Luke Visconti, CEO: Diversity Management in Ferguson: What Didn't Happen, What Needs to Happen Now
Based on the dramatic distrust that exists now and the wrongs that have been committed, here are the steps that need to be taken in Ferguson to restore calm and move forward.
By Luke Visconti
There are some basic facts about Ferguson, Mo., that mirror the basic facts we find in some corporations: an almost all-white, all-male leadership and a much more diverse "constituency."
As with corporations, you can follow the numbers to understand how things truly work.
Ferguson is 67 percent Black. It has a white mayor, a 93 percent white city council and a 93 percent white police force. The seven-person school board has no Black members and its most recent significant action was to fire a Black superintendent.
It's also important to follow the money. According to a recent report from Missouri's attorney general, the 93 percent white police force's performance numbers are startling: 86 percent of traffic stops, 92 percent of searches and 92 percent of arrests were of Black people. Of the stops, contraband was found in 22 percent of Black drivers stopped and 34 percent of white drivers stopped. It is important to keep in mind that court revenue can make up almost 50 percent of the revenue of the municipalities in St. Louis County. At the very least, the numbers show that a whole lot more white people should have been pulled over considering the goal of most highway policing in non-urban areas is revenue generation.
We sometimes benchmark companies with these kinds of grossly unrepresentative numbers. There is almost always an attendant disparity in both voluntary and involuntary separations, which signifies a lack of talent development, which mirrors the horrible schools that most Black and Latino children attend. The behavior that leads to disparate leadership statistics also leads to widely divergent views on leadership trustworthiness and credibility. The solution is more engagement of leadership in diversity management, more clarity on the goals in place to achieve those goals. Most importantly, action is required.
Based on my 14 years of studying diversity data in large organizations and hundreds of interactions with chief executive officers, executive committees and senior officers in the armed forces, here's my advice for Ferguson. It is based on the dramatic distrust that exists now, wrongs that have been committed, and what my experience tells me is necessary to restore calm and move forward.
- Remove the Missouri National Guard from Ferguson. Every picture I've seen of the National Guardsmen shows me that they're almost all white. Further, an increase in militarization was exactly the wrong move to make.
- Fire Police Chief Thomas Jackson immediately. He has lost the confidence of the people of Ferguson by mismanaging the aftermath of the shooting of Michael Brown. Appoint Captain Ronald Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol as police chief for one year.
- Arrest Officer Darren Wilson. Four bullet wounds that entered Michael Brown's arms as if they were raised is adequate reason to arrest him, especially considering Michael Brown had no weapons. I understand the process takes time, however the burden of that process has been on the heads of the people during this incident. It's time to spread that burden equitably. The fact that Michael Brown's clothing was not available during the outside medical examiner's autopsy, which may have revealed the presence of powder burns, gives me reason to believe that there were no powder burns and that the teenager was shot from a distance, not within the car. Chief Jackson has proven himself to not be credible; in fact, it's fair to say that he's purposefully misinformed the local and national public.
- The mayor, who has been missing in action, needs to convene an executive diversity council consisting of a representative of the population group of business owners, clergy, retired people who have had responsibility, and average citizens (mothers, schoolteachers, students). A timeframe should be established to develop a diversity plan with goals that would include city services that better meet the needs of the citizens, and mechanisms to reduce mistrust and increase representation in the official facilities and operations of the region. The first action of the diversity council should be to take clear steps to stop the flow of negative information about the dead teenager and open the doors to the process. It is inexcusable that the identity of the police officer was withheld for days while immaterial information about Michael Brown was steadily released in an attempt to destroy his reputation, even though he was dead.
- Missouri Governor Jay Nixon needs to remove himself from the situation. You would think, by sheer random chance, that he would've gotten something right by now, but he hasn't.
Rebuilding trust will lead to restoring order. Once order is restored, the real work begins with the ultimate goal of raising the circumstances of the citizens of Ferguson and the surrounding ring suburbs of St. Louis, which have suffered economically due to racist actions and lack of action by the local governments. This is where the governor might want to convene an executive diversity council of his own. I recommend Tom Voss, recently retired CEO of St. Louis–based Ameren. He knows what he's doing and is a real human being.
