Oops, 7 Days. Hey look I don't update on weekends.

Corporate Responsibility: diversity?

I watched a PBS news interview with a black professor from Harvard and one from Penn/Wharton. They each said that corporations should target minorities rather than use affirmative action (affirmative action wasn't really the point of the discussion and therefore not the point of this post).

The idea is that Affirmative Action as a policy has failed because it encourages quotas and you have a lot of entry level minorities stuck at the lower echelons, but then you have no minorities in the boardrooms. Why? Because there is no mentoring or grooming.

White males get groomed, while others do not. Blacks, women, Latins move up and hit a glass ceiling because they are missing significant pieces of the pie required to be a boardroom member.

How would you feel if your employer had a "grooming" program for minorities? Would you feel shafted?

I suspect most of you will say "yes I would feel shafted" because some white males never get groomed either. But we see the lack of logic in that argument in that at least SOME white males make it to the boardroom, whereas hardly any blacks, females, Latins, etc., ever get invited.
Permalink sharkfish 
January 18th, 2006
Maybe this is because companies are forced to hire *whatever* black, latin, etc person comes along in order to meet quotas instead of being allowed to hire whoever is the most qualified. Recipe for resentment there. It's not a shock if they don't go any further than legally mandated.

Now, I'll grant that there are old white men left in the world who are racist as Hell, but I don't think Affirmative Action helps your case.
Permalink Mark Warner 
January 18th, 2006
Oy, this is going to be nuts.
Permalink Pseudo Masochist 
January 18th, 2006
White males get groomed? Please show me a place where this is done. I'd like to get groomed for a boardroom position, particularly in a corporation where I make tons of money whether the company succeeds or fails.

While you have a legitimate gripe, I'd say that anyone that falls outside "the network" doesn't stand a chance.
Permalink GML 
January 18th, 2006
Dang where is my grooming? I'll have to go talk to the rest of the white male brotherhood and see why i'm being left out. Must be because i'm 2% mohawk indian. Crackers. 

Joking aside, any programs that target or even acknowledge skin color will continue to make race relations worse. Once again, there are plenty of women and asians in boardrooms (and a decent amount of blacks these days). So i'm not sure your thesis is correct anyways.
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
I've been in the sort of "fast track" programs that you're talking about and was amazed when it was about 1/3 female. The pool they were recruiting from was less than 1/6 female, so they were twice the norm.

Anyway, part of "being groomed" was actually stretching out and taking part in things. Those who utilized it well were able to move up and into other things quickly. I finally got clueful about it in my last few months there and managed to make some use of the program, but then I moved on.
Permalink KC 
January 18th, 2006
"Once again, there are plenty of women and asians in boardrooms"

The professors in the interview mentioned statistics from reputable sources that included women. The stats were dismal , even when taking representation in the population as a whole into account.
Permalink sharkfish 
January 18th, 2006
" I've been in the sort of "fast track" programs that you're talking about and was amazed when it was about 1/3 female. "

I wonder if "fast track" is the same as grooming in general. The professors didn't really define what they meant by "grooming".

Without proper mentoring, I feel white guys wouldn't make it to the boardroom either.

And I'm no supporter of Affirmative Action.
Permalink sharkfish 
January 18th, 2006
Part of the problem is that you are looking at population statistics on the whole, and getting an incorrect subset. There are 50% women, why not 50% women in the boardroom? There are 15% hispanics, why not 15% in the boardroom? But that completely ignores the fact that not 50% of the people who graduate from business schools are women, nor do 50% of women remain in their careers as long as white males. 15% of hispanics do not receive a degree, and thus are not eligible for any grooming or board at all. I don't think its that boards specifically choose white people over black people, I think its just because of other societal reasons (less blacks proportionally graduate college, and there are less in general) that cause this natural lack in the boardroom.

This relates to the other thread... if you GIVE people anything, nothing will be accomplished. We have to figure out a way for this to naturally occur, for example encouraging more minorities to enter business programs, and ensuring they get better educations early, etc...
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
You miss the point that white males are automatically selected and groomed because they are identified as potentially good risks early on in their careers.

