Illinois' Governor Made An Uncomfortable Attempt To Celebrate Diversity Using Chocolate Milk & We’re Cringing

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner attempted to show appreciation for his diverse state by taking a sip of chocolate milk on Wednesday — to mixed results.

The now infamous sip heard round the world, per the Washington Post, was taken at Rauner’s appearance at a Black History Month event.

Image source: Chicago Tribune

The Chicago Thompson Center event focused on workplace diversity, with the chocolate milk serving as a metaphor frequently used by the diversity and inclusion executive at Hyatt Hotels, Tyronne Stoudemire.

On stage, Stoudemire started the poorly framed metaphor by squirting chocolate syrup into a glass. According to Stoudemire, the brown chocolate syrup is the diversity among the white milk. As Rauner stirred the milk, Stoudemire continued to explain.

“When you look at most organizations, diversity sits at the bottom of the organization,” Stoudemire said. “You don’t get inclusion until you actually stir it up.”

After taking a sip of the freshly stirred drink, Rauner said that the ingredients tasted good together. And despite backlash from the internet, Rauner’s team stands by the metaphor. Spokeswoman Rachel Bold released a statement to the Chicago Tribune defending the chocolate milk example.

”This was the event moderator’s example of diversity that an audience of all ages could see and understand,” said Bold. “It was one of two demonstrations at the event, both of which received ovations from the crowd.”

With Rauner facing reelection in the next few weeks, the stunt does not come at a good time. But Rauner’s opponent in the Republican primary, Representative Jeanne Ives, has also faced her own share of backlash after supporting an insensitive ad.  Here’s to hoping both candidates can get a grip on how to actually describe and appreciate diversity.