Bozoma Saint John: White men need to 'make noise' about diversity

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by jdillings, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. jdillings macrumors 68000

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    #1
    Everyone's favorite former Apple exec, now "brand officer" at Uber:

    http://money.cnn.com/2018/03/11/technology/uber-bozoma-saint-john-diversity/index.html
     
  2. ericgtr12 macrumors 65816

    ericgtr12

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    #2
    I think I'll just sit back and watch this time.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Altis macrumors 68030

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    #3
    A racist and sexist demanding others also be racist and sexist. Welcome to [currentYear].
     
  4. NickG420 macrumors regular

    NickG420

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    #4
    Here's an idea...I know it's crazy....

    But you know we could just hire the best person for the job....Period...Male, Female, black, white, Asian, Mexican....Whatever...

    Just an idea...
     
  5. TonyC28 macrumors 65816

    TonyC28

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    #5
    Apparently she's ok with being hired based purely on the color of her skin, as the article states in the third paragraph. I'm not sure if that is what Martin Luther King Jr had in mind, but whatever works I guess.
     
  6. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

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    #6
    But, how do we account for the best person? Sometimes we have strong metrics when it comes to hiring, but other times hiring can be more amorphous.

    One thing that's clear to me is that there are lots of mediocre white men out there working jobs they're barely qualified for—and I'm saying this as a white guy—so I'm suspicious of the idea that previous hiring committees were really looking for "the best person for the job."

    There's a lot of strong biases for things that are no longer coded racially, but still tend to lock out other groups—fraternities, certain schools, special clubs, relatives, etc.

    For me hiring is pretty easy. I get portfolios and use those to make decisions, mostly ignoring resumes and long-winded cover letters. Which has meant lately that I haven't hired a white guy in years. Not because I'm trying to be diverse per se, but rather the Latino kid from San Diego and the Persian woman have really interesting ways of seeing the world, and they put together brilliant packages.
     
  7. RichardMZhlubb Contributor

    RichardMZhlubb

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    #7
    She's 100% correct here.

    The article says no such thing.
     
  8. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

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    #8
    This creates an impossible logical problem for companies. If the corporate culture is largely made up of white men, any attempt to shift that culture will be looked at as hiring "based purely" on skin color.

    And, MLK was more radical than many people understand from his "I Have a Dream" speech. He wasn't just arguing for an anodyne moment of racial harmony, but more direct action against racism and poverty. For a corporation run entirely by white men to gain a black woman as CEO would should probably be considered a step toward MLK's dream.
     
  9. TonyC28 macrumors 65816

    TonyC28

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    #9
    You're right. It says:

    Saint John joined Uber last June and is responsible for increasing customer loyalty. Her hire was considered a strategic move in Uber's turnaround effort: The company added a black female executive after being blasted for having a non-inclusive culture.

    Not too hard to read between those lines, is it?
     
  10. bopajuice Suspended

    bopajuice

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    #10
    Unfortunately some people think the best person for the job looks like them.
     
  11. 0007776 Suspended

    0007776

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    #11
    Start with not collecting racial data in the application. With most applications being electronic these days it wouldn’t be too hard to strip out the name from the application so any unconscious biases due to sex or if a name sounds like it belongs to someone of a certain race are stripped out. Obviously you’ll eventually find out from the interview, but you’ve got a lot more invested by that point. Also stop discouraging minorities from going into certain fields by telling them that racism is going to keep them from succeeding.
     
  12. ThisBougieLife, Mar 13, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018

    ThisBougieLife macrumors 68000

    ThisBougieLife

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    #12
    I tend to lean more conservative when it comes to the issue of race and how it affects hiring. Obviously I support the effort to eliminate bias or racism in the hiring process, and I also don't have a problem with companies seeking out a diverse pool of applicants, but when it comes to actual hiring from that pool, only the most qualified should be selected. Their race should not be a factor in that decision. If the most qualified people happen to be of a certain race, I don't see why that must indicate that there's a problem. Diversity as an end game always seems to be presented tautologically: Diversity is good because...diversity is good. I don't believe that diversity should be sought at the expense of excluding more qualified applicants simply because they're male or white or Asian (which is what some companies, including Google, have been accused of lately).
     
  13. RichardMZhlubb Contributor

    RichardMZhlubb

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    #13
    You're certainly reading things that are not there. It was considered a significant hiring coup when Uber hired her away from Apple, given how much praise she received when she first appeared in an Apple keynote. Saying that she was hired "purely on the color of her skin" is incredibly insulting and demeaning to her.
     
  14. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

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    #14
    I tend to agree, diversity is often contained in tautological argument, but just because people can't explain the argument doesn't mean the argument is invalid.

    From my point of view, diversity is important because we need a breadth of experiences to do good work. Racial and economic biases can sink a good story, and so I want people with vary backgrounds, including cisgendered white men who grew up in trailer parks, and lesbian black women who grew up in tony neighborhoods.

    I can't account for every demographic, but I want our team to be complex, balanced for having sharp eyes and talented technical skills.

    So, I start with portfolios and then interviews, and from that, I hire only the best people. But, there are biases here too. For instance, if we only judge technical skills, the kids with access to D4s and 1Ds, we tend to get the same kids—kids with money or kids who go to schools with nice gear, which tends to be the same kids. So, I look for composition, technique, and look for kids who can shoot beautiful emotive pictures with old Pentaxes. I also get surprised, when someone with relatively little experience is a former Latino lawyer in his 40s who figured out that he hated the law. I want to hire that guy too.

