While conversations about privilege and what it means to be part of a dominant or non-dominant group can be uncomfortable and sometimes deeply painful, it’s essential to recognize dominant and non-dominant groups’ impacts if we want a truly inclusive workplace.
Bottom line, when you’re a part of the dominant group, you have privileges, power, and access to resources that underrepresented groups don’t. Generally, in today’s U.S. and Canadian societies, we can characterize one such dominant group as white, male, and heterosexual. However, there may be day-to-day situations when people with these characteristics might find themselves in the non-dominant group, such as if they are:
- Over or under a particular height, weight, age, or income or education level.
- Mentally or physically disabled.
Often, folks in a dominant group don’t intentionally marginalize or exclude others and might not recognize more understated marginalization behaviors. However, regularly and deliberately stopping to reflect on who you may be leaving out of a meeting, event, job, sponsorship, endorsement, or another opportunity can help you be a better ally and contribute to an inclusive workplace.