Wake Up, White Guys! Bill Proudman Tackles D & I

“There are people who would say, ‘Just take them (white male executives) out back and give them frontal lobotomies.’ But it’s not that simple.”

Bill Proudman pretty much personifies “white male privilege.” He is not only white – he is big, straight, a native-born American, and he holds an executive position. But that is where the stereotype gives way: Proudman has dedicated the last 17 years to helping white guys dig into diversity & inclusion.

“For a long time, white men have looked to women and people of color to be the teachers and emotional buoys on issues involving differences,” says Proudman, founding partner and CEO of White Men as Full Diversity Partners (WMFDP) based in Portland, Ore. This mindset is evident every time a man describes himself as “the token white male” on the diversity committee, Proudman points out. “He is saying, ‘I don’t know anything, and I can’t do anything.’”

But the plain truth, says Proudman, is that white males still dominate corporate life in the United States and the higher that women and people of color rise, the more they are going to encounter it.

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