An Email About 'Handling' Workplace Diversity Is Facing Heavy Scrutiny

August 31st 2016

Laura Donovan

An advertisement for a webinar offering tips on how to "handle" workplace diversity became the subject of heavy scrutiny by a black activist and educator on Wednesday.

Brittany Packnett, an activist and the executive director of Teach For America St. Louis, drew attention to the email from CD Publications through a series of tweets on Wednesday morning. She criticized the webinar description for stating that the Black Lives Matter movement has "generated some new intensity that is not simple to navigate interpersonally."

Packnett took issue with use of the word "handle" in describing a potential response to the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as the implication that racial differences can hurt a company.

Packnett also pointed out that the webinar appeared to cast doubt on racial biases in the workplace.

Packnett's wrote that her "favorite" part of the email was a line about how to talk to people in the Black Lives Matter movement.

She wrapped up her first series of tweets by directly calling out CD Publications on the platform:


Others stepped in to show support for Packnett's arguments, including activist Bree Newsome:

Packnett's final message was that the fight to end racism is more important than talking about racism in a way that doesn't make others uncomfortable.

The webinar comes at a time when there is still a lot of work to be done to achieve greater diversity in the workplace.

A 2014 report from Deloitte on HR trends found that diversity and inclusion were low priorities compared to other HR issues for company leaders. A 2015 report from the Society of Human Resource Management found that one fifth of HR executives at Fortune 1000 companies have "have very informal diversity efforts with nothing structured at all."

ATTN: has reached out to CD Publications regarding the social media response to the webinar and will update this piece if they comment.