Purpose – The purpose of this research is to explore the apparent ambivalence towards the management of racial diversity. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on a case study undertaken in a large London NHS teaching hospital. Having reviewed the dichotomy in the available literature, the case study focuses on identifying drivers and barriers to the management of racial diversity within the organisation. Findings – Findings are that the drivers towards the management of racial diversity, and the barriers and resisting forces against the management of racial diversity that are to be found in the literature, were all discovered at the hospital. However, there were additional drivers towards the management of racial diversity found at the hospital that were not present in the literature. Some of the literature presents a rather simplistic vision of how to achieve the successful management of racial diversity. Research at the hospital has indicated that the achievement of the management of racial diversity is highly complex and not likely to be easily attained in a short time frame. Research limitations/implications – The methodology applied is appropriate, generating data to facilitate discussion and draw specific conclusions from. A perceived limitation is the single case approach; however Remenyi et al. argues this can be enough to add to the body of knowledge. Practical implications – Recommendations for the management of racial diversity at the hospital and elsewhere are suggested. Specific recommendations for future research are made. Originality/value – The research questions have attempted to draw out the ambiguity towards the management of racial diversity within the organisation. Lord Taylor of Warwick describes the management of racial diversity as “a journey, not a destination”. This paper explores how far the hospital has travelled on that journey.