The emperor has no clothes on: repoliticising diversity management through an understanding of the effects of racism on Australian muslims
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 19:25 authored by Mojdeh Tavanayan
This thesis is a multidisciplinary theoretical study of the ways in which the socio-political nature of racism affects Muslims in Australia. Inspired by Nkomo’s ‘The emperor has no clothes : Rewriting race in organisations’ (1992) study of the erosion of the notion of race in organisations, the socio-political context and its role in understanding racism in Australia is explored. The imperative of racism perpetuated by socio-political context and its impact on diversity management is paramount to demonstrate how race is diluted in studies of diversity which lacks nuanced political consideration rather than promoting the business case (Tomlinson & Schwabenland, 2010). The role of the media in perpetuating inequalities, influencing perceptions and opinions and ultimately, creating racism is acknowledged. The new racism is multifaceted and complex (Essed, 1991) intertwined with everyday social interactions. The notion of racism without racists (Bonilla-Silva, 2003) demonstrates the intricacy of modern racism as imbedded structures in social behavior contributing to colour-blindness (Bonilla-Silva, 2006) and main stream’s proclamations of benevolence. Minorities, therefore, are frowned upon and considered unappreciative when raising issues of discrimination. By politicising diversity management through an analysis of socio-politics, racism, media and organisation, it is evident that there is a void in management theory and practice of discourses of Islamophobia and its management in organisations. Organisations by producing masquerade of diversity practices tend to obscure racism and commodify differences as a marketing tool to protect their inherent whiteness (Ahmed, 2012). Discussion of the socio-politics and specifically Islamophobia are camouflaged by organisational management through a conspiracy of silence and diversity practices which are non-performative blue prints with no real outcome of change. Diversity initiatives are myopic practices concerned about portraying organisational happy façade (Ahmed, 2009) rather than making real change. Critical diversity studies compartmentalise individuals as having preconceived identities with no ‘socially constructed nature’ (Zanoni, Janssens, Benschop & Nkomo, 2010). They furthermore, use parochial views of the mainstream, ignore power disparities between groups and lack contextual implications. This thesis concludes by presenting a future research agenda which addresses how academics, diversity practitioners and corporate Australia can foster transparent dialogue. This dialogue requires developing an engagement between corporate diversity management initiatives and social justice in light of evidenced racism in multicultural Australia. The role of emotion and compassion at individual level and its link to moral reasoning and equality (Brewis, 2017) is an emergent area of research in diversity management discourse. Compassion for the other can play a vital role in alleviating the pressures of over-individualistic and competitive neo-liberal societies.