Bridgerton 

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 

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