In this post Matthew Diemer (Professor of Education & Psychology at the Marsal Family School of Education, University of Michigan) discusses how we can foster career development and social mobility amongst more marginalised people.

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The typical way career practitioners address inequality (e.g., workplace racism, more limited career development opportunities in lower-income schools) is to avoid discussing it, for fear of discouraging more marginalized people. (Here, “more marginalized” refers to people whose social identities – such as racial/ethnic identity, social class background, gender identity, and their intersections – are more marginalized in society.)

Presumably, the fear is exposing more marginalized people to new understandings or insights about limitations and barriers in their social conditions. These understandings of social constraints have been widely believed to be demoralizing and associated with disengagement, an idea that can be attributed to the anthropologist John Ogbu, who theorized that “involuntary minorities” are less likely to engage with school and work as they understand inequalities in school and work. Metaphorically, if inequality is a toxin, then well-intentioned career practitioners try to limit the amount of this toxin that more marginalized people are exposed to.

Read the complete article in Career Guidance Social Justice