You may be wondering why the NFHS is providing a resource on minority inclusion for the work of the NFHS and its member state associations. Or you may already know why and have your own rationale and strategies for doing so. It is the intent of this resource or toolkit to provide some information and suggestions that can enhance your efforts to include minorities or other under-represented groups in the work of your organization.
North America, particularly the United States and Canada, is often thought to be a melting pot, a place where people of different backgrounds can blend together in the great American experiment, providing freedom and opportunity for all. Like many experiments, this may work better in some instances for some people and people groups than others. What are the reasons that it is better for some than others? Why is it that some organizations can provide more opportunities for minorities or people of color than others? Answers to these questions are complex. Much more has been written elsewhere to delve into these questions. They will be only briefly touched upon in this toolkit. Our primary hope is that the suggested strategies will make the work of your organization more inclusive of minorities and more culturally diverse.
The purpose of the Minority Inclusion Project is to assist the NFHS and its member state associations in continually improving their efforts to be culturally proactive and diverse workplaces. The major objectives of this work are to help the NFHS and its member associations:
- have staffs and other groups through which the organization works that are diverse and closely representative of those served by the organization.
- develop organizational plans for minority inclusion and diversity throughout all areas of the organization’s work.
- develop strategies for identification, recruitment and inclusion of minorities.
- take steps to create environments that retain minorities and manage people of diverse backgrounds well.
- keep minority inclusion at the forefront of the organization’s work.
As you read and use this toolkit, you will find questions are posed in several areas. This is done to engage you as much as possible as you examine your current thoughts and practices, and to reshape some practices to be more inclusive of minorities and the cultures they may represent. The issues surrounding diversity, or the lack of it in many cases, are complex. There are not simple solutions. Yet engaging in serious thinking about diversity issues such as race, racism and the racialization of our society is an important step. This will lead to thoughtful, effective plans to include minorities and other under-represented groups in the work of your organization, and even beyond your organization into other areas of life.
A variety of resources, materials and activities were used for gathering information for this toolkit. None of the written materials dealt specifically with diversity in organizations governing education-based interscholastic athletics and performing arts. Some principles, practices and ideas from these resources have been adapted to better fit the high school sports and performing arts world of the NFHS and member state associations. The following sections were developed to help you better understand and develop diversity within education-based athletic and performing arts governing organizations.