    Sure. But, even making sure that the hiring committee has some diversity is important. I don't want an applicant to face three old white guys, not because we're bad, but even that can sink some applicants.

    This has gotten much easier of late. Most of the new hires are female, and there's a lot of ethnic diversity. We tend to have less economic diversity, which bothers me, but I keep hiring the people with good eyes, and hope that eventually, we get to a complex, diverse staff.

    With me somewhere at the top, because I like my job too.
     
  15. TonyC28 macrumors 65816

    TonyC28

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    #15
    They literally call hiring a black woman a strategic move. I hate using the word "literally" like kids do these days, but I do mean it here. They used the words, not me. What is the "strategy" then in hiring a black woman?
     
  16. RichardMZhlubb Contributor

    RichardMZhlubb

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    #16
    You're just assuming that the "strategy" was to hire her as a token. A far more logical reaction would be to recognize that, for a company with an overwhelmingly white male culture that has been accused of being insensitive to women and minorities, a very logical "strategy" would be to hire good people who bring more diverse points of view to management.

    I would also note that it was the article, not Uber, that used the word "strategic."
     
  17. TonyC28 macrumors 65816

    TonyC28

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    #17
    Yes it was the article, although the article seems to be paraphrasing what the thought was. Perhaps she should challenge CNN's racist assumption. Take note of the colon in the second sentence of the third paragraph.

    Her hire was considered a strategic move in Uber's turnaround effort: The company added a black female executive after being blasted for having a non-inclusive culture.

    I hate to turn this into a grammar lesson, but that colon implies that the following is an explanation of the previous. Clearly, what is being implied is that the strategic move of the previous sentence is the hiring of a black female.

    I agree 100% that the best strategy would be to hire people who bring diverse points of view, but that isn't what CNN said. Now that we're talking about it, I would respect the hell out of her if she did challenge what CNN wrote.
     
  18. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

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    #18
    This is a weird argument. CNN called Saint John's hiring strategic, but strategy and tokenism are clearly not the same thing.
     
  19. RichardMZhlubb Contributor

    RichardMZhlubb

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    #19
    Again, I think you're reading more into the article than warranted. You're assuming that the statement "The company added a black female executive after being blasted for having a non-inclusive culture" means that she was hired simply as a token so that they would appear more diverse. I think a far more logical reading of that statement is that they hired a black female executive because they thought she possessed the skills and perspective to start changing their non-inclusive culture.
     
  20. TonyC28 macrumors 65816

    TonyC28

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    #20
    Ah ha, had a feeling you'd say that. So then why mention that she's black? What difference does that make if it's only about her qualifications? Or are you saying her being black IS a qualifying factor?
     
  21. RichardMZhlubb Contributor

    RichardMZhlubb

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    #21
    I'm now repeating myself, but as I noted earlier: "A far more logical reaction would be to recognize that, for a company with an overwhelmingly white male culture that has been accused of being insensitive to women and minorities, a very logical "strategy" would be to hire good people who bring more diverse points of view to management." It is relevant that they chose not to hire just another white guy to address this issue.
     
  22. TonyC28 macrumors 65816

    TonyC28

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    #22
    Sorry I made you repeat yourself. Perhaps then it is a poor choice of wording on CNN's part. To say there is a strategy after being blasted for having a non-inclusive culture so they hired a black woman just screams of tokenism. A better way may have been The company added Saint John, who happens to be black, after being blasted for having a non-inclusive culture.
    I'll admit I'm reading too much into this, but if I were her I would be insulted by that wording.
     
  23. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #23
    this might work for racial topics in the US, but elsewhere it might be difficult, for example you have to kept the fact if a applicant has the right to work in the country or nationality for legal reasons. (around here:EU citizens or non-EU)
    The effort for getting a person into the country might make it more difficult so chances are lower.


    That said from my point of view i think what needs to be kept in mind with diversity that you actually need to find diversity of ideas and still find the right people with skill sets and a certain set of common ground to have a good cohesion.

    I work in a, quite small, distributed female lead software-team that is 50% male - 50% female,4 nationalities including an asian country, some with 15-20 years experience, others with 3-5 years. And it works great not only from results but also team spirit.

    In another team with nearly the same setup, except more people: If developer X (who is white & male) is sick half of the team might as well take a few days off. Because he is one of those genius developer with 20 years experience and 3 of the other (diverse) developers are juniors with perhaps 1 year with little domain knowledge.

    More diversity isn't a magic bullet. It might give you an additional push if everything is running along smoothly, but wont solve team problems if it's not going well.
     
  24. RichardMZhlubb Contributor

    RichardMZhlubb

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    #24
    See, I don't think it's right to say "who happens to be black." They were looking to hire someone with more diverse perspectives and her race (and gender) were surely part of the calculus. They appear to have found a very qualified and capable black woman for the job, and that's great.
     
  25. TonyC28 macrumors 65816

    TonyC28

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    #25
    Yea and I just happen to think someone's race or sex shouldn't matter unless they're being hired to go undercover or something.
     

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48 March 13, 2018