Scene: a glass walled meeting room with a large table and a number of folk in business clothes are sat discussing things.
Mei: Our thanks to River for their presentation on cost savings while out of the office. This brings us to item four on the agenda, our cancellation of our contract with the Equality and Diversity Group Initiative, or EDGI as some of you may know them. Ronald, have you got your slides ready?
Ronald starts clicking on his laptop.
Sarah: Does that mean we’ve hit our diversity goals, Ronald? That does sound good news.
Ronald: Umm. Not exactly.
Faras: Have they failed to provide the consultation and workshops then?
Ronald: Again, not really no.
Mei: Are any of these questions covered in your slides, Ronald?
Ronald: Ah, well, I would have to say no.
An image of some people shaking hands comes on to each person's computer. Everyone is white and male. The term "Inclusive+" fades over the top.
Ronald: I think we can all agree that EDGI have done an incredible job within our organisation. Employee satisfaction is up, the support networks for colleagues with an ethnic background, LGBTQ+, Mens’ Mental Health, Carers, clothing donations to homeless and newly arrived people – the list is pretty long. Plus we’ve made some important changes to working hours, marketing information, and even our customers are recognising our new approach. Our social media tracking is –
Mei: Sorry to cut in, Sarah’s point about goals?
Ronald: This next slide shows the backlog of work we’re yet to start and also what’s in flight. The gender pay gap, ensuring our workforce is more diverse; we need to pick up on those.
Sarah: Okay. Well, with so much to do, why are we letting them go?
Ronald: Well, we did an online survey and we found that our behaviour is affecting a minority of people who are feeling very excluded.
Mei: That’s disappointing given how far we’ve come. Who is this community? I take it EDGI felt they couldn’t assist?
Ronald: Umm, EDGI said they couldn’t engage with that minority.
Sarah: Well, some equality and diversity there! What a sham!
Faras: Did EDGI say why?
Ronald: Yes, they said that – hold on, I’ve a quote. Ah yes, “Race Criticalism are a supremacist identity group who reference flawed research to prove…”
Sarah: Go on….
Ronald: “… the natural order around genetic inheritance that alleges proof of superior intelligence based on racial background.”
Faras: Natural order, my arse.
Mei: Excuse me. How can I ask this? Are you shitting me, Ronald?
Ronald: No, I, er… Well, the Focus Group Management Committee felt that with our acceptance that we needed to improve both our equality and diversity within the workforce, that we were alienating people with critical views. It removed balance from our focus panels.
Faras: There’s a word to describe people who hold and champion those views.
Sarah: Is is the C word?
Faras: Ha ha! Nice. It isn’t but it should be.
Mei: Colleagues, a moment. So, Ronald, just so we’re straight on what you are saying: we are stopping employing a respected and trusted educational partner who have helped uplift this organisation and indeed others, so we can chase the… frankly, the C Market.
Ronald: I wouldn’t put it quite like that.
Mei: Would racists be a better term? Bigots perhaps? I would mention a certain party from 1930s, but I’ve got a tenner on not breaking Godwin’s Law with Faras.
Faras: Say it, you know you want to, Mei. That tenner will be mine before the week is out.
Ronald: Our research panel found they considered that a slur.
Faras: What, Nazi?
Sarah: Ha ha! You owe Mei a tenner.
Ronald: Talking of money, we’ve let EDGI go and saved –
Faras: Mate, this is so wrong. I don’t even know where to start.
Sarah: I think I do. I think what we’re saying is, this organisation feels that it’s better to give a hate group, who actively work to vilify, exclude, and belittle people because of their skin tone or cultural heritage; validity and respect than it is to prevent the abuse, trauma, and loss of rights to people who are literally sat next to you!
Ronald: Well, not everyone in this room…?
Sarah: My Dad is from Iran originally and my Mum’s family came from France during the war. I’m also on their list. Or, am I only half genetically subnormal according to the research?
Faras: Go on, Ron, say I’m alright, Jack.
Ronald: But, I’m just the messenger! It wasn’t my id-
Mei: That you thought this idea that this was okay, not only now but during the whole research panel shows how EDGI’s work is so very needed.
Sarah closes the lid on Ronald's laptop.
Mei: Ronald, the view of this board is both you and the Focus Group Management Committee will report to myself this afternoon at 2pm to reflect on your choices.
Ronald: Understood. Two PM, yes?
Mei: Yes, that’s right. So, meeting is adjourned. I’ll circulate the actions. Faras?
Faras: Yes, boss?
Mei: About that tenner you owe me.
Of course, a publicly funded institution wouldn’t walk away from a leading equality charity would they? What sort of signal would that give to the public and LGBTQ+ employees?