NFL: A Case Study in Institutionalized Racism

I am an incredibly low-key NFL spouse. I rarely even talk about my relationship with Richard Dent. I actively avoid using my relationship with him to leverage my own career or identity. However, I’m compelled to speak out about what’s happening to him and so many others who played in the NFL. 

I am absolutely appalled by:

1) the treatment of their retired players–their “legends” 
2) the lack of responsibility for LEADING on the issue of calling out and ending institutionalized racism
3) their lack of accountability for their own deeply racist practices and 
4) their treatment of Black players  (Note: I could actually keep going with this list...) 

I am officially fed up and I am stepping into the arena with my sisters.
Sitting quietly in the corner is not where you’ll find me.

The lawsuit I’m referring to is a class-action lawsuit against the NFL and Richard is one of the lead defendants. The NFL’s actions in this...

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Frequently Asked Questions - and DeEtta's Answers - About Bias

Artwork by Olivia Kang for Outsmarting Human Minds. Learn the science of implicit bias at

I am frequently asked questions about bias. Broad questions such as, “what is it?” and “how does it work?” to more specific asks such as, “how does it impact relationships with different people, groups, and in the workplace?” These are exactly the kind of topics and substantive discussions that regularly take place in the DJA course, “Reducing the Negative Impact of Bias.” I want to share some of these questions and answers more broadly. Hopefully, this will generate conversations that will help you along your own journey of personal growth.

All humans have bias. Whether it's positive or negative, conscious or unconscious, bias shows up every day in our thoughts, behaviors, and processes.

Bias is also a key topic related to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) because of the implications it has on so many aspects...

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Building Anti-Racist Boards: Three new white papers from DJA and colleagues

At DJA, we’re always thinking about how to reduce the impact of systemic bias. In many ways, equity lives in the process: the systems, structures, and processes that we operate within carry enormous implications for how equitably people are able to participate.

Board governance is a great example. Countless organizations are talking about how anti-racism should look, but far fewer are identifying actions that de-bias systems, build in inclusive practice, or define what it means to be anti-racist. The processes and structures of our organizations define how much people are able to bring their full selves and abilities to their board work.

The work that we put into building inclusive systems will, with time and persistence, pay off with better systems for all.

Over the last few months, DJA has been working with two non-profit partners, Code for Science & Society and Invest in Open Infrastructure, to build guidelines for anti-racist non-profit board governance. After we...

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The Inclusive Manager’s Series

The Inclusive Manager’s Series is back! Join DeEtta Jones and DJA Senior Consultant  Jerome Offord, Jr., Ph.D. and the Associate University Librarian for Antiracism at Harvard Library as they discuss how to build an anti-racism strategy.

Zoom in June 24th at 9:00 AM ET, and register for the session here.

This discussion will kick off the Inclusive Manager’s Series. Each month, we’ll host new sessions with a variety of topics and guest speakers. We look forward to engaging with you.

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Solidarity with the API Community: What Comes After the Statement?

By Molly McInerney, Senior Consultant

We at DeEtta Jones & Associates (DJA) are horrified and heartbroken by the rising rates of hate crimes, racist violence and harassment, and discrimination against members of the Asian Pacific Islander (API) community. We are committed to the racial equity movement for all people of color and condemn racism in any form. We believe stating our support of the API community is a single step on the journey towards solidarity. We honor the API community’s pain, anger, and grief in the wake of Tuesday’s racist attack, which took the lives of eight people, including six Asian/Asian American women working in the greater Atlanta area. 

We are a company known for centering voices from a variety of lived experiences, and we’re sensitive to the negative impact of organizational virtue signaling on the API community and other people of color. This is why we ask ourselves in these critical moments, “what is the best way to...

