|Diversity Management has gone Global|
We have come a long way in Diversity Management. This is really a fancy name for Affirmative Action which was introduced by my mentor, Dr. Arthur A. Fletcher, under the Nixon Administration. Jim Crow (legislated discrimination) seems so long ago. Actually it has been only 2 generations since the very bad days. Let’s take a look at this successful venture.
Jim Crow laws and practices were implemented soon after the end of the Civil War. Blacks were second class citizens and in many places so were Hispanics. Our Jim Crow system was so bad that when
Soon a rising class of Black college graduates and homeowners would evolve. This was the first step to economic empowerment for Blacks but still Jim Crow was formally in place. Then, one day in
This gave birth to the Civil Rights Movement. The movement was successful. It culminated into the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This brought Blacks and others into the Constitution of the
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act was the beginning of enforcement. This dealt with hiring, training and promotion. No business could discriminate in these areas and the US Department of Labor would police this (through the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs). Black faces started to grow within work places at a rapid rate. The perfect model would come from the military. There are so many field grade officers of color working in the Pentagon that it is almost impossible to take a look down any hall and not see a Black officer. I owe my college education and professional career to the Civil Rights Movement and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
Title VI of the Civil Rights act states that if you are doing business with the federal government or benefiting from a federal program you cannot discriminate in your business practices. Entrepreneurship in the Black community is the fastest growing segment of American small business thanks to this law.
Title IX emulated Title VII from a female perspective and increased female participation immensely. The OFCCP monitors this also. It also created women college sports programs.
We have had 2 generations under these laws and it has been truly a success in a collective sense. It has become the envy of many nations. Thus, our major corporations that do business globally have brought the above practices to these nations and these nations have greeted them warmly. A Diversity Management Officer usually holds the rank of vice-president and reports directly to the President/CEO of the corporation. This officer is constantly looking for good minority and female talent and makes sure there is representation from top to bottom – including the Board of Directors.
Corporations such as Xerox, Johnson and Johnson and AT&T are fine examples of good diversity management. Perhaps the best is the French company Sodexo. There is a complete saturation of diversity amongst its 414,000 employees. Yes, we are off to a great start but remember it is still a “work in progress”.