Yay Diversity! (Sigh)

diversity sigh

I love those nerdy Pew Research Center surveys because they provide such fascinating snapshots of how conflicted and confused Americans are on a host of issues.

The latest one is on American attitudes about racial and ethic diversity, and the section on workplace diversity should strike a chord with those in the legal profession.

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In a nutshell, Pew finds that a majority of Americans believe diversity is a worthwhile goal, but ”few endorse the idea of taking race or ethnicity into consideration in hiring and promotions.”

In other words, we like diversity in theory but just don’t want to tinker directly with the hard, messy stuff—which, of course, is race and ethnicity.

First, let me list some of the relevant findings from this survey of 6,637 adults in the United States (Pew notes that Asian responses are not broken out separately because of their small sample size): (read more)

Priyanka Chopra Wants Everyone To Talk About Diversity

Priyanka Chopra

Roughly one year ago, Priyanka Chopra Jonas spoke about her fearlessness in the face of adversity, especially when it comes to her career. “Ambition has no color,” she told me at the Forbes Women’s Summit. “It has no language. It has no border or country. Ambition is pure ambition. And I have it.”

The actress, producer & activist’s latest project falls right in line with that statement—and she wants to bring others on that journey alongside her. Chopra recently announced a collaboration with Obagi, a medical grade skincare product, on its new Skinclusion campaign, which encourages people around the world to recognize and address hidden or unconscious bias, specifically those surrounding skin tone. (read more)

Emphasizing Diversity To Remove The Possibility Of AI Bias In Healthcare

AI Healthcare Diversity

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is sometimes heralded as a panacea, able to improve and automate technology in a way that will solve many of our social, business and wellness issues. But AI also has a well-documented diversity problem, one that can limit the potential of its usefulness or – worse – amplify the implicit biases that are present in our world today.

recent report from the AI Now Institute found that 80% of AI professors, 85% of AI research staff at Facebook, and 90% of those staffers at Google are male. Further, people of color make up only a small fraction of staff at major tech companies.

This shortfall in diversity can lead directly to shortcomings in the resulting technology. For example, Amazon recently ceased using an AI-powered tool for hiring that was unwittingly slanted against minorities. The more women and minorities on these AI research and development teams, the more powerful and robust the technology they will produce. (read more)

Who Is Robert F. Smith, the Man Paying Off Morehouse Graduates’ Loans?

robert smith morehouse

Robert F. Smith was giving the commencement address to the graduating class of Morehouse College when he made a surprise announcement: He would be paying off the student loans of the roughly 400 graduates.

It was just the latest substantial gesture from Mr. Smith, the richest black man in America, who until just a few years ago was practically unknown.

Here’s what you need to know about him:

■ Mr. Smith has amassed a fortune that Forbes estimates to be worth $5 billion by founding Vista Equity Partners, a private equity firm that focuses on buying and selling software firms.

■ Vista has about $46 billion in assets under management, according to Forbes. The company is privately held and does not publicly report its results, but it is believed to be one of the best-performing firms in the country, with annualized returns of more than 20 percent since its founding. (read more)

Adrianne Smith Leads Diversity Initiative At 2019 Cannes Lions Festival

Adrianne Smith

A series of interviews with creative and marketing innovators changing the business landscape at the 2019 Cannes Lions Creativity Festival: Adrianne C. Smith, Founder “Cannes Can: Diversity Collective” and Managing Partner, Vision Corps Media Group.

 Bruce Rogers: Tell us about the “Cannes “Can: Diversity Collective” and how it came together?

Adrianne Smith: I’ll answer that by going back a bit to help put this initiative into context. My background is in advertising and marketing. I started at Leo Burnett in Chicago many years ago where I worked on the Kellogg’s account. Once I left there I came to New York and started working in sales and advertising for a black-owned television syndication sales company which licensed movies from movie studios and then repackaged them with “wrap-arounds” featuring Hollywood icons Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee under the African Heritage Network. This was an opportunity for people who had not seen some of the old great black movies and other video content that were just sitting on studio shelves. It was also the birth of one of the most successful minority owned television syndication sales companies. (read more)

Assigning a chief diversity officer doesn’t fix an inclusion issue

Gurinder S. Ahluwalia

We hear a lot about diversity, equality and inclusion, and with good reason. Our society has come a long way, but more needs to be done for the American workforce to truly reflect the multicultural makeup of America.

