Futility of “Colorblindness” & White Hegemony: Mere CEO Repudiations of the 45th President’s Comments–Insufficient, Useless

It is insufficient for corporate CEOs to denounce the words of President Donald Trump, while doing absolutely nothing to eradicate the stain of “colorblind” discrimination.

With the actions in Charlottesville, Va., in August 2017, the nation recoiled at the open display of racial hatred. However, the events in Charlottesville served as the culmination of the grinding microaggressions–covert, exclusionary, discriminatory-and “colorblind” systemic discrimination–that occur daily.

Into this systemically discriminatory reality (for some members of the U.S. society) enter corporate chief executive officers (CEO), many of whom, perhaps, are active or passive participants in the systemic discrimination. It is not enough to proclaim the words of the civil rights laws and then pursue reckless programs that permit the exclusionary practices, which the neo-nazis, kkk-ers, and other white hegemons stated openly in Charlottesville as well as uttered in other places in the United States.

merck ceo leaves council 2017

Dick Grote, Harvard Business School, corporate America, & “Rank and Yank”.  Systemic discrimination is involved in the practice of forced-distribution “performance management”. This blog has covered Dick Grote’s “rank and yank” (aka forced distribution) program, which many corporations follow in order to dump employees should the financial numbers be insufficient to satisfy Wall Street. Other organizations have followed suit, some covered in this blog. Indeed, Harvard Business School, from which many corporate-executive MBAs come, publishes Grote’s materials.

Bucket (rank)

Percentage [“vitality curve”] (amounts can be adjusted)

Effect

A

20

Lavish rewards, encouragement

B

70

Little to paltry increase

C

10

Pressure to quit, firing

rank_yank
Artist: Michael Sloan

A quote from Grote (discussed previously at this blog):

But what if a company’s forced ranking procedure, honestly and objectively done, reveals that the blacks or women or disabled employees just aren’t as talented as the white ones? Should they do what some Harvard professors are said to do and award A’s to all the blacks, just to keep them from squawking?” (Grote, page 4 (a quote from a previous post)).

(Note: Consider this statement from Grote with the ever-present and persistent legacy of slavery and Jim Crow subjugation in the United States of America.)

White hegemony in the government. This questionable fidelity to white hegemony extends to the government. The Federal Reserve (its former Artis v. Greenspan Bernanke Yellen was covered in this blog), the Secret Service, and the U.S. Capitol Police Department have had or have long-term employment discrimination cases. The Federal Reserve acts grudgingly and haughtily towards any action that would threaten the mostly white workforce it has created. (Note: After 104 years of Federal Reserve inaction, Dr. Raphael Bostic became President of the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank.)

Black/African American Permanent Board Employees, Table C-2, in whole numbers (in numerical order of significance), 2011–2013
2011 2012 2013
Total Black/African American employees 567 573 573
All other pay grade, FR-16 to FR-25 434 418 400
Mid-level professional pay grades, FR-26 to FR-28 106 125 136
Senior managers and officers pay grade, FR-29 to FR-00 27 30 37
Total employees of the Federal Reserve Board 2,187 2,279 2,353
Source: Board OIG Audit Report, 2015-MO-B-006, page 65.

The same is true for the U.S. Supreme Court, which lectures for a “colorblindness” (see John Marshall Harlan’s dissent in Plessy v. Ferguson) that practically means that most nonwhites are not welcome (for example, Antonin Scalia). The proof of this is the composition of a homogeneous law clerk workforce, who in turn apply their elite, majority life experiences into law. (For example, Graham v. Connor, Tennessee v. Garner, and all affirmative action cases.)

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Confirmation bias in the workplace and management. Discrimination extends into supervision, with writing being judged by high standards, exclusively (Reeves, Dr. Arin N. (2014, April). “Written in Black and White:  Exploring Confirmation Bias in Racialized Perceptions of Writing Skills.” Nextions Yellow Paper Series, 2014-0404.)  for the nonwhite subordinate. Such middling or low evaluations seriously hobble or end careers.

Conclusion. So, in closing, while the words of Trump were hard to hear, they are the result of covertly practiced and rampant systemic discrimination.

It is far past time for the United States to eradicate all discrimination from the society. Mere words from wealthy CEOs, who have lives of exclusion, are not enough. Only positive and definitive institutional action will satisfy the people of the United States.

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