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Tag Archives: Diversity

Misty Copeland on Visiting Cuba and Diversity in Dance

Few Americans realize that some of the best Ballet dancers in the world hail from Cuba…

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2017 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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Rep Steve King Blasted for Racism

Interesting discussion kicked off about Rep Steve King’s brown babies comment…

 

 

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Letting Your Mouth Get Your Rear End in Trouble – Under Armour’s CEO

Joining the list of the stupid, Under Armour’s CEO Keven Plank came out supporting the Chumph. The kickback was immediate, as a number of the company’s spokes people came out to reject any endorsement of Putin’s Bitch. Plank’s comments go 180 degrees against many of the athletes who use his products, as well as many of the spokespeople. Dumb move – alienating his customer base.

Looks like the company may be in the market for a new CEO shortly…Call me.

Image result for CEO Kevin Plank

Under Armour endorsees speak out against Plank’s comments on Trump

Looks like Under Armour’s tough week is just getting tougher.

More and more athletes on the Baltimore company’s roster spoke critically on Thursday of CEO Kevin Plank’s recent comments complimenting the Trump administration. In the past 24 hours, Stephen Curry, Misty Copeland and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson have all issued statements distancing themselves from the CEO’s comments.

“I have always appreciated the great support and platform that Under Armour has given me to represent my community, gender, and career on the world stage,” said Copeland in a Facebook post Thursday. “However, I strongly disagree with Kevin Plank’s recent comments in support of Trump as recently reported.”

The first African-American woman to be principal ballerina with the American Ballet Theater, Copeland said she has never backed away from openly speaking about the importance of diversity and inclusion and it’s important that her sponsors share that belief.

“I have spoken at length with Kevin privately about the matter, but as someone who takes my responsibility as a role model very seriously, it is important to me that he, and UA, take public action to clearly communicate and reflect our common values in order for us to effectively continue to work towards our shared goal of trying to motivate ALL people to be their best selves.”

Around the same time, Johnson put out a statement on his social media accounts calling Plank’s comments “divisive.”

“I appreciate and welcome the feedback from people who disagree (and agree) with Kevin Plank’s words on CNBC, but these are neither my words, nor my beliefs. His words were divisive and lacking in perspective. Inadvertently creating a situation where the personal political opinions of Under Armour’s partners and its employees were overshadowed by the comments of its CEO,” Johnson said.  “I partner with brands I trust and with people who share my same values. That means a commitment to diversity, inclusion, community, open-mindedness and some serious hard work. But it doesn’t mean that I or my team will always agree with the opinion of everyone who works there, including its executives.”

It’s been a rough few days for Plank. The company’s fourth-quarter results were poor, its CFO quit and its bonds were downgraded. Then, after he told CNBC’s “Fast Money Halftime Report” that President Trump “is a real asset for the country,” Under Armour’s prize endorsement asset, Stephen Curry, came out against that assessment of Trump.

“I agree with that description,” Curry told Mercury News, “if you remove the ‘et’ from asset.”

The NBA MVP and face of Under Armour’s basketball shoe went on to say that he has spoken with Plank regarding his comments, saying he spent “all day” on the phone with the company. Curry has an endorsement deal with Under Armour through 2024.

While Curry is standing with Under Armour,  he is putting the company on notice.

“If I can say the leadership is not in line with my core values, then there is no amount of money, there is no platform I wouldn’t jump off if it wasn’t in line with who I am. So that’s a decision I will make every single day when I wake up. If something is not in line with what I’m about, then, yeah, I definitely need to take a stance in that respect.”

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2017 in Second American Revolution

 

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Diversity in the Outdoors

One place you can pretty reliably not find black folks is in the great outdoors. Some folks are trying to change that…

BTW – BTx3’s Outdoor adventures this year are kayaking fishing, and at least one night camping on an ocean beach.

Diversity in the outdoors, one hashtag at a time

A conversation with Teresa Baker, founder of Hike Like a Girl.

TrailPosse is a series produced in partnership with The Trail Posse focused on the relationship between people of color and Western public lands.

