Note from: You know, it’s funny, but sometimes you DO have to be careful with how a word or an agenda is being used. Now, I won’t deny that all this time I have championed the possibility of more black Brazilians attaining opportunities to shine, no doubt. But there DOES also come a time when you have to scrutinize certain buzzwords and the agendas that may be behind them. In this particular case, the world I speak of is “diversity”. “Diversity” can refer to mixing up peoples of varying backgrounds and identities in a number of ways, and in those multiple ways, it can sometimes be used to undermine any of the people who are told such a practice will open up the path to more of their particular representation. I won’t delve too deep into this issue right now, but for those of you who know what I’m hinting at, you already know what I mean so I’m gonna keep on moving.
Of course, Liliane Rocha should be congratulated for her accomplishment, again, if we’re just judging on the surface level. But on the other hand, I DO wonder if she is familiar with the not-so-great side of one Mahatma Gandhi, who Liliane refers to as one of the greatest humanitarian leaders we have ever had on the planet. I mean, I’m not sure that Mahatma Gandhi would be someone who would be congratulating for her for her award. This is why it’s always necessary that we investigate how the media presents certain people for the masses to know but then the same media conveniently hides the rather unsavory facts about such people.
What I mean is, I don’t think Liliane would speak so warmly about Gandhi if she knew that he referred to black people as Kaffirs, a derogatory term used in reference to black people in South Africa, somewhat similar in its use as the term “nigger” in the United States. Liliane also probably doesn’t know that Gandhi referred to native South Africans as “half-heathens”. In his writings, on more than one occasion, Gandhi expressed his view that Indians were superior to Africans. And although Gandhi’s image has remained for the most part intact in the terms of the human rights struggle, many Africans, after having learning of Ghandi’s sentiments toward them, are reacting and rejecting him as a figure to be honored. In Ghana, for example, a petition and protests have lead to the removal of a statue from a university campus in Accra in honor of the man who gained fame for his stance against British imperialism. According to the petition that led to the removal of the statue, Gandhi was a racist and, in an African country, African heroes should be honored first.
So, while I celebrate Liliane in her accomplishment, I also warn that some of the very people one may defend in a strong push towards diversity so that “we are all eqaul”, can be and often are, the very same people who will discriminate against your people.
Brazilian awarded for her work for the appreciation of diversity
By Alana Gandra
The consultant Liliane Rocha was the only Brazilian among 101 global leaders, rewarded for her role in the struggle for the appreciation of diversity in Brazil. The 101 Top Global Diversity & Inclusion award was presented this week during the 3rd World Diversity and Inclusion Congress held in Mumbai, India, during the World Congress on Human Resource Development.
This event has taken place for 27 years and brings together leaders from around the world to discuss the future of the work. Global leaders are recognized that make companies more inclusive and value diversity among their employees.
Liliane is the president and founder of the management consulting firm Kairós, specializing in sustainability and diversity. A Brazilian from a humble background, she has faced the challenges of being a woman and black from an early age. From India, Liliane told Agência Brasil about the honor of being included among the 101 world leaders chosen by the congress.
“They felt that the work I have been doing is legitimate, a job of reference, an important job and so they invited me to be in the land of Mahatma Gandhi, one of the greatest humanitarian leaders we have ever had on the planet, to talk about diversity,” she said.
She assessed that the future of the global labor market has to be inclusive. “We are in a moment of humanity where people want equality, they want equity, they want social justice,” she said. At the congress, Liliane shared the reality of Brazil and knew the reality of other countries.
Since 2015, Gestão Kairós has held more than 100 lectures and training workshops, attended by more than 8 thousand people. “They started to think and reflect with us about what diversity is, how to be more inclusive in our company, in our society, in our daily life,” she said.
Liliane’s plan is to consolidate the work of Kairós Management in Brazil, in partnership with companies from various segments, to talk about diversity and inclusion for a larger number of people.
It is not the first time that Liliane has represented Brazil in events abroad. In 2017, she shared her experience on diversity at London’s first inclusive online leadership conference. In 2018, she was invited by the European Commission to open the National Diversity Forum of Portugal, which was attended by representatives of large European companies.