Company Diversity Problems? Rent A Minority!

It's getting harder and harder nowadays to not hire any women or people of color without being called racist and sexist — which is ridiculous, since clearly the best person for the job will always just happen to be a white man, that's just how the country works. But to avoid those pesky people who think you're "small minded" or "discriminating" or who are "suing for unfair and illegal hiring practices" you can take advantage of a delightful new service: Rent-A-Minority, to solve all your all-white dilemmas without any of the hard work of instituting actual equality.

Rent-A-Minority was created and conceived by Arwa Mahdawi, who is herself a gay woman of color and as such knows all about the way many companies treat everyone who isn't a straight white man like tokens.

"I created the site because I felt frustrated with the surface-level manner in which diversity issues are often dealt with," Mahdawi wrote in an essay for The Guardian. "From the largely positive way people appear to have reacted, it appears I’m not alone."

The site offers companies the chance to avoid any ugly accusations before they even happen without needing to do anything so radical and uncomfortable as "care about equality" or "hire people of color." I mean, it's bad enough we white people already have to scramble to come up with a token black friend to give us immunity from being accused of being racially insensitive in our personal life, now we have to do it in our professional lives, too? That just seem like a bridge too far.

Instead, consider renting a minority for any public occasion. Look at these great options:

And people really seem to love the idea. Check out the testamonials:

All joking aside, Mahdawi writes in The Guardian that she actually has received "a couple of apparently genuine inquiries to rent a minority," which is kind of terrifying, but not necessarily surprising given the shallow way many industries seem to treat with their diversity problems.

Mahdawi notes:

There is a familiar and depressing cycle that seems to be played out on social media day after day. First, there will be uproar about how a leadership board, conference lineup, award show jury, etc is entirely composed of straight white men. This is followed by swift crisis management, in which the offending party makes a few token gestures to better their image. And then exactly the same thing happens again. And again.

So let's not kid ourselves, if corporate America could get away with renting a minority instead of actually hiring some — and making sure their office culture was inclusive enough for people to want to work there — they would. After all, examining personal and institutional biases, as well as fostering a culture of respect and inclusion and listening to the needs of people who aren't like you, is all a lot of work, and a big commitment. Renting, on the other hand, is easy!

Maybe the Oscars should look into it.

You can find the Rent-A-Minority website here, and check out their "Stories" section where people share anecdotes of "minority moments." You can find Mahdawi on Twitter here. Or, as noted on the site, she is also available to rent if you need a minority at your next tech conference.