Two different but sometimes intersecting viewpoints about diversity and strategy.
Jonathan Jackson argues that the lack of diversity in organizations is systemic and considers race, gender, and culture a vital factor:
People talk at me when it comes to diversity, not to me, and certainly not for me. People want to solve diversity like it’s a business problem. It’s not. Diversity (read: the need for Black and Latino creativity, excellence, and ingenuity to be fundamentally embedded into the DNA of billion dollar companies and enterprises) has business implications, and there is a case for how it can improve outcomes, revenue, idea generation, and a host of other metrics. But at its core, the issue of diversity is a structural one. Systemic inequity has a legacy that is long, varied, and intertwined with a multitude of other issues that ‘Murica is wrestling with. It’s an autopsy in its purest form, and everyone is in the viewing room, peering down through their own vantage point, looking to make sense of the broken bones and exposed organs.
How will the 2020 Census manage the continued inter-mixing of ethnicities, cultures, and families? One Latino describes his dilemma:
Drew Largé, a 24 year-old University of Washington student, dealt with these generalizations as well, but with the opposite outcome.
“I’ve been programmed to identify myself as a Hispanic male because of the way I grew up and the people that I was around,” Largé said. With a Hispanic father and white mother, Largé was primarily raised around his father’s family. With a name like Largé and light brown skin, he was conditioned to identify as Hispanic.
The environment that Largé grew up in had a significant impact on his ethnic identity too, as it does with most biracial people. While he grew up in close contact with his Hispanic family, I am more familiar with my white family. Due to a long history of conflict and instability among my Hispanic relatives, I missed all of the weddings, family reunions and quinceañeras. Does that make me less Hispanic?
Great Boston Globe piece on long time Latina journalist Maria Hinojosa’s series, America by the Numbers. I’ve watched a few of these episodes and find them refreshing. As the article notes, each demographic change tells a story. Hinojosa makes a sincere effort to understand what these changes mean not only to the group in focus but the U.S. as whole. She’s filling a much needed gap for intelligent and informative discussions on multicultural America, which often isn’t addressed by most mainstream media:
Hinojosa’s content is resonating in part because it does not approach the demographic changes with an inherent sense of controversy, like much of the media do. “The sentiment in many mainstream media newsrooms . . . is that the conversation around demographic change, the Hispanicizing of America, the browning of America . . . was often met with a sense of fear,” says Hinojosa, who was born in Mexico City and grew up in Chicago. “And because I am an American journalist 100 percent but I’m also 100 percent part of that demographic change, I don’t approach this change from a place of fear and panic. I approach it as a journalist and trying to understand what this means.”
Hinojosa is shedding a light on the corners of a new multicultural reality in America, and it’s working. “America by the Numbers” doubled the number of African-American and Latino viewers that typically watch PBS programming, while also maintaining the established audience for PBS news and public affairs.
Mercedes Vallejo, a 92 year-old veteran WWII, who drove across Texas in 1943 to help recruit 200 Latinas to the U.S. Army’s Women’s Army Corps (WAC). The unit was nicknamed the “Benito Juarez Squardon.”
Pew Hispanic Research reports that the U.S. born Latinos now account for the majority of Latino workers in the United States. The trend is expected to continue for a number of reasons:
It is likely that the share of the Latino workforce that is U.S. born will continue to increase. The U.S. born currently account for most of the growth in the Latino population, and it is uncertain that Latino migrants will return to the U.S. workforce in larger numbers. Some leading economists are of the view that the U.S. has entered a new era of slower economic growth. If so, jobs growth in the future may not be strong enough to reinvigorate immigration from Latin America. The future direction of U.S. immigration policy is also unknown. Finally, demographers have noted that sharp declines in birth rates in Mexico and other Latin American countries may ease the pressure to emigrate to the U.S. in the longer run.
Great piece from the NYT on how more Latino agricultural workers are moving from working in the fields to managing agricultural businesses. Latino owned businesses grew 21% from 2007-2012. Sergio SIlva, a high school dropout, is profiled in the video below. With his 30+ years of industry management, Sergio partnered with someone who knew the product – and a new business was born. The new business serves as inspiration for those working in the fields for them today.
Matty Iglesias reveals how the people in our work environments are getting older:
… the share of people over the age of 55 who are in the labor force has pretty steadily risen. Put that together with population aging, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the share of the workforce that’s composed of people over 55 should steadily rise over time.
Another great piece via the Harvard Business Review Blog regarding the lack of multicultural professionals in senior positions. According to the blog, multicultural professionals hold only 11% of executive positions in corporate America. According to a study by the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI), one of the factors leading to a lack of representation at these levels is associated with “executive presence.”
In other words, multicultural professionals such as Latinos are at a disadvantage because they’re unable to create and build professional relationships with executives similar to them:
CTI research finds that multicultural professionals, like their Caucasian counterparts, prioritize gravitas over communication, and communication over appearance. Yet, “cracking the code” of executive presence presents unique challenges for multicultural professionals because standards of appropriate behavior, speech, and attire demand they suppress or sacrifice aspects of their cultural identity in order to conform.
The impact of Latino entrepreneur ship can be found in the most unique places. Take Ottumwa, Iowa for instance. Located in southeastern Iowa, the town is home to about 25,000 residents. Like many Midwest towns, it has experienced a population decrease over the last few decades. As a result, Ottumwa has its share of vacant 1960s-era Main Street buildings.
While this town has seen a decrease in its overall population, Latino residents are on the rise. Along with this increase, there’s been a revitalization along Main Street. Many of the vacant buildings are now home to new businesses started by Latino entrepreneurs. Latino entrepreneurship in these areas is a national trend. Much of the credit can be given to people like Himar Hernandez, who works with small Latino businesses in the area. Watch the video below and see how Latino small businesses are breathing new life into old towns.