278: Blended – Tokenism: The Wrong Route to Diversity

It’s episode 22 of Blended: I’m joined by another fantastic panel of guests and, today, we’re tackling another tricky issue – tokenism. Tokenism is a relatively new idea – the term was only coined in the late 70’s – but we are hearing it more and more as the conversations around diversity and inclusion grow. And, when issues like this arise, that can potentially derail the really good DEI work that so many people are doing, we have a responsibility to address it and get it out in the open – which is one of our favorite things to do on Blended!

Today, our guests will be exploring exactly what tokenism means; sharing their personal experiences; and discussing how we can start to tackle tokenism in the workplace.




[00.54] Introductions to our Blended panelists.

  • Gennifer – Founder/Executive Director at TransNewYork
  • Clarecia – Chief Consultant at Global Compass Consulting Services Inc
  • Breanne – Growth Coordinator at Let’s Talk Supply Chain™

[06.20] The group discusses tokenism: what it means to them, and how it fits into diversity, equity and inclusion.

  • Being reactive vs proactive
  • Issues with awareness days
  • Box ticking
  • What’s visible to the public vs what’s behind closed doors
  • Having a seat at the table, but not a voice
  • Accountability
  • What are businesses actually doing to change hearts and minds, and help educate?
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Incorporating DEI into value systems and business norms, not one-offs

“Tokenism is being included but not being included – it’s about being included in spaces, only because someone wants to tick a box.” Clarecia

[27.37] The group share their personal experiences of tokenism, and the impact those experiences had on both themselves and their communities.

  • Differences between generations
  • Leadership
  • The makeup of C Suite
  • Commitment to change
  • Listening to understand
  • Appreciating others’ experiences, not just treating them as a problem to be solved
  • Sense of belonging

“It’s hard to break down those walls of, not only people using tokenism on me, but me not wanting to feel like I’m projecting tokenism onto somebody else.” Gennifer

[51.03] The panel summarizes their ideas on how organizations can successfully avoid tokenism, and they sum up their thoughts from today’s discussion.

“I would love to see more accountability, more showcasing year round; understanding that everyone, whether it’s for pride or black history month, it’s not a box that everyone fits into… you need to be thinking about everyone as an individual and as unique.” Breanne



You can connect with Gennifer and Clarecia on Instagram. For Breanne, you can shoot her an email at: [email protected].

If you found this episode interesting, you might enjoy Episode 21, Boost Your Bottom Line: Why You Should Be Retaining Diverse Talent or Episode 9, Handling Diversity in Business: Is there a right or wrong answer?

Check out our other podcasts HERE.

Join the secret Society of supply chain

Find out which membership is right for you

Join the
Let's Talk Supply Chain™ Newsletter

Leave a Comment

Shopping Cart