Ultimately, as with corporations, the goal of diversity management for Ferguson and for Missouri would be to improve efficiency and effectiveness of operations, improve innovation and productivity, increase revenue and decrease expenses, and improve competitiveness. At the soul of all the benefits is trust of all the people, equitably, forthrightly and credibly. It's not a mysterious process. It has specific steps, and we've seen it hundreds of times.
NAACP says: While the state has hate crime laws, they're not often enforced.
A white teen, social media identified as a student at Southington High School in Connecticut, made a racist video that included threats of lynching Black people and claims that he "hung 12 Black men from a tree just this night."
"We are tired of the abuse, the insults, the way he talks about us when he knows that we are here helping him make money," said a woman working at Trump National Golf Club.
As President Trump sends troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to "defend" (white) America against the caravans of Brown people and bar some from asylum in the U.S., the history of hiring undocumented workers at his properties in New Jersey and Florida continues to come to light.
Trump has a problem with undocumented immigrants seeking asylum, but not when they are hired to wash his clothes or make his bed.
The Trump administration is creating a narrative that refugees escaping violence and poverty in Central America and seeking asylum are dangerous.
Victorina Morales, an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala, reportedly crossed the border in 1999 and has worked at the at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J, since 2013, The New York Times reported Thursday.
According to a spokesperson for his business organization, she would be one of tens of thousands of people to be employed by Trump, and would be terminated if she was undocumented. Sandra Diaz, 46, from Costa Rica was another.
Both Morales and Diaz, during their stints, washed the Trump family's clothes in a special detergent, made beds and dusted.
"There are many people without papers," said Ms. Diaz, who said she witnessed several people being hired whom she knew to be undocumented.
Morales was initially pleased with her job because she was paid and tipped well, often times by Trump. But her sentiments changed when he ran for president.
"I'm tired of being humiliated and treated like a stupid person," she said in Spanish during a brief interview. "We're just immigrants who don't have papers."
During his campaign in 2016, when he referred to Mexicans as rapists and criminals, he promised to mandate E-Verify, a federal tool to verify employment eligibility, and requested $23 million in his 2019 budget proposal to expand the program for nationwide use. He also bragged when a new Trump hotel opened in Washington, "We didn't have one illegal immigrant on the job."
"The president has been half-serious about stopping illegal immigration by not taking away the jobs magnet," said Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, a group pushing to reduce immigration. Beck said Trump has "let us down in his promise to help American workers" because he hasn't "put his shoulder behind a mandatory E-Verify bill."
Trump signed a "Buy American, Hire American" executive order in 2017 restricting visas, but his Mar-a-Lago golf club also has a history of applying for H-2B visas for hundreds of immigrant workers. The H-2B visa is for "temporary non-agricultural workers."
Morales reports being driven to work by staff to hide the fact that she couldn't legally drive, and that after she presented fake papers for work, she was given another set of fake papers by the Trump Organization to keep her employed there.
Morales had a front row seat on the job to Trump meetings as she was cleaning his villa, even when potential cabinet members were interviewed and when he met with the White House chief of staff.
But that didn't come without experiencing verbal abuse from Trump's staff.
Her attorney Anibal Romero said in a statement Thursday that his clients were called racial epithets and threatened with deportation by a supervisor that ironically, "had employed them despite knowing their undocumented status and even provided them with forged documents."
"We are tired of the abuse, the insults, the way he talks about us when he knows that we are here helping him make money," she told the NY Times. "We sweat it out to attend to his every need and have to put up with his humiliation."
Reader Question: Do we need any more proof that he's a liar about everything?
A video of a white man yelling at a white cop, without physical consequences, has more than 1 million views.
Botham Jean, Jemel Roberson and Emantic Bradford Jr. were all minding their own business, not mouthing off, and they were shot dead by police. Sandra Bland questioned an officer and wound up dead in a jail cell.
