Are We Using the Master’s Tools?

Deborah Howard


This article examines whether organization development and diversity consulting have the capacity to foster and sustain systemic change for social justice in organizations in the United States. In a number of her speeches and essays, Audre Lorde made the powerful statement that “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” My premise is that systemic racism and oppression in organizations (the “master’s house) was built with and continues to be maintained by the ideologies of materialism and white supremacy. My conclusion is that to achieve sustained systemic change for social justice we need toreplace these ideologies and return to pre-existing belief systems of spirituality and interdependence so as to bring about true justice and equity.

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