Diversity beyond whiteness: the possibilities for anti- racist diversity research

Helena Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter critically interrogates diversity as a theory and practice that has been defined in white terms. Diversity has traditionally remained blind to race in its normalization of white power and privilege. Even when the existence of people of color is acknowledged, they tend to be measured by the social and economic value they provide to white people and institutions. To challenge the ways diversity research upholds white supremacy, I draw on the interdisciplinary tradition of critical race theory and critique three practices of whiteness: the commodification of difference, the denial of white power, and chasing racial comfort. In response, I explore how we may research diversity from an anti-racist standpoint via two methodological tools-biography and history-to subvert white supremacy in diversity studies. Biography refers to the alignment of the researcher’s standpoint with that of the research subjects. History involves contextualizing the analysis of subject experiences within their specific backgrounds of socio-political struggle.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Organizational Diversity Research Methods
EditorsS. N. Just, A. Risberg, F. Villeséche
Place of PublicationOxon
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9780429556234
ISBN (Print)9780367211486
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


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