The Con of Diversity

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Mr. Fish / Truthdig

In 1970, when black students occupied the dean’s office at Harvard Divinity School to protest against the absence of African-American scholars on the school’s faculty, the white administration was forced to respond and interview black candidates. It asked James Cone, the greatest theologian of his generation, to come to Cambridge, Mass., for a meeting. But the white power structure had no intention of offering Cone a job. To be black, in its eyes, was bad enough. To be black, brilliant and fiercely independent was unpalatable. And so the job was given to a pliable African-American candidate who had never written a book, a condition that would remain unchanged for the more than three decades he taught at Harvard.

Harvard got what it wanted. Mediocrity in the name of diversity. It was a classic example of how the white power structure plays people of color. It decides whom to promote and whom to silence. When then-Maj. Colin Powell helped cover up the 1968 massacre of some 500 civilians at My Lai in Vietnam he was assured a glittering career in the Army. When Barack Obama proved obedient to the Chicago political machine, Wall Street and the Democratic Party establishment he was promoted to the U.S. Senate and the presidency.

Diversity in the hands of the white power elites—political and corporate—is an advertising gimmick. A new face, a brand, gets pushed out front, accompanied by the lavish financial rewards that come with serving the white power structure, as long as the game is played. There is no shortage of women (Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Donna Brazile), Latinos (Tom Perez and Marco Rubio) or blacks (Vernon Jordan, Clarence Thomas and Ben Carson) who sell their souls for a taste of power.

Ta-Nehisi Coates in his book “We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy” writes that “Barack Obama is directly responsible for the rise of a crop of black writers and journalists who achieved prominence during his two terms.” But this was true only for those black writers like Coates and Michael Eric Dyson who were obsequious cheerleaders for Obama. If, like Cornel West, you were black and criticized Obama you were isolated and attacked by Obama surrogates as a race traitor.

Chris Hedges/Truthdig/rest of story

Posted by The NON-Conformist

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CDC Denies Banning Words; Rights Group Projects Disputed Terms Onto Trump D.C. Hotel

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The Human Rights Campaign, working with artist Robin Bell, projected words like “fetus” and “transgender” onto the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday night, to protest the words being included on a “forbidden” list circulating at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A Washington Post report says staff were instructed not to use the words in budgetary documents.

The Department of Health and Human Services, which includes the CDC, has denied the report, calling it a “complete mischaracterization” of conversations about the annual budget. The CDC says that the words are not banned and that the organization remains “committed to our public health mission as a science-and evidence-based institution.”

According to the Post, high-level officials at the CDC were told not to use seven words — diversity, entitlement, evidence-based, fetus, science-based, transgender and vulnerable — while writing documents connected to next year’s budget.

More from NPR

Posted by Libergirl

Not a Single Black Woman Heads a Top Fortune 500 Company

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The lack of diversity in upper levels of corporate America in 2017 is shocking.

Every year, Fortune magazine releases its Fortune 500 list, a ranking of the top 500 most profitable corporations in the U.S. In the 63 years Fortune has published the Fortune 500, the CEOs at the head of the 500 listed companies have traditionally skewed male. This year’s list is no exception, even if it contains a slight improvement in its gender balance: The 2017 rankings include the most number of female CEOs ever in the list’s history—a total of 32 women. This marks a 50 percent increase from last year’s list, in which there were only 21 female CEOs.

But while this year’s Fortune 500 makes history in gender diversity, it is in no way representative of a country where women make up about 47 percent of the workforce, according to the Department of Labor. More glaring still is its miniscule number of women of color—Geisha Williams from PG&E, the first Latina ever featured on the Fortune 500, and Indra Nooyi from PepsiCo are the only two on this year’s list. In addition, there are no black women among this year’s Fortune 500 CEOs.

The lack of gender and racial diversity on the Fortune 500 reflects larger systemic trends about the makeup of corporate America. For instance, while women of color make up one-third of the workforce, they comprise only 16.5 percent of employees for S&P 500 companies, according to the research organization Catalyst. There are even fewer women of color in senior positions: less than 10 percent of managers, 3.9 percent of executives and a scant 0.4 percent of CEOs. In looking at the overall makeup of women in S&P 500 companies, white women surpass women of color in every major employee category. The corporate boards in Fortune 500 companies are no more diverse, where the latter hold only 3.1 percent of seats.

The obstacles facing women of color in the workforce, particularly in corporations, are born of both gender and racial biases. Catalyst labels these roadblocks a “concrete ceiling,” a telling contrast to the “glass ceiling” typically encountered by white women.

“Not only is the ‘concrete ceiling’ reported to be more difficult to penetrate, women of color say they cannot see through it to glimpse the corner office,” Catalyst President Sheila Wellington said to Forbes in 2015.

