There are some who do not want us to enter a better phase in race relations - it scares them, and it impacts what they hold dear; the grievance that feeds their fragile ego - and the pocket book that sustains them. Closer and closer we seem to be getting to a more just and fair society - one that sheds the the cancer of sectarianism.
The labels used to describe Americans of African descent mark the movement of a people from the slave house to the White House. Today, many are resisting this progression by holding on to a name from the past: "black."Bingo; everyone owes Shawn a beer. That is what we all are - regardless of where some, part, or all of your DNA comes from. That is how the world see us anyway; American. Go to Germany, Japan, South Africa, Qatar, Afghanistan; it doesn't matter - you are American first and usually last. Even internally, as we become a more and more multiracial people, just plain American is not only better - it is more accurate.
For this group — some descended from U.S. slaves, some immigrants with a separate history — "African-American" is not the sign of progress hailed when the term was popularized in the late 1980s. Instead, it's a misleading connection to a distant culture.
The debate has waxed and waned since African-American went mainstream, and gained new significance after the son of a black Kenyan and a white American moved into the White House. President Barack Obama's identity has been contested from all sides, renewing questions that have followed millions of darker Americans:
What are you? Where are you from? And how do you fit into this country?
"I prefer to be called black," said Shawn Smith, an accountant from Houston. "How I really feel is, I'm American."
"I don't like African-American. It denotes something else to me than who I am," said Smith, whose parents are from Mississippi and North Carolina. "I can't recall any of them telling me anything about Africa. They told me a whole lot about where they grew up in Macomb County and Shelby, N.C."... and so it does - and in many ways like this it is trending in the right direction. That is one of the reasons I keep DivThu going. In the Navy, the (D)iversity Bullies are not focused on unity, inclusion, and equality - much less (d)iversity. No - first and foremost they are interested in promoting their paycheck and sense of importance by promoting sectarianism, division, exclusion, and conflict.
"It just doesn't sit well with a younger generation of black people," continued George, who is 38. "Africa was a long time ago. Are we always going to be tethered to Africa? Spiritually I'm American. When the war starts, I'm fighting for America."
Joan Morgan, a writer born in Jamaica who moved to New York City as a girl, remembers the first time she publicly corrected someone about the term: at a book signing, when she was introduced as African-American and her family members in the front rows were appalled and hurt.
"That act of calling me African-American completely erased their history and the sacrifice and contributions it took to make me an author," said Morgan, a longtime U.S. citizen who calls herself Black-Caribbean American.
a record number of black people in America — almost 1 in 10 — were born abroad, according to census figures.
Tomi Obaro is one of them. Her Nigerian-born parents brought her to America from England as a girl, and she became a citizen last year. Although she is literally African-American, the University of Chicago senior says the label implies she is descended from slaves. It also feels vague and liberal to her.
"It just sort of screams this political correctness," Obaro said. She and her black friends rarely use it to refer to themselves, only when they're speaking in "proper company."
"Or it's a word that people who aren't black use to describe black people," she said.
Then there are some white Americans who were born in Africa.
Paulo Seriodo is a U.S. citizen born in Mozambique to parents from Portugal. In 2009 he filed a lawsuit against his medical school, which he said suspended him after a dispute with black classmates over whether Seriodo could call himself African-American.
"It doesn't matter if I'm from Africa, and they are not!" Seriodo wrote at the time. "They are not allowing me to be African-American!"
And so the saga of names continues.
-----Original Message-----That is the attitude they want to being to your Navy. Just so you know. A retrograde vision based on a foundation that has led to failure throughout human history; sectarianism and division. Much of our nation's battles in race relations was until the last 20-30 years one focused on bringing unity and the removal of barriers - i.e. a "color blind society." Now that we are, culturally, close to that goal - the retrograde forces of (D)iversity want to drag us back.
From: [redacted], Francis CAPT ONR PMR-51 [mailto:[redacted]f@ONR.NAVY.MIL]
Sent: Tuesday, February 07, 2012 10:44
Subject: Read-Ahead for 7 February DWG re: "Feedback on Diversity Inc conference call"
Attached read-ahead is for the outbrief of the "Diversity Department Structure" webinar of 24 January 2012 which I attended for the DWG. I will be presenting this at this afternoon's DWG telcon. The attachment consists of screen-captured slides from the webinar which contain good/interesting take-aways.
Diversity Inc. presented an overview of known Best Practices for Diversity Department organization (20min).