During the past three years, Teresa Baker of Martinez, Calif., has organized some of the most significant events in the movement to diversify and improve inclusion in the outdoors: The African American National Parks Event, the Buffalo Soldiers Trail Retracing, the Muir Campfire Discussion on Relevancy and Inclusion in Outdoor Organizations, and the convening on Relevancy and Inclusion in Outdoor Organizations.

Her latest brainchild, Hike Like a Girl, a campaign to encourage females to take to the trails, solo or in groups, took place on May 14. The event followed a familiar formula: Working with partner organizations, Baker encourages people to engage in outdoor activities on a certain day (or days), then record, post and hashtag on social media to raise further awareness.

Recently featured as one of Patagonia’s Women Active Activists, Baker is a former high-school point guard and former trip leader for Outdoor Afro, a national network that uses meetups and education to encourage African Americans to get outside. She’s evolved into a one-woman force of nature. She says her mother didn’t like her “being defiant and going against the grain as a girl,” but adds, “My dad told me daily, that I could not back down to anyone or I would do it for the rest of my life. So he encouraged me to speak up and not be afraid to live my true life.” HCNcontributing editor Glenn Nelson recently caught up with Baker.

High Country News Most people of color don’t have a background in the outdoors growing up, but that wasn’t the case with you, was it?

Teresa Baker I was the only girl in a family of eight boys and was determined not to be outdone by anything my brothers did. So when they went hiking, I went hiking; when they played basketball, I played basketball. When they and the other guys in the neighborhood would talk trash about how girls weren’t capable of keeping up with guys, I’d prove them wrong. That’s where my love of the outdoors began. We lived directly across from a city park, so every day we were outdoors with other neighborhood kids, playing every sport imaginable, but my favorite by far was hiking.

I was part of an after-school program where we would go hiking in Tilden Park almost every week. We would also visit a ranch that belonged to the owners of the program. There we learned how to care for animals and the land. We would ride horses and hike the surrounding area. I absolutely loved it and to this day reminisce on how at peace I felt out on this ranch.

In 1978 my mother made me join the Girl’s Club, which I fought tooth and nail. I didn’t want to be around a bunch of girls who would probably not embrace my love of the outdoors. I was only partially right. In the summer of 1979, we went to Yosemite National Park for my first official camping trip. That was it for me; I fell in love with Yosemite and have remained so to this very day.

HCN What inspired you to start the African American National Park Event?

Baker I take off for Yosemite at the drop of a dime, no long-term planning needed. On one of my Yosemite visits in 2012, I started to take notice of how many African Americans I encountered. At the end of my second day in the park, I had not seen one other African American. I started to research people of color in our national parks – not just in visitation, but in the makeup of the National Park Service. The lack of diversity was surprising because I had never really paid much attention to it. The next year, I created an event to encourage African American communities across the country to get outdoors in a national park site during the month of June. The larger concern is that if we don’t start creating welcoming environments in the outdoors for people of color, in 20 years when the majority demographic in this country is black and brown faces, no one will be around to care about these open spaces. That’s the urgency of this issue.

The involvement I have now with the outdoors wasn’t planned. I simply wanted to create an event to get people of color outdoors. That turned in to talking engagements and written article after article about the lack of diversity in our national parks. That’s how I ended up doing this work, I feel it is my calling. It’s certainly my passion. And connecting with others who are just as passionate about this work has been an honor. I’m committed to the challenges that are ahead of me and will work diligently to bring about a change that will last beyond my lifetime.

HCN The Buffalo Soldiers are important to the history of both African Americans and the National Park Service because, as all-black troops in the 9th Cavalry Regiment and 24th Infantry, they were among the nation’s first park rangers, patrolling Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in 1899, 1903 and 1904. Their commanding officer, Capt. Charles Young, was the first African American park superintendent, at Sequoia in 1903. What led you to retracing the Buffalo Soldiers’ route from the Presidio, where they once were garrisoned, to Yosemite?

