I never thought about the ways in which the most privileged people in our country are carrying the burden of covering their weaknesses. It's time we talk about this, because it's blocking a big, important conversation.
Kenji Yoshino did an interesting experiment. He went around and asked people what they're hiding.
We all say we want more diverse workplaces. Kenji found that most people were "covering" — that is, downplaying anything that made them not fit the mainstream (straight, white, male).
He scientifically proved that covering up who you are is really bad for you.
He used more science-y language: 60-73% of individuals who admitted to it said that "covering" was "somewhat to extremely detrimental to their sense of self."
Some of this "covering" will come as no surprise to most people. The further people's identities were from the "mainstream," the more they "covered."
He also looked at the data for straight white men, and the results were surprising.
Nearly half of these guys — the most privileged people in American society — admitted to covering, too.
They covered up things like veteran status, mental or physical illness, and class background.
Straight white guys are keeping a lot of secrets.
And that's when Kenji realized he could change the conversation.
That's the money line. But you have to hear how he gets there.
He's even got a story about how Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the straight white guy's straight white guy, covered constantly.