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Recruiting for Diversity: 7 Things to Avoid and suggested Inclusive Alternatives

Among all of the important work to be done related to your equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism efforts, recruitment seems to be the one most heavy on everyone’s mind. Just like other strategic priorities, recruitment has to be carefully focused on, invested in, and measured. Of equal importance is defining what attributes effective recruitment includes – which also helps clarify what to avoid. Below are 7 things to avoid in your diversity recruitment efforts. Use this list as a conversation starter with your hiring managers, search committees, and HR team. 

1. Avoid ambiguity. Avoid going into recruitment with vague ideas about what the ideal candidate should be able to bring or do based on the current laundry list of items that need attention or based on a void left by the person who most recently filled the position. 

Inclusive Alternative: Think about the current and future needs of your team, department and/or organization. I encourage the...

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Turn Your Camera On!


Are you sick and tired of zoom meetings? Me, too! It feels like twice as much energy is needed to be in a virtual space; I totally get it. On the other hand, this is the reality many of us are navigating. At least for the near term, we are going to be largely beholden to many more virtual meetings than pre-Covid so let’s figure out how to be as effective as possible. Here’s a suggestion: Turn your camera on. 

If you are in virtual sessions and want to make sure that your ideas, your authentic voice, your unique skills and perspectives are present, you must be fully present. Others in the space need full access to you. Think about it: So much of human communication is nonverbal. There’s power in eye contact, gestures, smiles. It’s also much easier to signal a desire to verbally contribute to an active discussion if others can see you, can see you about to speak or see you pondering a question that may cause them to invite you to share your thinking. ...

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Six Ways to Celebrate Women on International Women’s Day

Credit: Annastaysia Savage 2015

By Maggie Cousin

I grew up in upstate New York keenly aware of gender issues and yet, I had never even heard about International Women’s Day until I lived in China in the early 2000s. I remember being in my early 20s, in my first year in the Peace Corps, teaching at a college in rural Southwest China, and being summoned to an all-faculty assembly. My Chinese was still limited so I wasn’t quite clear on what exactly we were celebrating but I happily accepted the arm full of flowers offered to me. Then, I took my place at the front of the assembly with all of the other women faculty. Over the next hour, it dawned on me. This was a celebration - a celebration filled with songs, poems, and speeches about the power of women and how we should be lifted up and revered. I did not understand many of the words that day, but I absolutely understood the spirit. Later, I asked many questions of my students and faculty peers about...

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The Truth About Labels

allies inclusion Feb 19, 2021

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon

By Ali Smith

“Open-minded,” “liberal,” and “tree hugger” are labels I have always felt describe me, and words with which I’ve been proud to be associated. I do not recall ever making a conscious decision for acceptance to be a guiding value of mine; for as long as I can remember, I have always judged people on their actions and behaviors, not on their gender, race, sexual orientation, or gender identity. I have not placed a lot of importance on appearance (this is why I LOVE working in my pajamas from home – I just don’t care). Actions, behaviors, values, and kindness – this is what I care about and this is what I preach to my kids. 

A relative of mine recently came out, which was not a surprise to anyone. 

And then they announced their gender identity (label) as “non-binary”, and their pronouns as “he/they” (which was a surprise). I have tried very hard to...

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Why can’t we just talk to each other? Conversational Values and You

By: Tyler Dzuba

Have you ever tried to have a conversation, but keep getting derailed for one of these two reasons?

  • “They won’t speak up at all! I’m carrying the whole conversation!”
  • “I can’t get a word in edgewise! They’re taking up all the air in the room!”

Let me share how some savvy from the world of linguistics can help you communicate better in these cases. (Spoiler: try on the opposite conversational style, even if it feels a little rude to you!)

Did you know that across cultures and languages, people on average notice a silence of only 200 milliseconds—just a fifth of a second!—as a discernible gap in conversation? That’s literally a blink of an eye.

Here’s the thing, though: what we do with those gaps in conversation might get us in trouble depending on who we’re talking with. The research in conversation analysis tells us that individual people fall on a spectrum between high-involvement...

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