Baker After several visits to the Presidio of San Francisco, I started to learn about the legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers. I read about their participation in the military and how they were actually stationed right here in the Bay Area. Then I saw a documentary about Yosemite ranger Shelton Johnson and how he portrayed Buffalo Soldiers in the High Sierras. This was life-changing for me. Here I am, in love with Yosemite and concerned with the lack of African Americans in our national parks, then one day I find out the very first rangers in our national parks were African Americans. I was beside myself with pride and curiosity. In 2013, as an Outdoor Afro leader, I went to the Presidio and asked the park service if they would work with me on putting together a program to honor the Buffalo Soldiers at the Presidio. They agreed and my commitment to telling their story began….Read the Rest Here

 
 

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Silicon Valley Funds CBC Parties for “Diversity”

Perhaps I am a bit too cynical, but HTF does funding yet another cabaret make jobs for underemployed, and unemployed black tech workers?

And HTF is it that with 12% of the graduates in Computer Engineering being black, there is a “shortage in the school pipeline”?

Bullshit!

The way things are done in the tech business is you hire some competent recruiters (“headhunters”) to go and get what, and who you want to hire. There is no shortage of minority middle managers, tech staff, and senior tech staff – although you may have a hard time getting them to move to the West Coast whitopias anymore. That shouldn’t be an issue – because most of these companies have data centers and offices all over the east coast, and a lot of companies hire “virtual” workers…

I been in this business over 20 years, working in senior positions for startups, as well as big players and hold patents in the technology…I haven’t heard jack shidt from these people – although I do get calls from big eastern based companies.I know a couple of guys who read my blog are senior techies like myself…When exactly was the last time you got a recruiting call from Google or Amazon?

But I guess it is just easier to buy off the CBC with a couple of parties.

Under diversity pressure, tech courts minority groups in D.C.

Congressional Black Caucus chairman G.K. Butterfield warned that “talk is not enough,” in diversity in tech.

Some of Silicon Valley’s biggest tech companies are quietly funneling money to minority groups in Washington, including those affiliated with black and Hispanic lawmakers — a move that comes as the firms face growing criticism about the lack of diversity in their workforce.

The donations, known as “honorary expenses,” fund events like dinners and cocktail receptions where members of Congress and federal regulators are the guests of honor. The leader of the pack is Google, which spent a record of more than $490,000 on such expenses last year — devoting most of it to minority groups like the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, according to newly filed federal ethics reports.

Apple chipped in $1.2 million for an awards gala for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, and Uber wrote a $10,000 check to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the disclosures show. It marked the first time either Apple or Uber reported any honorary expenses.

The recent uptick in these donations coincides with growing political pressure on the tech industry over diversity, as companies struggle to address complaints that their employees are largely white and male. The debate has taken root in Washington, including with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, which sent a delegationto Silicon Valley in August to demand that the industry recruit more African-Americans.

The tech industry’s newest tactics don’t appear to have quelled the outcry from Capitol Hill, and they don’t sit well with some diversity advocates.

“We’ve had years now of campaigning and advocacy around the diversity problem … [but] the only thing that’s gotten better with these companies are their talking points,” said Rashad Robinson, the executive director of ColorofChange, a nonprofit that works on civil rights issues. The problem, he added, is “not going to be solved by throwing money at the CBC and other institutions.”

Asked about their spending, Apple and Uber declined to comment for this story. A Google spokeswoman said the company believes it’s important to “help policymakers understand our business and the work we do to keep the Internet open and encourage economic opportunity.”

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute serve as the educational and policy arms of their respective caucuses on Capitol Hill. While they’re technically separate organizations, many black and Hispanic lawmakers serve as board members for the nonprofit groups. The Thurgood Marshall College Fund, meanwhile, is a nonprofit that provides scholarships and other support for African-American students at historically black colleges and universities.

The CBC Foundation, for one, stressed that the tech industry’s donations have gone to a good cause. They’ve allowed for “professional development briefings for our interns offering them real-world, first-hand exposure to careers” in key tech fields, Shrita Sterlin-Hernandez, a spokeswoman for the group, said in a statement. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund did not comment for this story.

But the checks can also double as powerful forms of leverage in Washington, where influence often is measured in dollar signs. “There are many ways companies and other organizations can establish a presence in Washington, and gain access to politicians. And one way to do that — that some people pay less attention to — is by giving money to a charitable cause that a politician is associated with,” said Viveca Novak, a spokeswoman for the Center for Responsive Politics.