For women of color, the “concrete ceiling” places the prospect of moving up the corporate ladder even further out of reach. A survey conducted by the Center for Women Policy Studies showed that 21 percent of women of color said they did not feel free to “be themselves at work.” In addition, one third of women of color thought they must “play down” their race to succeed.”

One of the facets contributing to this “concrete ceiling” is the fact that women of color are perceived and treated differently because of their race and gender, especially by their male counterparts. Past studies have shown that women of color who try using the same tactics as men to get ahead in the workplace often see diminished results in the form of less advancement and slower pay growth.

Not only do women of color face obstacles seeking promotions in the workplace, but they are consistently paid less than other white women and far less than white men. The oft-repeated line is that women, in general, make 78 cents for every dollar that a man makes. According to a 2014 report from the American Association of University Women that compared the earnings of women to men, black women made 64 cents, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander women made 65 cents, indigenous women made 59 cents, and Hispanic women made 54 cents for every dollar white men earned in 2013. The only minority group to earn more than white women was Asian-American women, who still earned just 90 cents on white men’s dollar.

by Celisa Calacal/AlterNet

Posted by The NON-Conformist

A Telling Look Back the Century-Old Quest for Diversity in Entertainment

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Image: Variety Magazine

If anyone doubts struggles in diversity, it only requires a quick look at Variety’s 111 years of publication to find the proof.

The history of show business is a history of bias, which can be broken down into three general eras: Humiliation (1905-42) when grossly demeaning terms like “coon” and vile treatment were “normal”; protest (1942-49), when voices were raised in simple requests that demeaning stereotypes and racist images be removed from entertainment; and the struggle for equality (1949-2016), when groups began confronting the absence of people of color in key above- and below-the-line fields. For those who still don’t quite understand the fury behind the current demands for change, it should be noted that this third phase is now approaching its 70th year.

More from Variety.com

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TRISTAN WALKER: THE VISIBLE MAN

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Tristan Walker is in the house.

He is posted up in the vestibule of the Fox Theatre in Redwood City, California, where the hottest venture-capital firm in Silicon Valley, Andreessen Horowitz, has just hosted a screening of a new documentary starring the rapper Nas. Nas is here, too, but from the way Tristan Walker works the crowd of nearly 1,000, you’d think it was his premiere. Sporting a light-gray Bailey fedora and a speckled charcoal sweatshirt bearing the logo of his new startup, Walker & Company Brands, the debonair 30-year-old dives into the masses, vanishes, reemerges in a corner deep in conversation, and makes introductions all around, exclaiming, “You two should meet!” During a stationary second, a young black man who can’t be more than 20 years old walks over.

“I’ve been following your moves,” he says. “And I’ve been really inspired by you.”

Image: Fast Company

Walker is a celebrity in Silicon Valley, known primarily for his success and creativity as head of business development at Foursquare, which he joined in 2009 and left in 2012. Foursquare was one of the original location-based “check-in” apps, and Walker put the startup on the map by landing hundreds of partnerships with merchants and brands such as American Express and BravoTV.

More from Fast Company

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Apple Puts Up $50 Million to Increase Diversity in Tech Industry

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Posted by Libergirl

TIME

It’s a big week for Apple. On Monday the iPhone-maker unveiled the latest addition to its ecosystem of devices, a smart watch whose price will range from $350 to $18,000. On Tuesday, the company kicks off its annual shareholders’ meeting in Cupertino, Calif.

But there’s more. In an exclusive interview with Fortune, Apple’s human resources chief Denise Young Smith said the company is partnering with several non-profit organizations on a multi-year, multi-million-dollar effort to increase the pipeline of women, minorities, and veterans in the technology industry—and, of course, at Apple.

[newsletter-the-brief]

“We wanted to create opportunities for minority candidates to get their first job at Apple,” said Young Smith, who took over as its head of HR a little over a year ago. (Before her current role, the longtime Apple exec spent a decade running recruiting for the retail side of the business.) “There is tremendous upside…

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Silicon Valley Firms Are Even Whiter and More Male Than You Thought

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After stalling for years, Google finally released data on the diversity of its workforce , admitting that the company is “miles from where want to be.” Lazlo Bock, Google’s senior vice president of people operations, noted that “being totally clear about the extent of the problem is a really important part of the solution,” adding that the company is supporting code education among historically underrepresented groups.

Image: Google

But those efforts may not be enough. Exclusive data obtained from the Labor Department by Mother Jones shows that top Silicon Valley tech firms lag far behind the general population in diversity, and that while Google is average in its recruitment of women, it has even fewer African-American and Latino employees than other major tech firms. More from Mother Jones

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