Where Are DiversityInc’s Black Developer and Builder Stories?

DiversityInc often has stories about different industries in corporate America. But one reader wondered why DiversityInc doesn't have stories on Black developers. The White Guy explains.

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.

Ask the White Guy Luke ViscontiQuestion:

I would like to know if DiversityInc has done any articles on African-American green developers and/or builders (licensed)? If so, how may I review them? If not, would that be an article you would consider?


This sounds like an interesting idea for a story; however, the building industry is conspicuously absent when you look at our subscriber database. That means that a construction-industry article will not draw a lot of readers (we measure web-site readership quite carefully when planning our editorial coverage).


Click here to read “Should Black Bigots Be Tolerated?”

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Click here to read “Is Black Culture the Problem With Education?”

From a business perspective, this makes a construction-industry article a loser for us. That’s not to say that we don’t purposefully plan articles that we know are important with the knowledge that they won’t draw a huge audience–we do. But frankly, if the construction industry is not interested, neither am I.

Would we get more construction-industry readers if we had more articles about them? No, it doesn’t work that way. Our content is mostly applicable to ANY industry. That’s why we have people from so many different kinds of companies in our subscriber database, why the jobs on our career center are so diverse and why the companies on the DiversityInc Top 50 range from IBM to Disney to Monsanto.

Over the past 11 years of publishing DiversityInc.com, I’ve spoken at more than 1,000 events and corporation meetings, but never at Skanska, Turner, Bechtel, Bovis or any of the others. None of them are among the 352 companies that competed for a spot on our DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list last year–even though most of their major customers did. They don’t advertise with us, post jobs on the career center, benchmark their diversity efforts–nothing.

Since a large public-works economic package appears to be a core item on President-elect Barack Obama’s economic-recovery plan, I’m sure there will be congressional hearings about the lack of diversity in the construction industry–especially as the Democratic Party-appointed EEOC commissioners start hearing more and more complaints.

Maybe then we’ll have enough people from the construction industry in our audience to make an interesting story.

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  •  Ditto the comment about minority populations w/i the trade industry. Working at a Job Corp center in Albuquerque, NM our population is primarily Native American and Hispanic and our training is largely construction trades.  Although, I find the info. in Diversity Mag. very useful and applicable, I have wondered if there might be specific articles pertaining to other than corporate America.  Instructing on multicultural awareness is a huge part of the curriculum I teach and I use DiversityInc most of the time. (I’m also a new subscriber) Thanks!!

  •  This topic should be explored and developed. As an eco-prenuer and evolving JV partner witha focus towards Green Real Estate Developemnt, I welcome the opportunity to participate and bring content to this message subject.

  •  Its interesting that this particular subject has come up, I am a Black contractor and have discussed this issue with a group I belong to (A Black think tank). We’re getting ready to develop and launch a program to get Black contractors to become “certified” minority-owned businesses through the State of California. In our research we have found out that Black contractors are very relunctant to try and become certified, they appear to be “scared off” by the amount of paperwork necessary, the proper insurance, bonding, and financial means in order to perform and government contract. Theres programs that can help these contractors “qualify” financially but, they still need to do the necessary paperwork in order to be considered for certification. Theres plenty of city, county, state and federal government contracts for minority and women-owned businesses (“set asides”), however, Blacks have to make the effort and have the “follow through” in order to land these contracts.

  •  As a black executive with one of the country’s largest developers and commercial construction services firm I agree with the statement that there’s a lack of diversity in the industry. Perhaps DiversityInc should reach out to other high ranking black executives to garner opinion on how we might collectively remedy this problem. I’d be happy to participate in this effort along with engaging the African American  Network Group of CB Richard Ellis.

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