Luke Visconti’s Ask the White Guy column is a top draw on DiversityInc.com. Visconti, the founder and CEO of DiversityInc, is a nationally recognized leader in diversity management. In his popular column, readers who ask Visconti tough questions about race/culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and age can expect smart, direct and disarmingly frank answers.
In a previous question you talked about whites being a minority in 2050. Will there be a redistribution of wealth and power by 2050 so that there is equitable wealth and power among all groups? Or is the issue of diversity management in 2050 really about the white minority managing a non-white majority?
In my opinion, the gaps in education, household income, professional achievement, etc. between people of color and white people will continue to close under market forces. For example, people of color are achieving high-school and college degrees at a faster growth rate than their representative growth in the population.
However, this organic growth will not redress past wrongs (such as slavery, the Chinese Exclusionary Act, the current state of 12 million undocumented workers, red lining, etc.)
Although it is counterintuitive to many people, I feel the case can be made that not actively redressing past wrongs is detrimental to all Americans. For example, black households have one-tenth the wealth of white households. If society enabled black households to catch up, it would be equivalent to injecting the entire GDP of Japan into our economy. Although blacks would certainly benefit, the majority of people benefiting from this enormous injection of capital into our economy would logically be white, as white people are the majority. In my opinion, the superior stock performance of our Top 50 list is a good indication that my theory is correct (expressed as a stock index, the Top 50 beat the S&P 500, Nasdaq and DJIA on a 10-, five- and one-year basis).
This is the business case for affirmative action and reparations. Unfortunately, I do not see the courage in our current politicians to have an honest discussion around fulfilling General Tecumseh Sherman’s General Field Order Number 45.
In my opinion, managing diversity in 2050 will have the same foundation as managing diversity in 2006. Strategic diversity management is about creating a culture of true meritocracy that allows talent to rise to its appropriate level–regardless of race, age, culture, disability, gender, orientation or other factors that make us human. As a part of outstanding diversity management, pipelines to aid education are a critical factor in developing sustainability. We see this already being done by many of the progressive companies in The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity.
There may be a delay between white people becoming the minority in the general population and also becoming the minority in corporate management–but perhaps not. I think global competition, the rapid growth of BRIC economies as well as the dramatically lower barriers to talent flow facilitated by technology will change the corporate competitive landscape much more rapidly than most people think it will.