Then, two corporations (HCSC & GM) presented their own Diversity Department organization & practices to the webinar (20min each).
"Chief Diversity Officer" (CDO):
- Importance of reporting to high management.
- Who you report to indicates the value that the organization places upon the Diversity function.
- Not only an HR function; it must be a corporate priority.
What degree of access/authority does the CDO have:
-"CEO" time if needed?
- Hiring influence?
- If a PR fiasco re: Diversity occurs, is CDO in the immediate actions?
- Does your organization consider Diversity a "C-Suite" level position? (Speaks to the importance that is placed upon it...)
Top management stake:
- Does the company think enough of Diversity that a "line" person (someone who could later be the CEO of the company) is assigned to a rotational assignment as Chief Diversity Officer?
- "High-potential middle managers" should do rotational assignments on the company's internal Diversity Council.
*Size* of the Diversity Dept in a given corporation varies:
- Large companies have varying degrees of reliance upon their business units' Diversity efforts (i.e. they are decentralized).
- Some (e.g. Wal-Mart) have a large, centralized Diversity organization.
Metrics & Measures:
- Good Diversity programs benchmark best practices of other companies with known high-quality Diversity efforts.
- Diversity scorecard formats vary by company, but a consistent set of internal Diversity metrics is an important and useful tool.
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of IL/NM/OK/TX (a.k.a. "Health Care Service Corporation" (HCSC)):
- Carolyn Clift (CDO) presented *their* corporate Enterprise Diversity structure & approach.
- HCSC calls it "Enterprise Diversity & Inclusion Services" (EDIS).
- Considering Diversity & Inclusion in everyday business functions (e.g. translation services wrt customer interface).
- Executive Leadership Council is chaired by CDO, and consists of two liaison personnel from Diversity & Inclusion Council, and also 9 business stakeholders from across the organization. The Leadership Council acts as a Diversity steering committee and sets the tone, and drives integration of Diversity into HCSC's business ops.
- Diversity & Inclusion Council is chaired by the CEO & is co-chaired by the CDO. Diverse group of employees from various business units, locations, and subsidiaries. Advisory group. Also does communications to employees wrt Diversity programs.
- Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). Voluntary, employee-driven groups organized around a particular shared characteristic of Diversity. Provide "developmental support and opportunities to further professional growth, contribute to business objectives, and participate in community outreach activities."
- Business Unit Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Committees/Coordinators. Specific to each corporate business unit (dept/div).
- D&I "Facilitators" & "Champions" & "Ambassadors" ... people who have either great knowledge & interest, or past affiliation with the Diversity organization, and who are leveraged in order to maximize the "rollout" of corporate Diversity initiatives.
General Motors (GM):
- Eric Peterson, VP Corporate Diversity, presented.
- GM is pursuing a *Global* Diversity Strategy, not only a North American Diversity Strategy.
- Reviewed GM's Diversity initiatives, e.g. Supplier Diversity program, Minority Dealer program, Women's Dealer program, corporate positions held by minorities.
- GM is still only corporation to have a structured program to develop women as Dealers (final retail point of sale dealership owners).
- "You want to have people look at your company and say to themselves 'I can see myself working for that company because I see they have employees that look like me.'"
- "How many Hispanic dealers do you have? Do you invest in Hispanic communities? What Hispanic-focused advertising have you used?"
- Customer alignment (Diversity message appropriate to customer base) is central focus.
- "Diversity is also LGBT, generational, Millenials. It's not just racial/gender."
- "Scorecard" for senior leadership includes "development of people."
- GM leadership is *compensated* based upon (among other things) development of a pool of Diverse candidates for advancement to higher-level positions.
- GM thinks "in the STEM areas there's a big void. Within the U.S. there's such a huge void that we focus a lot on education. $4.5M/yr scholarships donated for STEM programs."
- Workforce demographics ("want GM to appear an ideal place to work" in the future).
- Want to send message that "GM has a level playing field" (Diversity-wise). Want GM to be a good corporate citizen and a good Diversity citizen and "engrained in the community."
- International Diversity ... GM (Mr. Peterson) said that they still haven't nailed down how "Global Diversity" is going to work. Said that GM is benchmarking other companies that have international Diversity programs in order to leverage best practices in this area (which is new to them).
Talk to y'all at 1600EST.
120124 Diversity Inc Diversity Dept Organization Webinar Takeaways