Regardless of percentages - what value would a few differing, educated opinions have in the corporate world? A lot, I think. Even if the women don't get there, what about the men who do have the background and do not? There are plenty of Harvard grads in business who are not white males or females. Why don't they make it to the top? Not because they aren't smart enough. They simply aren't identified the way white males are by senior members of corporations.
Permalink sharkfish 
January 18th, 2006
Phil,
I also think it hasn't sunk in that a lot of people are "given" opportunities in the US. That doesn't make them good-for-nothings automatically.

How is it not "charity" that white males select other white males?
Permalink sharkfish 
January 18th, 2006
Yes, because race is the entire reason. Are you saying no minorities from Harvard make it to the top? Because there are plenty of whites with Harvard degrees not at the top either. As I've mentioned previously, my wife works in recruiting for a large traditional financial firm...recruiting for black executives and higher ups is EXTREMELY competitive, they are VERY high in demand. The average black person with a Harvard education can probably make much more then a white counterpart because of the very quotas and desire for diversity you are talking about. The problem is that the applicant pool is much smaller.
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
"Encouraging diversity" and "affirmative action" are duct tape solutions to the problem of ethnic inequality. It covers up the problem, but it doesn't FIX the problem. Politicians just want to fix the statistics of course (which this does), whereas they don't care about the larger issue because it would take longer than their re-election term.

Minorities get shafted because they tend to grow up poorer. If you grow up poor, then you go to a worse school, worse college and so surprise, surprise, you end up not getting a job because you actually aren't qualified for one.

"Encouraging diversity" and "affirmative action" are therefore absolulutely GREAT if you're an affluent black and REALLY, REALLY CRAP if you're a poor white person.

This is partly why poor white people tend to hate affirmative action (with good reason), and why some of them misguidedly hate black people - they KNOW about the affluent blacks getting in ahead of them because they're black, and they're pissed.
Permalink Colm O'Connor 
January 18th, 2006
I think affirmative action is racist, just by officially putting the ethnicity label on a person. It is non of their business where my parents came frome.

When I enter a job, they require me to fill out a form stating my ethnicity. I always refuse, by writing a letter containing basically the statement above.
Permalink Erik Springelkamp 
January 18th, 2006
" The problem is that the applicant pool is much smaller."

Because the grooming didn't happen? Why is the pool so much smaller? I'm guessing a few can always be the exception. The blacks being courted were properly groomed, I assume. Right?
Permalink sharkfish 
January 18th, 2006
>Why is the pool so much smaller?

Because the poor tend to grow up with less opportunity available to them so they tend not to do as well. Therefore there's fewer of them qualified to do any particular job.

They also commit more crime for the same reason. And that's why they get pulled over more - not because the police are racist.
Permalink Colm O'Connor 
January 18th, 2006
"How is it not "charity" that white males select other white males?"

It is... however a) its by choice on the part of the giver and b) supposedly white males dont have the problems you are describing and thus this charity does not create a reliance on such charity.
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
"Because the grooming didn't happen? Why is the pool so much smaller? I'm guessing a few can always be the exception."

I suppose, but even for new recruits out of college, a black Howard University (Tier 2 school) grad with a C average can easily get double what a white (Tier 1 school) kid with a B average can get.  There are simply less black kids in general graduating from business schools. Maybe you can argue they weren't "groomed" by society or their parents.
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
Boardroom king-makers are only hiring from Ivy's or their alma maters, anyway. Whether Johnny from Howard or Joey from State gets to claw their way up to middle-management, sooner or with higher pay, doesn't matter if one of them gets groomed at some point by someone with power.
Permalink sharkfish 
January 18th, 2006
Do you have a link to whatever study this is? I still say, the even assuming the "good ol boys" network exists, black people can create a similar "brothahs" network. And if you know of any out of work black Harvard MBA's, send them my way.
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
Phil, the black people that tolerate my strangeness are all techies or sales people, not MBA boardroom types that live in the burbs and drink the right wine with their gourmet dinner.

As far as rising up through the brotha network--you have to own a corporation or be in the boardroom in the first place in order to help someone else get there.

I agree that there will always be fewer women represented because of various personal reasons. Most women would like to have children at some point, and few positions like that allow such a luxury (although the CEO of Xerox was accommodated throughout her motherhood by a progressive diversity campaign that does have a grooming program for promising potential executives).

