Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, the challenges ahead (November 10, 2020)

Written by: Fazela Haniff

Heading up the Urban Alliance on Race Relations in Toronto in 1990 allowed me to build a career through a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion lens before LinkedIn existed; before it was okay to post likes for sharing examples of nudges or outing racist behavior. With the increased visibility of inclusion challenges, of late, there are a plethora of new roles to address diversity, equity, and inclusion, be it a marketing ploy or genuine attempts for organizations to dismantle institutional racism.

While the Trump administration did not create racism, sexism, xenophobia, and homophobia, it gave credence to such public behavior, illustrating White privilege’s power. The situation is no different in Canada. Having a prime minister who acknowledges institutional racism does not change the reality of visible minorities,  Indigenous people, and the LGBTQ+ community.

Joe Biden has won the US elections but the reality is that the country will have to face how it rebuilds a nation exposed. At the forefront of this are educational institutions. Higher education institutions are clawing their way back in a COVID world that stripped them of their cash-cow, International students, by introducing online education; however, these new systems are developed by the people who reflect their institutions’ norms, which, unfortunately, are challenged by institutional racism.

Institutions like law enforcement, education, and big business built on White privilege will continue to exist unless there is a will to change it. Who will give up or share their privilege? How will leaders of these organizations engage and face the challenge to reshape the narrative of the past?  Will they protect the status quo or rise to the occasion?

Here are some tools to understand institutional racism:

What Racism Looks Like: https://fpg.unc.edu/sites/fpg.unc.edu/files/resources/other-resources/What%20Racism%20Looks%20Like.pdf

Over Policing Black and Indigenous Lives: Absenting of Local Policing & the RCMP https://youtu.be/WN9XwwcZ7Yk?list=PLGU0oMHAaCI6LWKx6hLY5C5RaDSJmXx2

INSTITUTIONAL AND INTERPERSONAL RACISM IN DAILY LIFE https://www.environicsinstitute.org/docs/default-source/project-documents/black-experience-project-gta/black-experience-project-gta—7-institutional-and-interpersonal-racism-in-everyday-life.pdf?sfvrsn=b66a9a55_2


 Fazela HANIFF is an HR, OD and HE internationalisation specialist and serves on ACEI’s Global Consulting Group.  Ms Haniff completed her Human Resources Management studies at Ryerson University, Higher Education Management from the University of the Witwatersrand and Bachelor of Business Administration from Yorkville University. She is the Past President of the International Education Association of South Africa and first woman president. In 2010 she received an award in recognition of “Exemplary Leadership as IEASA President”. She has contributed widely to the internationalization dialogue via presentations and workshops to IIE, NIEA, NAFSA, EAIE, EAIE, IEASA, APAIE, and contributed to numerous publications related to international higher education. Fazela currently lives in Toronto Canada.


 The Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, Inc. (ACEI), was founded in 1994 and is based in Los Angeles, CA, USA.  ACEI is a full-service company providing complete and integrated services in the areas of international education research, credential evaluation, and translation. ACEI’s Global Consulting Group®, offers expertise in the following specialties: Media and Branding, Global Pathways, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) to interested institutions and organizations around the globe. www.acei-global.org

Leave your comment