'People of Color' and 'People of Quality' Are Not Exclusive

Question: I recently overhead a conversation between our HR director, an African-American woman, and a hiring manager, a white woman. The HR director commented that she saw her success directly tied to hiring as many "women of color as possible" to which the hiring manager responded "my goal is to hire as many people of quality as possible." How would you respond especially in light of a past response in which you commented that our past is full of double standards.

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.


Question:

I recently overhead a conversation between our HR director, an African-American woman, and a hiring manager, a white woman. The HR director commented that she saw her success directly tied to hiring as many "women of color as possible" to which the hiring manager responded "my goal is to hire as many people of quality as possible." How would you respond especially in light of a past response in which you commented that our past is full of double standards. Are you suggesting we address our past injustices by creating new ones? How would you have responded to the hiring manager?

Answer:

I don't think that "women of color" and "people of quality" are exclusive terms. I know many high-quality women of color.

The goal of any hiring strategy should be to find a representative slate of the best quality people. However, given that talent is distributed equally and bidirectional communication links employees to markets, there are many business reasons to balance a non-representative work force by setting appropriate goals.

Since I'm not privy to the HR director's goals, I can't comment on her intention. It seems to me, however, that regardless of the HR director's intention, the hiring manager may have been insubordinate.

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In an age of increasing racial confrontations, a business must have zero tolerance for discrimination.

In the Trump era, there has been a proliferation of Islamophobic and racist incidents across the country. When discrimination occurs at a place of business, it's apparent if the company's leadership and workforce support diversity and inclusion. A Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf café barista refused to serve a racist customer; meanwhile, a white manager at a Starbucks called the police on two Black men for no reason.

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Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Executives from Nielsen, New York Life, TIAA and Toyota Motor North America talk about communicating their commitment to D&I management and backing it up with actions that get results.

At the 2018 DiversityInc Top 50 event, more than 400 people were in attendance during the day to hear best practices on effectively managing diversity and inclusion.

Moderator: Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

Panelists:

  • Angela Talton, Chief Diversity Officer, Nielsen
  • Kathleen Navarro, VP & Chief Diversity Officer, New York Life
  • Steve Larson, Senior Director of Diversity & Inclusion, TIAA
  • Adrienne Trimble, General Manager, Diversity & Inclusion, Toyota Motor North America

We White People Need to Own This

Martin Luther King has been dead for 50 years and Donald Trump is our president. Who is responsible?

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Luke Visconti is the founder and CEO of DiversityInc. Although the title of his column is meant to be humorous, the issues he addresses and the answers he gives to questions are serious — and based on his 18 years of experience publishing DiversityInc. Click here to send your own question to Luke.

We will be deluged by Martin Luther King articles and columns today. Some will be excellent, like the one Rev. Jesse Jackson wrote. But most will be saccharine sweet and not say what needs to be said.

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Lisa Garcia Quiroz, Time Warner's First Chief Diversity Officer, Creator of People en Español, Dies at 56

Quiroz was an advocate of diversity and inclusion, education and the arts.

A Latina trailblazer, Lisa Garcia Quiroz, senior vice president and chief diversity officer at Time Warner Inc., and president of the Time Warner Foundation, died Friday at age 56 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. An advocate of diversity and inclusion, education and the arts, Quiroz created a dynamic legacy.

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