I applaud Xerox. They are one of the few that are extremely diligent in promoting diversity.
Permalink sharkfish 
January 18th, 2006
"As far as rising up through the brotha network--you have to own a corporation or be in the boardroom in the first place in order to help someone else get there."

Exactly. And what is stopping black people from starting their own companies and hiring nothing but black people? Nothing. I used to work for a large aerospace contractor that was owned by a very wealthy black man. His board of directors only had one white male, one black woman, and the rest black men.
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
"And what is stopping black people from starting their own companies and hiring nothing but black people?"

Money.

(Phil, you are smarter than that.)
Permalink Rick Tang 
January 18th, 2006
"Money.

(Phil, you are smarter than that.)"

Yes, because all black people are poor, and banks don't lend to coloreds. I forgot.
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
"Yes, because all black people are poor, and banks don't lend to coloreds. I forgot."

Redlining and banking discrimination are a real and current phenomena, although I see your point. It would be nice if the wealthy would finance the poor...oh wait, that's "taking from the rich"...."and society does that already through VC's and investing"....yeah.

<heh>
Permalink sharkfish 
January 18th, 2006
"Redlining and banking discrimination are a real and current phenomena"

So apply online. I havn't gotten a loan in person in years.
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
"It would be nice if the wealthy would finance the poor...oh wait, that's "taking from the rich""

It depends, does the person have the chance to say "no"?

If the person has to say "yes" or go to jail...
Permalink KC 
January 18th, 2006
"If the person has to say "yes" or go to jail..."

What about "If the person has to say 'yes' or deal with a vast pool of poverty-stricken brown people with guns and drugs as their only option?"
Permalink sharkfish 
January 18th, 2006
Why don't you start a corporation then?

It's not that easy.
Permalink Rick Tang 
January 18th, 2006
"Why don't you start a corporation then?

It's not that easy."

Sure it is, and I have. Having a sucessful corporation? No, thats not easy, but race has nothing to do with the difficulty.
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
"So apply online. I havn't gotten a loan in person in years."

Look up redlining, then come back to the discussion. Sheesh!
Permalink sharkfish 
January 18th, 2006
Of course, ideally, race has nothing to do with it.

In reality though, it is a pretty good predictor.
Permalink Rick Tang 
January 18th, 2006
I know what Redlining is...look again your assuming all black people are in the ghetto. People in the ghetto are not the ones i'm referring to. As you well know there are plenty of middle class black people these days living in "non-black" areas, that sound white. Not only that, there are black bankers and tons of organizations that loan to minorities. Your just full of excuses.
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
"What about "If the person has to say 'yes' or deal with a vast pool of poverty-stricken brown people with guns and drugs as their only option?""

Ah... now I get it. The options are really:
a) give it up under threat of violence from government; OR
b) give it up under threat of violence from everyone else.

Wow... I thought Liberals were supposed to *protect* people. I guess I must not be the "right kind" of people.
Permalink KC 
January 18th, 2006
KC, I'm just saying you are either going to spend tax dollars on policing, or you are going to spend tax dollars (allegedly the wealthy's money) on redistribution for positive outcomes.

Pick your evil.

I prefer the second option.
Permalink sharkfish 
January 18th, 2006
Awesome, blackmail. Thats sweet.
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
"KC, I'm just saying you are either going to spend tax dollars on policing, or you are going to spend tax dollars (allegedly the wealthy's money) on redistribution for positive outcomes."

Do you seriously believe that the same people that deal drugs, smoke crack, join gangs, boost cars, etc... if given a little bit of money, will suddendly start owning their own businesses etc?  How do you explain all the poor white people then? Just lazy?
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
"spend tax dollars (allegedly the wealthy's money) on redistribution for positive outcomes."

sharkfish, I thought you said that the poor don't have money? Then - by definition - their money is not being spent and it must be the middle class or the "wealthy".

We've had many discussions around here about people's billing rates and the rule of thumb is always "take your hourly rate + 30% to cover benefits, taxes, etc".

Now logically, if we could lower the cost of hiring people (aka numerous applicable taxes), then organizations of all sizes could hire more people as long as the business was there.

So... which is better, having government take our money to "help" others or empowering organizations to hire more people and/or pay them more?
Permalink KC 
January 18th, 2006
"KC, I'm just saying you are either going to spend tax dollars on policing, or you are going to spend tax dollars (allegedly the wealthy's money) on redistribution for positive outcomes."

