One of the things I really enjoy about weekends is reading the newspaper. I get my news online during the week. But, on weekends, I relax with my coffee and the print newspaper. This weekend, I read a couple of articles I found very disturbing.
The first was titled “Shades of bigotry: Experts see a rise in skin-tone bias” by Dahleen Glanton via Tribune Newspapers. The article talked about the rising number of EEOC claims of skin-color bias. From less than 400 in 1992 to over 2,900 in 2009.
The second was a piece written by Tavis Smiley, contributing editor for USA Weekend. His article was focused on impressions about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The last two paragraphs really stood out for me:
“What you see is not always what you get. We live in the most multicultural, multiracial and multiethnic America ever. But I was the only African American in Clinton’s press pool, and I was a visitor. How strange that with a black commander in chief (one making life and death decisions about an American military disproportionately black and brown), that there were no people of color in the press pool.
This is certainly not the fault of Clinton; it is the media entities themselves that determine who is sent to cover the news. I wondered, though, what she thought of the fact that her entire press pool was white, while all of the flight attendants (active-duty military personnel) were black. I wonder if she noticed.”
His comments took me back to a meeting I attended several years ago. It was a community gathering to recognize the best employers in the area. During the program, the emcee called on the judges. When the judges stood up, the first thing I noticed was they were all middle-aged, white men. And believe me, I wasn’t the only person who noticed it.
The world we live in is filled with different people. People with different skin-tones, accents, religious beliefs, cultural rituals, etc. We will never all be the same. Never. And we shouldn’t want to be the same. It’s our differences that help us learn from each other. Help us to be better people.
Folks, the year is 2010. Just a few days ago, we celebrated the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It’s time to stop talking about diversity and just do it. And, most importantly, we need to hold organizations accountable when they don’t practice it.
Free your mind.