Contributing Correspondent: C. Dwayne West
I’ve never really had to face this issue first hand because I’ve been independent for the last 20 years of my adult life. And when I worked for a company, I didn’t concern myself with the fact that the Chicago Board of Trade was 99% white and 85% male. The CBOT was the last real job I had before venturing out as an entrepreneur. So maybe I’m not the expert on this subject, but I can see. Plus, since being in business, I’ve attempted to educate myself on multiple concerns as I look at the corporate structure in order to create the art of the deal.
These Works of Words were sparked by a reception I went to last week that focused on Diversity & Inclusion. And whenever I hear those words I try to pay close attention. This event included young black emerging executives who appeared to be celebrating diversity and their inclusion into the corporate landscape. When I arrived there was a white man on stage cheerfully talking diversity and inclusion and how important it is. It sounded more like a pep rally.
The event was a collaboration between two or three major law firms. This was really a cheaper version of a retreat to get their minimal diverse work force charged up. The team leader was like “it’s finally time to embrace diversity and make our places of work more inclusive.” What turned on my thinking cap was that as he introduced his team spearheading the diversity charge, the very first person was a young white male, who introduced a young lady who I couldn’t tell if she was black, Indian or of similar hue. The 3rd and 4th team members were a white female and another much older white male. Again, they came on to rally the team for productivity, in my opinion.
This was the point when I put down my drink and proceeded to the exit, after staying 30 minutes at best. But before leaving I decided to sit down in the lobby and enjoy the sweet tray; that’s when this young handsome brother recognized me and asked my thoughts. Not to taint his illusion, I flipped the script and asked him what was his impression. May I say, he then expressed – bull _ _ _ t. Enough said, we chatted a few more minutes about who he was. He’s currently in law school and was in Chicago finishing up an intern before heading back to Purdue. I gave him my info and I was out!
I spent my entire drive thinking about pieces of our conversation. The one thing that stood out is what many, many people of color have said to me and brothers like him, that stated “blacks got to be super human or better than their white counterparts to succeed.” I’ve always laughed at this notion. Because if you wanna be successful, you have to be superhuman anyway….. or must times white. Let me explain: People like Bill Gates for instance, talked about when he was starting Microsoft, he didn’t see sunlight for at least the first 10 years. That’s being superhuman for success.
But for a white person who was trained by a black professional within a corporate company, then to have the white person leapfrog ahead of the black person who trained him, being superhuman will not help you with that scenario. It’s evident that your credentials and superhuman efforts will not shift you to the top of the food chain. So where is diversity and inclusion in this instance?
In most cases, the white boys just have to show up. Not to say that they may not be capable, but they’re never required to be superhuman. There’s not one black person on the slow track up the corporate ladder who couldn’t point out a room full of unqualified and incompetent white men and women who are at the top of the food chain. The one thing we can be assured of is that if a black or brown person is in leadership or executive management, they had to be the best and brightest, with no question. Unless they’re one of the few Negroes who completely sold-out their community to get there.
Diversity and Inclusion is a farce. And companies who spend the most time talking about it are probably not executing it that damn well. So stop sending your few black faces to the forefront to wave your flag, when behind the scenes, there is very little inclusion and diversity happening within the halls of these Fortune 1000 brands. Because in 2017, this should not be a real issue. And to emphatically pound the podium and say that it’s now time to embrace diversity, is insulting. It was time decades ago! Until the next edition…….. Peace and One Love.
I Write to Differ