put off until we can have face to face conversations and gather more student input. Until a final decision is made, alternative options will be served at After Midnight and other Union Board events. The Davidson College Union Board is firmly committed to building an inclusive community that serves each member of our student body.

Did you catch that? Davidson College is ‘committed to building an inclusive community, but if you are a Bible believing Christian then, “Get the [heck] out of here.” Apparently, our American college’s need to have a better definition of diversity.

The ironic nature of these situations is maddening…Lord have mercy on our souls!

Thanks for reading.

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