The communication habits of white men, treated by corporate America as the natural and best and only way to communicate, leaves people from backgrounds who didn't grow up speaking that language (literally and/or figuratively) feeling frustrated and excluded. White male colleagues who aren't aware that "the rules" of corporate America have been designed to suit them regard their not-whitemale colleagues as unqualified, as not understanding "how to play the game." Not-whitemales have a more difficult time getting their ideas heard, their concerns addressed. Not-whitemales who figure out how to speak the right language are promoted, thus reinforcing the cycle of non-diversity, even as diversity is hailed a hero.I have some serious objections to this, obviously, but the general outlines are very familiar to me--and as a white non-stereotypically gay male (I want to write more about that detail soon) I don't fall far outside of the whitestraightmale realm. Hell, even white straight males who fall outside of mainstream consumer culture can feel this exclusion, as JR from ladypoverty discusses towards the end of one of the most astonishingly brilliant blog posts I've ever read. (And JR, if you're not a white straight male and this reads as implying that you are, I apologize; I mean to say only that the interaction between coworkers you describe there could apply equally to a white straight male as to anyone else.)
These are the problems of half-assed diversity programs. And the result is that, 10 years after everyone was kissing Silicon Valley's ass for its embrace of diversity, the companies' inclusion is sliding backwards, especially at the top.
Diversity without multiculturalism is just hiring people who look different and expecting them to act the same. If these companies want to get serious about diversity, then they need to reflect that in their culture, not just their hiring records.
What McEwan doesn't mention, and may not be conscious of, is that "hiring people...and expecting them to act the same" is exactly what the companies do, deliberately. They expect everyone to sacrifice themselves to the company's profits. Currently white straight male culture is the best suited to this; if that changes, companies will embrace whatever culture rises to replace it.
UPDATE: Rachel points out in comments that what I said was actually pretty severely untrue (though she's kinder than that in her phrasing). And this is because I said it all wrong. What I meant to say is that enforcing white straight male culture is a good bludgeon for company purposes, which I think makes more sense than what I said originally.