Such contributions are a “well-trodden path,” in the words of Novak, for established industries in Washington, from big tobacco companies to telecom giants like AT&T and Comcast. The donations, in addition to supporting nonprofits, provide lobbyists with greater access to lawmakers and regulators.

And Silicon Valley certainly could use more allies in Washington when it comes to diversity issues.

Apple is almost 70 percent male globally and 54 percent white in the U.S., according to the company’s most recent diversity report, though the company emphasized that many of its new hires have been women, Asian, Hispanic and African-American. Google’s workforce is also 70 percent male globally and 60 percent white in the U.S., despite its own efforts to diversify. Uber, for its part, has not released a report detailing the composition of its employees.

Those poor report cards prompted the Congressional Black Caucus last May to launch an initiative dubbed Tech2020, hoping to pressure tech companies to add more African-Americans to their ranks. The CBC later dispatched top lawmakers to the Valley — including its chairman, Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) — to make that point directly to executives at Apple, Google, Intel and other firms.

Butterfield sounded the theme again in September at the CBC Foundation’s annual legislative conference, where he warned that “talk is not enough. And we need more than an amen from the choir. … We want to see results.”

Tech companies have pledged to fix the problem, but as they invest in hiring initiatives, they’re also pumping big money into Washington. Over the course of last year, Google covered $150,000 in honorary expenses for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and provided an additional $95,000 in multiple checks to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, according to an analysis of the ethics records.

Another roughly $150,000 in spending went to “various vendors” that aided events with women, black and Latino lawmakers, the records indicate. At the CBC Foundation’s annual legislative conference in September, Google played a key sponsorship role at a reception that featured FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, according to an invitation for the event.

Google has donated to the CBC Foundation before, but its “honorary expenses” for the group and other minority organizations have increased in recent years. Asked whether this amounts to a form of lobbying, the CBC Foundation stressed in a statement that the support benefits the organization’s mission: “Our sponsors and partners provide support to our organization because they share our goals of providing important opportunities for the communities we serve.”…More

 

 
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Posted by on February 29, 2016 in The New Jim Crow

 

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The US Senate’s Diversity Problem…

No real surprise here in America’s Last Plantation. Not much has changed since the 70’s when “The Hill” was one of my assigned accounts and I had reason to frequent the Capital and Office buildings.

The invisible folks of color who actually make the physical machinery of the Capital run

The Senate Has Plenty Of Racial Diversity, But Not The Kind You Brag About

High-level Senate staffers are overwhelmingly white. Low-level service workers are overwhelmingly black and Latino.

To a casual observer, the halls of Congress look pretty white. But according to Anthony Thomas, people of color abound there, so long as you know where to find them.

“It’s all black and Hispanic people downstairs,” said Thomas, a 23-year-old African-American from the suburb of New Carrollton, Maryland.

Thomas works as a dishwasher in the Senate cafeteria in the basement of the Dirksen building. His duties include catering special parties held in the Capitol and the Senate office buildings, where lawmakers and staff rub elbows with lobbyists and other power brokers. Though there are exceptions, it’s mostly white people drinking and dining, and people of color like Thomas cleaning up after them, he said.

A report released in December by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies found that the most influential Senate staffers are disproportionately white. Among senior-level Senate staff — chiefs of staff, legislative directors and other folks who ultimately shape the laws we all live by — a mere 7.1 percent are people of color, researchers found. Yet people of color comprise 36 percent of the U.S. public at large. (There may well be more diversity among mid- and low-level Senate staff, but no such numbers are available.)

So where is all the Senate’s diversity? Apparently, much of it is concentrated at the opposite end of the power structure.

For the past year and a half, a group called Good Jobs Nation, funded by the Change to Win federation of labor unions, has been organizing janitorial and food workers in the Senate offices and the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center. The group compiled a database of 160 rank-and-file employees it assumes would be eligible to vote if workers filed for a union election. (SEIU, a member of Change to Win, lost a union election among Senate dining employees three years ago, though the union could file for another election.)

When the group examined demographics, it found the makeup of the service workforce to be the exact opposite of the senior-level Senate staff.

