Black Experience

For Business, Politics and Beyond

Over the past eight years, America has witnessed history with the election of Barak Obama, the country’s first Black president, and with the Congressional Black Caucus having 45 African-Americans sitting members of Congress.

In industry, major companies like Ford, Walmart, and Wells Fargo have strong diversity programs, leading to solid careers and excellent workplace conditions for many minorities.

Still, many experts stress that there’s a continued need for diversity in politics, business and even beyond.

As noted in a PEW Research report earlier this year, Americans are increasingly sorted into think-alike communities that reflect not only their politics but their demographics.

And, this is in an era of head-snapping racial, social, cultural, economic, religious, and technological change. The result has been a rise in the identity-based animus of one party toward the other that extends far beyond the issues.

These days, Democrats and Republicans no longer stop at disagreeing with each other’s ideas, according to Paul Taylor, the author of “The Next America,” and former vice president of the Pew Research Center in Northwest, D.C.

“Many in each party now deny the other’s facts, disapprove of each other’s lifestyles, avoid each other’s neighborhoods, impugn each other’s motives, doubt each other’s patriotism, can’t stomach each other’s news sources and bring different value systems to such core social institutions as religion, marriage and parenthood. It’s as if they belong not to rival parties but alien tribes,” Taylor said.

And, he suggested, their candidates in 2016 might seem to be running for president of two different countries.

“Diversity is critical for an organization’s ability to innovate and adapt in a fast-changing environment,” said Forbes Magazine Contributor Ekaterina Walter, who writes about leadership, business culture and marketing innovation.

“Truly successful and innovative companies are those that build diverse teams when they are just starting out in their own apartment or their folks’ garage. Diversity is a mentality, not just a strategic imperative,” she said.

“Startups tend to be more diverse than what’s seen in politics or traditional business,” said Kean Graham, CEO of MonetizeMore, a leading tech firm and a Google Certified Partner. “Startups tend to reward based on performance and merit rather than politics and myopic biases,” Graham added.

Ray McKenzie, the founder and principal of Red Beach Advisors, a minority-owned management and business consultant group, said when it comes to diversity, there are challenges in business, politics and other areas.

“In technology, for instance, there is an increasing trend of more women being accepted which is fantastic, but not as many African Americans being welcomed in leadership or top positions,” McKenzie said.

It’s also tougher in business and politics to establish relationships if the parties have nothing in common, McKenzie added.

“To correct the diversity issues, it has to come from multiple sides,” he said. “Diversity is something that can be achieved if people want to acknowledge that it is needed and want to embrace different cultures.”

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Stacy M. Brown

I’ve worked for the Daily News of Los Angeles, the L.A. Times, Gannet and the Times-Tribune and have contributed to the Pocono Record, the New York Post and the New York Times. Television news opportunities have included: NBC, MSNBC, Scarborough Country, the Abrams Report, Today, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Imus in the Morning and Anderson Cooper 360. Radio programs like the Wendy Williams Experience, Tom Joyner Morning Show and the Howard Stern Show have also provided me the chance to share my views.

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