So when a video of an unidentified white man spewing expletives at an officer, throwing his license at the officer, and threatening to kill the officer, without any physical consequences, started circulating on Twitter, it went viral with more than 1 million views this week.
“All Black people have to do is stop mouthing off to police, do as they're told and they won't get shot"....
White people: pic.twitter.com/C7pf122BHm
— Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) December 2, 2018
People of color on Twitter commented that had it been them in the video, they would've had bullets in the chest by the time the truck passed:
I think that this should be allowed to be shown in the court room when white officers claim they fear for their lives because he clearly said that he would kill that officer now that would be a reason to fear for your life and yet that white man is not shot or is he dead hmmmmmmm
— Kellie Byrdsong (@ByrdsongKellie) December 3, 2018
I've literally seen Black men get manhandled and slapped around over a lot less
— aDORKable_me525 (@JayLaLa_RN) December 3, 2018
The second a black or Latin dude raises his hand and points is the second the cop pulls the trigger... this guy sure represents the power of being white ...
— Alberto Toribio (@ArealMac) December 2, 2018
Boy he would have emptied a clip in my chest for this
— Ahmadd (@amadafrink) December 2, 2018
There are studies that well document how Blacks have been treated differently by police. In the case traffic stops, whites were 57 percent more likely to be spoken to with respectful language, whereas Black drivers were 61 percent more likely to experience an exchange that was the least respectful. Officers language with the least respect included calling people, "dude, bro, boss, man, brotha, sista or chief".
FBI data found that U.S. police kill Black people at disproportionate rates: Black people accounted for 31 percent of police killing victims in 2012, even though they made up just 13 percent of the U.S. population. And 62.7 percent of unarmed people killed by police are Black.
Yet racists, and some conservatives believe the treatment is deserved because Blacks did something wrong.
Angry White Man Invokes Law Enforcement Injustice to Black People When He Thinks He's on the Receiving End: Video
Trump voter expresses frustration at perceived unfair treatment on racial terms.
For example, in Orlando's International Airport in August, a white male Trump supporter tackled to the ground by police for being a disruptive passenger
knew his privilege, when he said, "You're being rough with me. You're f***ing treating me like a Black person."
Reader Question: How does the video of the white man berating the white officer make you feel?
A Black man who was unjustly convicted because of Raimundo Atesiano's actions was deported back to Haiti.
UPDATE: Nov. 28, 2018
Raimundo Atesiano was sentenced to three years in prison for a conspiracy in his department to frame Black people. The former Biscayne Park police chief was allowed him to remain free for two weeks before surrendering to care for his mother, who is dying of leukemia, according to the Miami Herald.
"When I took the job, I was not prepared," Atesiano told a federal judge. "I made some very, very bad decisions."
As racial disparities continue to plague the criminal justice system, a former police chief in Florida admitted to purposely sending Black men to prison. Former Biscayne Park Police Chief Raimundo Atesiano acknowledged at his plea hearing in Miami federal court that he told his cops in 2013 to frame three Black residents, one of which was a 16-year-old, for a series of unsolved home and vehicle burglaries in order get a 100 percent clearance on the department's property crimes record.
"The Second Amendment was not made for Black folks," said Noah.
Jemel Roberson, a Black hero shot dead by police, was laid to rest last weekend as was Emantic Bradford Jr., an innocent Black 21-year-old male mistakenly identified as a mass shooter in an Alabama mall and also shot dead by police.
"How does this shit keep happening?" Trevor Noah, host of "The Daily Show," asked after discussing the incident.
"The cops are called into a situation. They see a Black person. And then immediately they shoot."
Byron Ragland calls for a boycott of the shop. To "punish white supremacy and anti-Black behavior – you hit it hard and you hit it fast right in its pockets," he said.
In response to public backlash on social media, the Kirkland Police Department, which serves the Seattle suburb, offered an apology to Byron Ragland almost two weeks after he was told to leave Menchie's, a frozen yogurt shop, because the owner called 911 as women workers said he "looked suspicious."
The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said it was a "hate incident."
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"I prefer the whole freakin' nation to be white," the woman says.