The low-wage workers were almost exclusively people of color — a whopping 97 percent, according to a demographic breakdown Good Jobs Nation provided to The Huffington Post (the breakdown did not identify individual workers). That number shouldn’t be all the surprising, given the demographics of D.C. — a majority of residents are people of color — and the way low-wage food and janitorial jobsalready skew heavily toward minorities in the U.S. at large, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A caveat: This was not a scientific study. The database was compiled through on-the-ground outreach done by the group’s organizers, not through government records or an official survey. And since the group is only organizing rank-and-file employees, the numbers don’t account for middle management, where the workforce appears more mixed. Yet the figures should ring true for anyone who’s taken a close look at the workers cleaning the dishes and mopping the floors in the Senate.

“I think what’s happening at the Capitol reflects a larger trend in our economy — the gap between the knowledge economy workers and the service-sector workers,” said Joseph Geevarghese, director of Good Jobs Nation. “You’ve got a class of workers who are higher paid, and then you have an underclass of service workers who are low-paid and struggling to make ends meet.”…More

A fairly representative sample of the higher level staff, this one from Iowa

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2016 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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WhOscars

Have to admit that the two programs I never watch or pay attention to are the Oscars, AKA the Academy Awards, and the Golden Globes (followed by the various Music Awards) or seemingly dozens of award shows where folks with little connection to reality get to gather. The whole thing smacks too much of the recipients patting themselves on the back.

While I, as well as what seems the vast majority of people on earth with access to the product – certainly appreciate the cinematography, art, and quality acting which goes into a good show or movie…The selection process seems like bumbling herds of elephants following along after each other at the behest of the major studios. The cowherd Belles of Tara…Indeed.

The Academy Proves That Oscars Are Only For White People, Again

Oh, you thought non-white actors would get Oscar noms? Good one!

The 2016 Academy Award nominations rolled out Thursday morning and highlighted a roster of acting categories made up entirely of white performers.

And that should bother everyone.

The lack of diversity among Oscar nods has, sadly, become tradition and things don’t seem to be getting any better. In fact, they’re getting worse.

Following in last year’s footsteps, not a single actor of color is up for an award this year. The only films featuring a cast with people of color that are nominated this year are “Straight Outta Compton” for Best Screenplay, “What Happened, Miss Simone” for Best Documentary and “Creed” for Best Supporting Actor — but for these films, only their white contributors were recognized. “The Revenant,” whose director, Alejandro González Iñárritu, is Mexican is also nominated. It bypassed actors like Will Smith, for “Concussion,” Idris Elba in “Beasts Of No Nation,” Samuel L. Jackson in “The Hateful Eight,” and Michael B. Jordan and Ryan Coogler for “Creed,” all of whom have been heavily praised for their performances this year.

Widespread fury erupted last year by people everywhere who flooded social media with #OscarsSoWhite to voice their frustration with the Academy for recognizing so few actors of color. That hashtag, which was created by twitter user @ReignOfApril, has now resurfaced, bubbling up similar expressions of disappointment by the dismal state of diversity among this year’s nods.

The discussion around the lack of representation in film has become a big issueparticularly in the last year. President of the Academy Cherryl Boone-Isaacs, a black woman, said she is well-aware of the poor state of diversity in film and that diversifying the field is important.

“The whole discussion about diversity is a great discussion, because now it’s at the top of everybody’s mind, not just the academy’s,” Isaacs said last year during an Academy reception.

And while widespread change is understandably slow to come, there has been no progress in the last year.

However, Isaacs is far from the only person to be held accountable for the lack of representation and recognition of actors of color. Hollywood executives are are mostly white and mostly male and they have failed to prioritize color-conscious casting in their films.

UClA’s 2015 Hollywood Diversity report highlights that the problem starts at the top, which is dominated by white, male gatekeepers who run the industry’s top three talent agencies and major studios. In 2013, 94 percent of CEOs and/or chairs and 92 percent of senior management in the film industry were white, according to the report.

If these executives don’t start making an active effort to recruit and hire people of color, Hollywood will remain saturated with white performers in films. And that’s not only terrible because it robs the opportunity from talented and deserving actors of color, but because it is a poor representation of the diverse audiences who view them.

A more appropriately toned Trophy

 

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2016 in The Definition of Racism

 

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