I also love your implication:

Poor people are criminals.

Nice.
Permalink KC 
January 18th, 2006
>Yes, because all black people are poor, and banks don't
>lend to coloreds. I forgot.

Blacks are disproportionately poor compared to whites and no amount of sarcasm will change that fact.
Permalink Colm O'Connor 
January 18th, 2006
Putting on my groomer hat:

If you are doing it, then you want people you can understand, and who aren't going to embarrass you.

What do I mean?

Let's say I am in the "good ol' boy" club and I see a young female who is "on her game" - Even if I want to groom her, what does the gossip say? (Oh he's groomin and spoonin' heh) - every time I recommend her for a spot it actually works against her because people are suspicious.

Let's say I pick someone who lives by different social rules (inner city black, gay, lower class etc) If that person slips up or expounds on idea that are offensive (or worse badly thought out) that reflects back on me.

A Groomer wants to gain a reputation as a good horse picker, not an idiot. And that is why (until there is a culture shift) you bosses will be wasp's.

Fair? nope. Deal with it.
Permalink Embarrased by reality 
January 18th, 2006
"Fair? nope. Deal with it. "

So we're supposed to grab our ankles b/c that's the way it's always been?

Not trying to twist your argument, but the "Life's not fair." bull$#!+ justification for continuing with the status quo gets up my nose--has from an early age. Of course Life's not fair. And it won't get any more fair if people don't start questioning, then opening challenging The Rules. I think we're at least contributing to the first part here.

[climbing down off soapbox]

Sorry--again, not trying to put words in your mouth, but that just hit a nerve for me and my Inner Hufflepuff.
Permalink cubiclegrrl 
January 18th, 2006
"A Groomer wants to gain a reputation as a good horse picker, not an idiot. And that is why (until there is a culture shift) you bosses will be wasp's."

Well, luckily most of us are in the tech industry where merit (measured by knowledge and ability) and character outweigh nearly everything else 100:1.

I'm not sure why some people want to hire/fire based on skin color, but I prefer to judge people based on their ability and character...
Permalink KC 
January 18th, 2006
"I'm not sure why some people want to hire/fire based on skin color, but I prefer to judge people based on their ability and character..."

Because color is a good indicator of ability and character due to affirmative actions.
Permalink Rick Tang 
January 18th, 2006
"Well, luckily most of us are in the tech industry where merit (measured by knowledge and ability) and character outweigh nearly everything else 100:1."

I've heard many on this board say that this is not true for the most part.
Permalink sharkfish 
January 18th, 2006
sharkfish,

I think you should work for a real tech company, instead of non-tech companies with IT.
Permalink Rick Tang 
January 18th, 2006
I did. Then the dot com bubble burst and everybody went back to "life sucks, get over it".
Permalink sharkfish 
January 18th, 2006
Oh well.

Hopefully you bought some tech stocks (yahoo, apple ...) after the crush.
Permalink Rick Tang 
January 18th, 2006
++cubiclegrrl

I hate people who magnanimously say "life's not fair". If life has been unfair in your favor (and for most of you it probably has) then this constitutes gratuitous bragging.
Permalink Colm O'Connor 
January 18th, 2006
*sigh* rereading over this thread it's like we are talking in different conversations. Some people on here have this impression of black people as they are seen on TV, they live in ghetto, are poor, commit crime etc. Yes, Colm, they are poorer then whites in general. But my point was completely lost in all that. There are millions of middle class black people today. Thousands of black millionaires. I live next to the richest majority black county in the country. My original point was this. Ignoring the poor black people, because poor white people ain't startin' their own board room anytime soon either. There is no excuse as to why a middle to upper class black person cannot start a business and hire only black people for their board room. They can, and do. If you don't like the system, change it. You guys can whine all you want about discrimination, yes it exists...both ways. But that hasn't stopped quite a few black people I know from becoming sucessful entrepeneurs. There are actually more opportunities out there, thanks to bidding on gov projects that favor minority owned business, to business loans setup to favor minorities.

If all the rich white guys are racist and won't let you into their board rooms, no about of forced grooming will change this. So create your own board rooms. Don't invite the whites.
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
>There is no excuse as to why a middle to upper class black
>person cannot start a business and hire only black people
>for their board room.

