It’s trending. It’s on t.v. It’s about the life’s and loves of the
aristocracy in Regency England. So what’s it got to do with diversity
and inclusion in your organisation?
Bridgerton a Netflix costume
drama reimagines Regency England as a place where black people existed
as equals with whites. And that’s a game change.
Netflix has a Vice President of inclusion responsible the
organisation inclusion strategy. That in itself is impressive but
their employment statistics are even more impressive. Netflix has just
presented their first inclusion report which shows their workforce in
the US comprises of 47% women and 46% black and minority ethic
employees. But that‘s not what has caused HR professionals to tune
into a costume drama set in Regency England about the lives and loves
of the aristocracy.
The first thing that strikes you when watching Bridgerton is the
number of black people in Regency England who were part of the
aristocratic society in London, not as servants but as members of the
well to do. What struck many views, like me, was how remiss our
history lessons had been at school. Then I read a quote from Netflix
Vice President of inclusion who explained that this very popular
costume drama reimagines Regency England as a place where black
people existed as equals with whites.
The VP for inclusion states that her team encourage programme makers
to ensure that shows are diverse , though she emphasises that
ultimately casting is a creative decision. In the past many programme
makers would have taken the view that casting for a period drama had
to be historically accurate. In which case black actors could not be
cast unless the part specifically called for a black character.
However Bridgerton appears to have demonstrated that the viewing
public is prepared accept a alternative reality where the aristocracy
includes a large proportion who are black.
Applying the Netflix /Bridgerton approach to inclusion in your
organisation would mean all post are filled by women until such a time
as they are equally represented in the organisation. That is until
they represented approximately 50% of the workforce at every level.
Basically positive discrimination. The same wold apply to black and
minority ethnic employees although the percentage would be different
reflecting the ethnic makeup of the population. As in the case of
Netflix programme makers appointments would still be a management decision.
I exaggerate for effect but could the Netflix programme makers
have given new life to the idea of positive discrimination?
Blair Mcpherson former d author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk