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Young Black Professionals

 
#1 Young Black Professionals
12/04/2007 02:08

Young Black Professional

Ladies and Gents,

I am writing this post because I am sick and tired of the covert racism that exists in this country and in particular the consultancy I work for.

Now don't get me wrong, racism is nothing new. I have lived with it all my life.

Some Examples:

<ul type="square">

<li>The man in the corner shop still won't put my change in my hand.</li>

<li>Ladies clutch their bags when I walk by at night (even when I have suit on).</li>

<li>Police regularly stop me - most of the time for no reason although this has lessened over the years.</li>

<li>I struggle to hail a black cab.</li>

<li>When I enter a store, the security guard follows me around.</li>

<li>In the past, Teachers and even Policemen making statements such 'your sort' etc.</li>

<li>I have even had random people tell me to 'go home'.</li>

</ul>

A long term plan may be to return to the West Indies or Africa but in the meantime which cities in the developed world offer the best life for a black man and his family? I hear Atlanta Geogia in the USA is pretty good. It is nicknamed 'Chocolate City' after all. Any thoughts? Surely not anywhere in Australia!! I do hear good things about Sweden.

<br>

All I want to know is, are there any young black professionals out there who are really being treated fairly and feel they have an equal chance with their non-black colleagues? If so, where do you work and where do you live.

<br><br>Things are changing in the UK but they are not changing fast enough for me.

YBP

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#2 RE: Young Black Professionals
12/04/2007 02:32

The Top Consultant to Young Black Professional (#1)

Whilst there may be a grain of truth in what you say, I think you'll find the problem is mostly in your own head.

We all experience 'victimisation' in one form or another. You attribute it to your race. I attribute it to my posture and appearance. Others attribute it to their gender. Some say it's because of their accent. Some say they're treated differently because they're fat or have ginger hair for example. If you look hard enough, there's always a way you can blame these types of 'negative interactions' on 'discrimination' of one form or another.

You may well actually find that you are looking too hard, over-analysing things and finding 'discrimination' where it doesn't exist. For instance, I also struggle to hail a black cab - why do you think your problems with getting a cab for instance is due to racism? Maybe you just don't wave clearly enough or look in the right places.

If you don't mind me saying, you may be so paranoid about this issue that it's actually affecting your behaviour to the point that people suspect something odd about you and do in fact treat you differently.

No doubt you have experienced real racism on occasion - which is truly unfortunate - but I think you would do well to relax a little. If you lose the 'victim mentality' you might find that a lot of what you currently think is racist behaviour actually isn't. Whilst it does exist, I truly believe that most people in this country are not racist and it would be a shame to let the ignorant minority spoil your happiness and general well being.

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#3 RE: Young Black Professionals
12/04/2007 06:54

thoughts to The Top Consultant (#2)

I'm sure there is discrimination, maybe not from everyone but even if a minority does it then it will still be a lot.

Having lived and worked in 9 different developed countries now, I have to say that the US then the UK give some semblance of equal opportunities to non-whites. No matter how racist you think the UK is, you can multiply that by some for much of continental Europe, the Middle East and South Africa.

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#4 RE: Young Black Professionals
12/04/2007 14:39

young white professional to thoughts (#3)

I am British (British, not Breeetish). I have worked in UK, France and now hold a different role in the Middle East covering the MEA region. Frankly, the situation with racism is significantly better in the UK than in any of these places. I went to a Public School and consequently have quite a posh southern accent. I encounter discrimination of a different sort. I have seen a potential client (a Yorkshireman) hand a project to a competitor, who coincidentally was also a Yorkshireman. I have seen a Scottish boss question my work ethic while telling me how hard he and others from the school of hard knocks have had to work and have generally realised that no-one will do you any favours if they perceive that you have had an easy life. Realistically all of the examples above could be due to discrimination. It could also be that the competitor's presentation was better, that my colleagues were working harder and that my perception is not always right. Ultimately, I can try to modify my approach to different situations but I am what I am. Sometimes this is an advantage. Sometimes it is a disadvantage.

Working now in the Middle East and seeing the other side of the argument, I do think that the UK based Muslims have a tough time. The bizarre and ignorant stance of the UK/US Governments towards the Middle East has led to a significant rise in racism towars these groups, something I noticed during a recent trip back to London.

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#5 RE: Young Black Professionals
12/04/2007 15:11

Young Black Professional to The Top Consultant (#2)

@ The Top Consultant

<br>I dont feel or walk like a victim and it is this part of you post that annoys me. The people who walk like victims are the ones who think I will mug them. You make far too many assumptions about this being in my head but it is not and that is why I gave solid concrete examples in my original post.

<br>I have not got enough time to post all the detailed examples of racism. Racism exists lets not argue about whether it does or not. That is not the point of my post. You don't know me so either you take my word or you don't.

<br>

It is a bit philosophical to say racism exists everywhere. Ok it does but again that's not answered my question.

<br> I just want to know if there are any countries in the developed world where non whites have a fair and equal chance and feel no prejudice.

<br>I understand that the UK may be better than most countries.

<br>Latin America and Iberia are pretty bad as a whole. Brazil is just a disgrace!!

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#6 RE: Young Black Professionals
12/04/2007 15:20

Young Black Professional to Young Black Professional (#5)

@The Top Consultant

<br> I just wanted to add that I wont let the minority spoil my life for me (anymore).

While the a small minority are overtly racist a large majority are covertly racist.

Or would you say the fact that Brazil have only ever had one black minister (Pele) is not a sign of covert racism and just Black Brazilians being paranoid?

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#7 RE: Young Black Professionals
12/04/2007 15:24

The Top Consultant to Young Black Professional (#5)

"I dont feel or walk like a victim and it is this part of you post that annoys me."

OK, but you do whine like a victim. I'm not trying to be rude - please take this the right way.

"The people who walk like victims are the ones who think I will mug them."

I assume you're in London? Quite frankly most people have their defences up in this big bad city. It may be something to do with the way you look, but it happens to most of us, especially at night.

"You make far too many assumptions about this being in my head but it is not and that is why I gave solid concrete examples in my original post."

Like the example of not being able to hail cabs? This happens to us all!

People get treated or 'judged' unfairly all the time. It's not always discrimination. You really don't need to be so paranoid - most people aren't racist in this country. As for the others? - well they're usually pretty nasty to anyone who gets in their way in any event.

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#8 RE: Young Black Professionals
12/04/2007 16:25

Young Black Professional to The Top Consultant (#7)

'"You make far too many assumptions about this being in my head but it is not and that is why I gave solid concrete examples in my original post."

Like the example of not being able to hail cabs? This happens to us all! '

Or maybe read the other six or seven!! What makes me know that you are not a serious poster is that you have already started to try and discredit something which you cannot know.

It is true that we are in a big bad city but what makes a big black guy more scary than a big white guy? Why does the fact that I am walking down the road with a white guy in a suit make seem less dangerous?

Hmmmm

Could give so many examples of not being able to hail cabs and even walkin up to parked cabs and being told 'I dont want someone like you in my cab'.

One cabbie who I did manage to flag did tell me that the reason this happens is probably due to the fact that I am black. he even admits it. Especially since 911, cabbies rarely stop for Asian men in turbans or with beards.

Lastly cabs that turn of their lights and turn them back on for the lady/white gent a block down.

Anyway enough about cabbies. I am bored now. You focus on one of my seven points but like I stated racism exists and the covert kind is the worst because while the overt is blatant the covert says 'I am not racist, its all in your mind'. The covert racists says 'My best friends boyfriend is black' or even 'We have had a diversity program in place for the last five years but there are only 3 black men in the building, the chef the security guard and Dan from accounts'.

Like I said, I dont need to convince you of racism. It is there. It is my reality maybe not yours. I don't whine at all let alone like a victim, I have merely stated facts. I merely want to know if there are any cities in the developed world that are better off.

If you cant answer that then dont bother. Trying to discredit someones testimony when you were not there is like telling a rape victim she was not attacked. Tell her she is paranoid cos any girl who gets drunk is fair game. Tell her we all have one night stands and sleep with strangers. Yes even in alleyways and parks.

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#9 RE: Young Black Professionals
12/04/2007 17:05

another white guy to Young Black Professional (#8)

Top Consultant - get a grip. You're essentially saying that racism can be put down to minorities' paranoia/ insecurity. I'd like to think that too, but it's unfortunately not the case.

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#10 RE: Young Black Professionals
12/04/2007 17:23

Tony Restell (Top-Consultant.com) to another white guy (#9)

Just to clarify - "the Top Consultant" is not one of the Top-Consultant.com team, so any views appearing under this pseudonym have not been posted by this website.

Tony Restell

Top-Consultant.com

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#11 RE: Young Black Professionals
12/04/2007 17:31

Anon to Young Black Professional (#1)

YBP, sorry to hear about your plight as its a bit of a sad comment on us all it one of of the World's most (post) multicultural cities. I don't know whether this helps, by my wife works in a company that had its roots in an international inter-government organisation, and as a result its like the league of nations there - I love to visit as people are genuinely friendly and interested in each other, (wish my consultancy was the same), and most importantly people are treated for what they know and how they are, not the colour of their skin - so an Iraqi carried on as normal in 2003, the Iranians do now (sorry for mentioning countries if that offends anyone). Maybe its about getting really good at something, then you will appreciated wherever you are, and you'll feel pretty good about the situation, which I think applies to all of us. I hope this helps.

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#12 RE: Young Black Professionals
12/04/2007 17:54

tt to Anon (#11)

Racism and discrimination exists everywhere in many different formats because everyone thinks differently.

There is also a strong case to be made for inverted racism.

For instance if we had the Music of White Origin -would that be racist?

Or would "straight pride" be discrimination?

I strongly disagree with racism or descrimiantion of any sort but unfortuantely the world will always be full of narrow minded individuals. Everybody else must do their bit to combat it.

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#13 RE: Young Black Professionals
12/04/2007 18:40

Claire to tt (#12)

Oooo.... this subject is a tough one! Its such a delicate and sensitive subject that its very hard to reply!

The original post was written in such a way that if disagreed with it may appear that someone was deniying that rasicim exists, or even condoning it is as being acceptable, which ofcourse it is not!

As a white female I feel that I cannot relate to the experiences that YBP has written about, and I can only begin to imagine how upsetting and frustrating it is to be treated this way. For this, I am ashamed that fellow countrymen could behave in such a narrowminded and shallow way!

I do agree with Top Consultant in the fact that everyone experiences discrimintation of one way or another, but if it can be classed as even the slightest bit racist people shout it from the roof tops, any other sort of 'ism' you just have to grow thicker skin and get on with it!

Being female and blonde and studying computer science at Uni made people i told laugh out loud then look at me like i was some sort of freak! I could have taken this as discrimination, but I just found their narrowmindedness funny, plus every detremental comment was like rocketfuel to me, making me more determind to succeed! Is this discrimination? ofcourse its not, just plain ignorance!

I would never deny that racism exists or that it is a problem, because it is and I think genuine cases of racism are a disgrace to our nation!

My point is that racism is taken far more seriously than for example sexism or ageism. These are both as equally unfair and hurtful, but no one fears the repercussions will be as severe if found guilty.

By making racism such a big issue and such a taboo, its caused it to be an even greater problem!

All people of white origin have been wrongfully acussed of racism at some point, and its hurtful and offensive. I once got asked to leave a bar because a guy of asian origin tried to chat me up, i told him i wasnt single and asked him to leave me alone so he threw a drink at me and when the management came he accused me of making racist comments and ofcourse the establishment was so scared of condoning racism that they had no choice but to take his side, even thou they knew he was lying!

Now, i did nothing wrong, but i know this is not a isolated incident. People who misuse such a serious accusation this way are as guilty as the people commiting racism in the first place. They are ruining it for the decent and honest people who are genuinely treated unfairly and judged differently by their appearence.

I am deeply sorry YBP if you have been a victim of such unaccpetable behaviour, but others careless and unfounded use of the 'racism' claim makes it even harder to identify what really is racism, and what is not!

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#14 RE: Young Black Professionals
12/04/2007 18:52

MAS to Claire (#13)

Totally agree Claire. Point well made.

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#15 RE: Young Black Professionals
12/04/2007 23:10

anon to Claire (#13)

I am so glad that claire is back. She brightens my day

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#16 RE: Young Black Professionals
12/04/2007 23:21

K to Claire (#13)

Excellent point Claire. I am Asian, and believe me I have found an equal number of nice and not so nice people irrespective of race or colour . The guy who misbehaved with should have been thrown out. Pity that he wasn't.

And I feel for you YBP. Although as an Asian in London, I wouldn't say I have experienced racism, it could also be due to the fact that I lead a very sheltered life - go to a top uni, stay in an international student hall, and don't venture out of zone 1.

Although the discrimination I sometimes face is when employers covertly or overtly undermine my business experience in Asia, as somehow not being equal to UK work experience; even though I went to the best unis in Asia and the UK, was a scholarship holder throughout my academic career and have won international awards for work I did with US multinational companies back home.

The UK office of most multinationals in the industry I come from, is as much a regional office as is say the HK office or the New Delhi office. Most companies - even consulting firms, have their origins in America; so to presuppose that the quality of your work is somewhat superior just because you work in the UK, is a bit of a misnomer.

In that sense, I find that America is perhaps a much more meritocratic country, although it can be harsh because you've got to prove yourself all the time.

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#17 RE: Young Black Professionals
12/04/2007 23:27

anon2 to K (#16)

Couldn't agree more. It was listless without her, to the point of being completely flaccid. Good to see you Claire

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#18 RE: Young Black Professionals
13/04/2007 00:31

Young Black Professional to anon2 (#17)

Claire - I dont disagree with any of your points/stories. I appreciate that is hard for you to relate to my experiences and I know some people play the race card once too often.

<br>

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#19 RE: Young Black Professionals
18/04/2007 17:33

NDT to Young Black Professional (#1)

When I worked at one of the top tier firms a few years ago it was painfully politically correct.

I can't believe any kind of racism would ever have been tolerated. I never heard a racist comment in 2.5 years there.

I doubt the other top tier fims are any different.

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#20 RE: Young Black Professionals
18/04/2007 21:26

anon to NDT (#19)

Overtly, it is certainly true that professional services firms frown on discrimination. But biased attitudes still exist, whether on the basis of age, class, race, religion, s_x, physical features, etc.

The only thing you can do is to try and avoid thinking of yourself as a subject of discrimination and associate with as wide a range of people as possible (to avoid being pigeonholed).

In an ideal world, you would follow the employee handbook to the letter and have those conversations to give honest and constructive feedback to the people who seem to have the biggest attitudinal problems. (E.g. "When you ...y..., it makes me feel ...x... It comes across like you are making assumptions based on ...z... If we did ...a... I think we could do ...b... more effectively."

In reality, the politics at 99% of firms mean saying anything like that would be career suicide. If it's really bad, vote with your feet - nobody's going to stand up for you.

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#21 RE: Young Black Professionals
19/04/2007 15:38

Claire to deleted (#0)

Not quite sure what to make of that last response!

Not very PC is it?

Tony, maybe you should remove this one? If it is genuine and someone just having a laugh about peoples ignorance towards them then good on them, but if not then its in extremely bad taste!

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#22 RE: Young Black Professionals
19/04/2007 20:19

Claire to Claire (#21)

Please note anon that my responce was not aimed at you but the idiot who's post was rightly removed.

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#23 RE: Young Black Professionals
19/04/2007 21:45

anon to Claire (#22)

No worries. I know what you mean. Saw the post you referred to before it was removed.

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#24 RE: Young Black Professionals
20/04/2007 00:25

Claire to deleted (#0)

anon2, where you been? you went all quiet on us and thats not like you at all!

I wasn't actually talking to you, but its very nice to see your back!

I was starting to miss your kinda strange and sometimes disturbing posts which leave me not quite knowing whether to be flattered or a little scared!

Hehe!

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#25 RE: Young Black Professionals
20/04/2007 07:56

anonymous to Claire (#24)

New York City is probably not your best bet, YBP.

http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/chavez111599.asp

This story points out some of the stereotyping that can typically come from cabbies. YBP, how would you feel if a black cabbie didn't stop for you?

Just food for thought...

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#26 RE: Young Black Professionals
20/04/2007 13:29

anon2 to Claire (#24)

I was debating with some fussy dresser on the Pearls of Wisdom thread who advises to have 2 pairs of underpants when travelling on business.

What a dainty habit! Real consultants go commando. I do. There is no other way

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#27 RE: Young Black Professionals
20/04/2007 15:17

Young Black Professional to anonymous (#25)

Racism exists be it black on non black. White on non white, black on black or white on white.

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#28 RE: Young Black Professionals
19/05/2007 22:39

Aha! to Young Black Professional (#27)

YBP - My friends are always debating this very same question. The answer always points to somewhere where there is an established black middle class that kinds of insulates against the prevalence of racism. Atlanta has its troubles though. And, it is in GEORGIA. There was a reason that place haunted Ray Charles!

I work for ACN and I really don't feel any racism there, though I have heard clients come out with some dubious stuff. I hate ginger comments (how ridiculous), comments that equate being Irish to stupidity and error (ugh!). Blond jokes - i mean, come on. Gay slurs..... i just don't feel comfy always speaking up about it because it's easy to be labeled as some sort of PC freak and militant black woman if you do that too often. i also don't doubt that in all-white circles there are at least some racist comments. If you pay attention, you will probably notice it. I have white-looking cousins who hear it all the time and no one suspects they are of Jamaican heritage.

Racism does exist in all shapes and forms, and so does different types of discrimination. They are not all reducible though. Homophobia does not = sexism, which does not = racism, which does not = -anti-ginger sentiments' or inverse snobbery in their effects or genesis and in some cases, their severity. I can't speak as a gay person, but it must stink to have to give up your family if they aren't supportive, but then a gay person really can't say he/she understands how i felt to never be invited to my school friends' birthday parties. There can be dialogue, but none of these things cancel the other out. Its not a case of one thing trumps another. Let's make that clear. However, we shouldn't pretend that the opportunities afforded to us are all equal.

The thing we are talking about here is racism. Racism stifles the achievement and advancement of non-white people in this country, and many many other countries all over the world.

I have no doubt that a white, blond, blue-eyed man might have experienced discrimination because of one or all of these features at some point in his average 75 year long life. But has he experienced a kind of insidious, constant oppression? Doubt it. Will he worry about it affecting his kids? Doubt it. Is he worried his son might be stabbed in the head with a pick-axe while walking with his girlfriend on account of his blue eyes, or is he worried some blokes in South London might stab him to death at a bus stop because of his blond hair? Doubt it. Is there an entire political party dedicated to ridding the country of his presence? Nope. Thank God, we don't need any more craziness. Another point, which is not the same, is about privilege. Let's say you are white and you aren't racist AT ALL (that's fantastic as it's easy to be racist and prejudiced, its harder to fight it) but do you realise where you are ADVANTAGED and PRIVILEGED, even if you deny that non-whites are actively being held back due to racism? Even if you aren't holding back that black person or woman, do you understand that you are afforded kinds of advantage that non-whites and women aren't?

Black people can be bloody awfully racist - I am black and i have heard some shameful shameful comments. But, in the most part, they stay comments. Not because black people are made of a superior moral fibre - we aren't! - But black people simply don't have the financial or political clout to do much damage. It's the white racist punch that has the power behind it, i'm sorry to say. Non-racist whites who are (understandably) unwilling to relinquish privilege that maintains the status quo are also culpable.

I'm a black woman who has dated many white men, well not 'many' but you know, a few (!) and - apart from one occasion when i dated a white academic professor who had written extensively on the topic of racism, culture, and associated topics - i have had to delineate and explain, and illustrate very clearly how the experiences of black men and white men are different. They all really appreciated the insight. It wasn't an attack. We learn from each other, and there is lots of learning to do. Importantly, just because i've had relationships with white men, not even this means i never do or say things that can be classed as racist. It takes real training or a very strong mind to never think racist things.

So, rather than try your very very best to deny that there is racism, please join the struggle against it instead by opening your eyes to it.

For all others who will want to tear my post apart - fair enough, that's healthy. But if you are going to take the time to do that, please also take the time to read around the subject. It can't hurt, here's some references:

Anything by Paul Gilroy

Anything by Stuart Hall

Anything by S Ahmed

If you want a white perspective, there doesn't come much better than Ruth Frankenburg, but if you don't particularly like the American viewpoint try the British! Micheal Billig, Caroline Howarth, A Bennet. For a real Cockney, go straight to Les Back - genius!

All of these people are devoting their careers to writing about not black people, but white people. Much more useful than 'Music of White Origin'!

Aha!

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#29 RE: Young Black Professionals
22/05/2007 14:54

bravo to Aha! (#28)

can anyone else sense the embarrassing silence.

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#30 RE: Young Black Professionals
22/05/2007 20:52

Anon to bravo (#29)

You mean after Aha's post? Or do you mean the whole post in general?

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#31 RE: Young Black Professionals
19/08/2007 21:21

Curious to Anon (#30)

Tony, Have you got any figures on the breakdown of ethnicities in consulting at the verious levels/grades?

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#32 RE: Young Black Professionals
20/08/2007 10:21

hiring... to Curious (#31)

this is always a touchy subject and racism clearly exists. However, in an ever more competitive market, good people are hard to find. I suspect that most would hire a good person regardless of the colour of his/her skin. The only possible exception is where the consulting firm feels that their clients are less open minded than they are. If they do a lot of international work, for example, some other countries are less open minded than the UK. You should not always criticise the consultancies as they are completely dependent on their clients. If a client does not want people of certain origins, the consultancy cannot start putting them on site - unfortunate as this is.

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#33 RE: Young Black Professionals
20/08/2007 10:30

Young Black Professional to hiring... (#32)

Excellent point and well made.

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#34 RE: Young Black Professionals
21/08/2007 14:26

tippr to Young Black Professional (#33)

Just to give you some context: We have a major client in Eastern Europe looking for help in expanding business operations and develop strategy. Beleive me, if a group of say (non-white) consultants came there and started working, the client would find it odd. That's just the perception thing coming to the fore: they expect thier consultants to be white and male. Just live with it.

For info though, there are many partners and CEO of major organisations who don't conform to this, so its not all that bad.

And put things into perspective: is racism really the worst thing in the world (e.g. is it up there with poverty, terrosim, climate change).

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#35 RE: Young Black Professionals
21/08/2007 15:17

jj to tippr (#34)

This really is a poor excuse. Much of the prejudice in the world is exaggerated by X assuming that Y is prejudiced when they are not.

I was once "rejected" by a recruitment agent because their client insisted on better A levels. I applied directly and the client employed me because I was best candidate.

Same applies with a supposedly prejudiced client. If you put a black consultant in and they do a good job the client is unlikely to object.......it may be "odd" in the sense that there are less blacks in Eastern Europe.

However it is wrong to assume that this means the Eastern Europeans prefer a weaker white consultant to a stronger black one.

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#36 RE: Young Black Professionals
22/08/2007 07:52

racism to jj (#35)

look the UK is extremely generous to internationals compared to most countries in the world. 53% of babies born in London are now born to non British mothers and some sectors ar dominated by non British (or at least originally British) people. Things are not perfect by any means but the UK leads the way when it comes to racial equality. I have lived in many different countries and worked all over the world. Many of those who complain about racism or other prejudices come from countries or religious groups, which treat outsiders far worse than they have ever been treated themselves in the UK. Other nationalities/religious groups have much more of a "look after your own" mentality. IN the UK, it is much more about giving people a chance.

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#37 RE: Young Black Professionals
22/08/2007 09:59

realist to racism (#36)

I take your point JJ and it is a fair one but I have been told directly by clients in certain countries which nationalities and ethnic groups they will and will not accept. Not in the UK or US, I hasten to add. It is appalling and of course we try to get them to see sense. In reality, however this is about commercialism and not about making judgements about people. There is a lot of work in emergin markets and (by definition I guess as the markets are emerging) some of the thinking is not in line with what we believe in a mature market.

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#38 RE: Young Black Professionals
22/08/2007 13:11

Bev to realist (#37)

Realist,

Surely you should be referring such shocking behaviour to your diversity committee? I would expect that such a flagrant breach of diversity policies (if no such policies exist then the focus should be upon enacting them in line with best practice). I would expect that any organisation would disengage with any client which hold minorities in such contempt.

This is 2007!!! - profit is no longer the sole yardstick by which organisations should be measured. I believe success should be measured in terms of profit and inclusivity.

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#39 RE: Young Black Professionals
22/08/2007 13:42

response to Bev to Bev (#38)

I did not say that I was UK based or that we actually have such a committee (although we do in the UK of course). If your logic is applied in emerging markets, virtually no business would be won. In their own countries, they are breaking no rules and doing absolutely nothing wrong. We either accept their attitude and try to work with them or simply walk away thus having no chance and no business in those markets. I can categorically assure you that the oh so politically correct consultancy in the UK or US takes the "when in Rome" attitude when in a market with different values. Emerging markets are now contributing significant sums to the global revenues or the top consulting firms and cannot be ignored on the grounds of idealism.

Get real honey, yes this is 2007 but this means different things in different regions. These are commercial businesses, which must fit in to the needs of their client bases. If that means no Asians on a client site but big profits, consultancies will not turn the work down. This is a shame but it is what happens. In some parts of the world it is completely normal for people to be turned down on the grounds of nationality. This would not happen in the UK, I hope but, (much as Messers Bush and Blair seem to disagree) it is not the duty of the rest of the world to fit in with us. Sometimes we have to fit in with the requirements of other countries. If we fail to do this we are more racist than those we criticise.

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#40 RE: Young Black Professionals
22/08/2007 14:46

jj to response to Bev (#39)

Realist based on your "commercial argument":

Slave labour is OK if all the competitors do it because without it you could not compete.

It was OK for UK traders to ship slaves to the US as long as they tried to get them to see sense.

It is OK to employ child labour in your Indian factory as long as within local law.

It is OK for Trafigura to export toxic waste to the Ivory Coast provided they use a 3rd party to do it.

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#41 RE: Young Black Professionals
22/08/2007 14:51

Realist to jj (#40)

Yawn..... Bloody students

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#42 RE: Young Black Professionals
22/08/2007 15:18

Young Black Professional to Realist (#41)

Realist, JJ does make some good points though. Especially numbers 2 and 3.

The principle is the same in all 3 cases but illustrated best in 2 and 3.

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#43 RE: Young Black Professionals
22/08/2007 16:48

Bev to Young Black Professional (#42)

Some of the posts here seem to lack sincerity.

It seems some of you do not even believe in championing diversity! How can this be the case?

Rather like global warming, the debate over the whether we should champion diversity and inclusiveness in our societies – (plural) – is OVER. Only flat-earthers would dare disagree.

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#44 RE: Young Black Professionals
22/08/2007 18:30

realist to Bev (#43)

look. No-one is saying that diversity and racial equality is not a good thing. Of course it is. It is simply the case that that some clients from some countries see it differently. At this point, the consulting firm has to decide whether to take the ethical stance or win the business. Fairly obviously, the temptation is to take the money. This is reality. Also if you do want to change things you can only do it from inside. So the model is, win the business, give the client what the client wants to start with and gradually try to change the mindset.

I fully agree with the concept of diversity. Others don't and they have the right to hold those views.

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#45 RE: Young Black Professionals
22/08/2007 18:52

Here's a thought... to realist (#44)

Is it not discriminatory to discriminate against those who discriminate?

Should not the PC take be to embrace diversity in all its forms, including the 'unpalatable' un-PC ones like bigotry, etc.? Ponder ponder ...

... getting a headache!

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#46 RE: Young Black Professionals
22/08/2007 20:13

jj to Here's a thought... (#45)

Your statement that you "fully agree with the concept of diversity" is only meaningful if you some of your decisions support diversity despite being commercial sub-optimal.

If all your decisions are made to maximise profit then diversity has nothing to do with it.

Back in the 60s people used the excuse not to employ black people because their clients would not like it. This IS discrimination.

...and btw I am in my late 40s. Not a student.

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#47 RE: Young Black Professionals
23/08/2007 05:45

Realist to jj (#46)

So when a client in black Africa asks for a black person, this is OK or a Middle Eastern client expresses a very unsubtle preference for an Arab National, this is also fine. Is it only the British who have to play fair? It seems that we are the only ones who do. Believe me, if you are the guy responsible for building business in Middle East/Africa, you have to work within their system. You cannot just sit their preaching....

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#48 RE: Young Black Professionals
23/08/2007 06:03

Realist to Realist (#47)

look, I have the emerging market perspective on this and it is a strange contradiction. The UK gives out passports to all comers and gives all the opportunity to share in the country's success. Mindsets are not always what they should be but there are plenty of companies out there. In other markets, members of the very same ethnic groups, which complain about their treatment in the UK, employ a far more discriminatory approach than you will ever see in the UK.

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#49 RE: Young Black Professionals
23/08/2007 10:27

jj to Realist (#48)

In my view it is not OK for them either. However we all make a choice.......

You say that the guy responsible for building business in those countries has no choice - either they work with an unethical system or don't get the business. This implies they have no choice.

But you still have a choice whether to focus your business development efforts in those countries; or whether as an individual you take such a job.

Effectively if you choose to compete on this basis you are acting unethically. Just because something is legal or accepted in one culture does not make it ethical.

You say in earlier post that "of course diversity and equality are a good thing". But your beliefs are only relevant if you stick to them when they are challenged - not just where it is law and socially accepted.

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#50 RE: Young Black Professionals
23/08/2007 10:32

mac to jj (#49)

This is the same as the argument for/ against giving China the Olympics:

On one hand if you give them the Olympics it can be seen as accepting their flaws and perpetuating the problems.

On the other it's opening the country up to international scrutiny, prompting change from within as the locals adopt international cultures and viewpoints.

The right answer is probably a bit of both.

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#51 RE: Young Black Professionals
23/08/2007 10:42

jj to Realist (#48)

In my view it is not OK for them either. However we all make a choice.......

You say that the guy responsible for building business in those countries has no choice - either they work with an unethical system or don't get the business. This implies they have no choice.

But you still have a choice whether to focus your business development efforts in those countries; or whether as an individual you take such a job.

Effectively if you choose to compete on this basis you are acting unethically. Just because something is legal or accepted in one culture does not make it ethical.

You say in earlier post that "of course diversity and equality are a good thing". But your beliefs are only relevant if you stick to them when they are challenged - not just where it is law and socially accepted.

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#52 RE: Young Black Professionals
23/08/2007 10:51

Ground control to Major JJ to mac (#50)

So basically JJ, if you do not like the way your client operates or disagree with the way a country is run, you should not talk to them. There is a big difference between the brutality of Zimbabwe's government and a few local (to their countries) guys who have outdated views but are basically decent people. It seems to be a grotesque over-reaction to boycott people who have different views to us. Clearly if they are actually doing a Chemical Ali job, this is different but if they just seem the world differently, this is surely fine. In my experince, the only real difference is that the guy in the emerging market will state quite clearly (for example) "I want a white 35 year old married man" as a consultant/employee etc. In the UK, the hiring manager or client will very often have the same prejudices and will still end up with the result he/she wanted. It will just be done in a less obvious way.

It is reaching the point now where the public school educated white male is actually prejudiced against by employers and clients looking to over compensate.

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#53 RE: Young Black Professionals
23/08/2007 11:47

JJ to Ground control to Major JJ (#52)

That is not what I am saying at all. I agree that we should be highly tolerant of cultural differences and diversity of opinion. However we should not support things we believe are ethically wrong.

Now in the case of China one of the main aims is to open China to the world. In the case of supplying a white, male consultant the motive is purely commercial.

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#54 RE: Young Black Professionals
23/08/2007 12:45

tom to JJ (#53)

"in the case of China one of the main aims is to open China to the world"

Sure - the sponsors are in it for philanthropic reasons.

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#55 RE: Young Black Professionals
23/08/2007 12:53

precisely to tom (#54)

I am sure the fact that the Chinese now have one of the largest budget surpluses inthe world and would have offered the biggest bribe had nothing ot do with it....

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