All Articles Tagged "african americans in workplace"
(Bloomberg) — Women and minorities remain underrepresented in U.S. corporate boardrooms, crimping companies’ potential to lead in the global economy, a report by the Alliance for Board Diversity showed. White men held about 70 percent of the 1,211 board seats at Fortune 100 companies last year, little changed from 71 percent in 2004, said the alliance, which advocates the inclusion of women and minority directors. Women added 16 seats, a 1.1 percentage point gain the group called “not appreciable.” The biggest minority groups were African-American men at 7.3 percent, Hispanic men at 3.1 percent, and African-American women at 2.1 percent.
(New York Times) — Q. Is it a good idea to get involved with affinity groups — for example, a group representing African-American women or Latino men?
A. Affinity groups can help you personally and professionally as long as the group doesn’t exist solely as a way for members to meet and socialize with one another. Steer yourself toward groups that have executive sponsors and a strategic intent to help the business with issues like recruiting, product development and marketing, said Peter J. Aranda III, chief executive of the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, which helps universities identify and recruit underrepresented minorities for M.B.A. programs. “Affinity groups can operate like focus groups,” Mr. Aranda said, “advising the company how to communicate with and market their products to different populations and what mistakes they may be making.”
(Blooomberg) — Women and minorities remain underrepresented in U.S. corporate boardrooms, crimping companies’ potential to lead in the global economy, a report by the Alliance for Board Diversity showed. White men held 73 percent of board seats at Fortune 100 companies last year, up from 71 percent in 2004, according to the alliance, which advocates the inclusion of women and minorities on corporate boards. White women accounted for 15 percent in 2010, compared with 14 percent in 2004, while minorities made up 13 percent, down from 15 percent. Citigroup Inc. (C), International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) and Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) were among just 15 companies in the Fortune 500 whose boards last year had representation from each of the U.S. Census Bureau’s major groups: men, women, Whites, African Americans, Asian Pacific Islanders and Hispanics, the alliance said. Companies won’t reach their potential without leaders from different backgrounds, ethnicities and genders, it said.
By Steven Barboza
As the black owner of a hair salon with such celebrity clientele as Angela Bassett, Paula Patton, Phylicia Rashad, Diana Ross and others, Daisy Curbeon managed a staff of six hair stylists for more than 10 years. A former runway model, she had worked her way up from sweeping beauty shop floors to styling for the stars. After opening a salon on Manhattan’s posh Park Avenue, she ran into resistance from some of her own black employees, women who “dissed” her largely because of race.
“Because I’m a black boss, they thought they could come in late,” Curbeon said. “If they had some daddy-mama drama, they might not come in at all. You know, a white salon wouldn’t put up with that. But in a black salon, I’d have to deal with it and be sympathetic because I’m a black woman too.”
She added bitterly: “There was too much familiarity and lack of respect because of race. Familiarity breeds contempt. People try to fit in like family, and then it becomes a problem at work.”
Curbeon’s difficulties no doubt were partly due to her informal management style, but her experiences are not unique; they’re just not widely discussed—in public. In truth, many black managers don’t care to see themselves as too lenient on “their own,” so this “race secret” is glossed over among friends. And business school professors are only now scratching their heads, trying to develop theories on how to deal with this peculiar racial dilemma.
The New Power Brokers
The issue is especially pertinent today, though, because a new “black power” is taking shape nationwide, and black leaders are better positioned than ever to make hiring decisions, from the variety store to the boardroom to the corridors of political power. The nation now has 2 million black-owned businesses.
In addition, the nation has tens of thousands of black executives, several hundred black directors of Fortune 500 firms, 650 black mayors, a handful of black governors—and its first black President, a shrewd and savvy operator credited with running the finest campaign ever launched by a candidate for our highest office.
Despite this clout, blacks are suffering disproportionately in the Great Recession. According to September data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, black male unemployment rose from 16.7% to 17.3%, compared to a rate increase of 8.8% to 8.9% for white males. Thus, black male unemployment is 94% higher than the rate for white men. The unemployment rate for black women rose from 12.9% to 13.2%, whereas white women did not see an increase.
African-Americans cannot afford to let insubordination serve as an excuse for not getting hired. Yet, it is a real, though mostly unspoken, concern among black bosses. While black–on-black disrespect on the job is hardly universal, it does occur when black employees use common racial bonds as a pass to excuse under-performance.
Slack performance can mean the difference between success and failure for black-run organizations, from barbershops and banks to charter schools and tech firms. Sabotaging a manager’s effectiveness could prevent a firm from winning new business, hamper overall work quality, or prevent a firm from gaining access to traditional pools of capital—and black-owned firms already face higher hurdles in this area than non-minority firms.
Off The Record, Here’s The Real Deal …
Many black executives won’t even discuss this issue “on the record” for fear of causing friction among employees, or because they’d just as soon keep the company spotlight off a hidden race problem, especially one in which they themselves might be enmeshed. Others are altruistic about their avoidance of this issue, saying that revealing this problem might put a damper on opportunities for blacks to climb the corporate hierarchy.
Off the record, however, these same black bosses and entrepreneurs can easily recall black-on-black impertinence, ranging from backtalk to a “do-it-yourself” demeanor that could be grounds for dismissal.
“An African-American manager asked his black subordinate to schedule travel arrangements,” a nonprofit executive confided. “The employee felt it could have been done by the manager. You could tell from her tone, which was entirely too familiar for the workplace. It’s challenging on the management side because you can’t respond as you would to a family member, and that’s where tension comes in. An African American manager needs to be able to lead in such a way that’s going to cultivate the support and respect he or she needs to get the job done.”