YES! MORE RACISM!

That's JUST what we need. Thank you oh modern day Jesus.
Permalink Colm O'Connor 
January 18th, 2006
Xerox did it. So there.

I have hung out with some of the wealthiest blacks in this hemisphere. I grew up middle class. I have hung out in the Chicago projects for a bit and talked to people who grew up in it. Heck, I dated a projects girl once.

So I think I know something about the state of black "wealth".

We are not talking about black wealth. We are talking about the wealth of MINORITIES, which includes women, blacks, Latins, Asians, etc.

The smartest Asians in this country are not in the boardrooms. Why not? The smartest women are not running corporations. Why not?

Because WASPs are not grooming them, that's why. Without proper mentoring, white, black, poor, female, Latin--you don't have a chance.

Our nation is fast becoming a Corpocracy. Very large corporations run the world. So if no minorities are running these behemoths, then minorities have no say, and it is an all white male society that decides the fate of the rest of us.

I don't want to live in such a world.

So yeah, tough luck, tough titties and all that. But really now. What kind of representative republic do we have if the only votes that count are white males? How do minorities catch up if not for the benevolence of those in power?

It's easy to say "go build your own". Tell that to the shops that got wiped out by WalMart before they even got going good.
Permalink sharkfish 
January 18th, 2006
>There are actually more opportunities out there, thanks to
>bidding on gov projects that favor minority owned business,
>to business loans setup to favor minorities.

Like I said in the other thread, AFFLUENT blacks (and if you run your own business you're not doing badly) do very well out of "positive discrimination". Mostly at the expense of whites who are not quite so affluent.

Poor blacks get screwed, just like poor whites. Only there are far more poor blacks, because you're much more likely to stay poor if you grew up poor.
Permalink Colm O'Connor 
January 18th, 2006
"The smartest Asians in this country are not in the boardrooms. Why not? The smartest women are not running corporations. Why not?"

sharkfish, this statement is just completely untrue. Get a clue, and stop making excuses.
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
"Poor blacks get screwed, just like poor whites. Only there are far more poor blacks, because you're much more likely to stay poor if you grew up poor."

Except numerically there are far more poor whites, so I will also tell you Colm to get a clue, drop your stereotypes, and feel free to pull the race card when you actually meet a black person.
Permalink Phil 
January 18th, 2006
"sharkfish, this statement is just completely untrue. Get a clue, and stop making excuses."



So you can't debate, so you change the subject? It is clear that minorities are underrepresented. Either you are sticking your head in the sand or you are just being obstinate or the many here have exasperated you to the point of gibberish.

As far as knowing a black person: I'm not sure that is a pre-requisite for debate, given a lot of the minorities being discussed here are not black.

I think you have a one-horse mind there, Phil.

This isn't just about blacks.
Permalink sharkfish 
January 18th, 2006
"So you can't debate, so you change the subject? It is clear that minorities are underrepresented."

How about this - minorities are underrepresented at the top because they're underrepresented at the bottom. How does the number of black board members today compare to the number of black business school graduates 25-30 years ago? (when our esteemed Judge Nominee Alito was arguing they didn't belong there)

How does the number of black managers today compare to the number of blacks entering college 15 years ago?

How does the number of blacks graduating from ivy league colleges today compare to the number of blacks that didn't have to share textbooks in elementary school ten years ago?

Due to the effect of dumping a large number of blacks into the workforce in 1865 and then treating them like crap for another 100 years, blacks are *over* represented among the poor. This means their kids get crappy schools, which means they don't/can't go to college, which means they don't go to business school, which means they don't become managers, etc, etc, etc.

Solve the problem of crappy education in depressed areas first, stir in continuing social awareness and some patience, and maybe it'll start solving itself?

I honestly cannot think of anything that would be more effective - you can't force people to like other people. :/

Philo
Permalink Philo 
January 19th, 2006
>Except numerically there are far more poor whites, so I will
>also tell you Colm to get a clue, drop your stereotypes

Proportionally there aren't.

Which I think you know, and you also know that that's what I meant.
Permalink Colm 
January 19th, 2006

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

Other topics: January, 2006 Other topics: January, 2006 Recent topics Recent topics