Despite the nationwide push for enhancing diversity and inclusion in the workplace, the financial advice industry is one of the least diverse fields. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that only 5% of the 537,000 Americans employed as personal financial advisers last year were African-American, with Asians and Latinos accounting for 6.9% and 6.6% of our country’s advisers, respectively.

At first thought, an obvious solution to the lack of diversity in a financial advisory practice might appear to be to hire a chief diversity officer (CDO). Many companies in different industries brought CDOs into their businesses after the creation of the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) in the Dodd-Frank Act. The OMWI was established to monitor and assess the diversity practices and policies at entities regulated by eight federal agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission. (read more)

Fox chief says diversity is “an ongoing effort” after network cancels several Black-led shows

fox diversity

There are always people disappointed when networks announce which shows they will be axing, but Fox has ruffled tons of feathers since it announced plans to cancel several Black-led shows.

The long list of shows that won’t be returning to the network include Lee Daniels‘ Star, The Cool Kids (starring David Alan Grier), Rel (led by Lil Rel Howery), Proven Innocent (Russell Hornsby) and Lethal Weapon. Fox also confirmed that the six season of Empire will be its last.

According to reports, Fox chief Charlie Collier weighed in on diversity concerns during the upfront in NYC this week.

“The diversity of Fox is an issue that is so important and an ongoing effort for us to make sure we’re best in class,” he said. “As I was looking at Fox and joining, what’s remarkable is that the history of this company and what it’s done in terms of diversity…. If you look across our slate in terms of scripted and unscripted and sports, we really are doing a good job but the job never stops. The effort continues, it never stops.” (read more)


Nathalie Emmanuel on why Game of Thrones’ lack of diversity made Missandei’s death more painful

game of thrones diversity

It’s been a week since Game of Thrones gave us a trying, tense and emotional episode in which one of our favorite characters met her untimely and brutal end, and Nathalie Emmanuel is still processing the wave of anger and heartbreak that has grown online since, tying her character’s demise into a larger conversation about the show’s lack of on-screen racial diversity.

After last Sunday’s episode “The Last of the Starks” saw Daenerys’ trusted advisor Missandei (Emmanuel) captured by Cersei and then beheaded when the tyrant queen’s demands are not met, a wave of outrage grew online at the fate that befell not just one of the most-liked characters, but one of only two long-standing minority characters in the show.

“To be honest with you, when I read the script for it, I was like, not surprised that she died because I had been expecting it for a really long time,” Emmanuel told EW a few days after the episode aired. (read more)

De Blasio considers cutting funds from museums if they don’t diversify


The heads of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall are among dozens of cultural institution leaders quaking in their boots as Mayor Bill de Blasio considers slashing their funds if they fail to meet his staff diversity criteria, The Post has learned.

“We are not treating diversity as a bonus,” said Ryan Max, a spokesman for the Department of Cultural Affairs.

“These institutions won’t receive their full funding without demonstrating their commitment to equity and inclusion.”

Cultural Affairs officials are reviewing the plans that the mayor ordered drawn up by the landmark attractions — with potentially millions of dollars at stake if they don’t pass muster.

De Blasio’s decree targets the nonprofit organizations that run the 33 museums, theaters, concert halls, botanical gardens and zoos that comprise the city’s “Cultural Institutions Group.” (read more)

Americans Like Diversity, Survey Finds. (At Least in the Abstract.)

americans like diversity

Americans mostly think it is good that the nation has an ethnically and racially mixed population, but their views diverge when it comes to specifics about how that diversity affects their lives, a new survey found.

Over all, about three in four adults said that a diverse population was either somewhat or very good for the country, according to the survey, published on Wednesday by the Pew Research Center. That view is even more prevalent among Democrats and individuals with higher education.

On matters of diversity, Americans are often divided along party lines, with Democrats tending to be more likely to embrace ethnic, racial and cultural differences, according to the poll, which surveyed more than 6,600 adults early this year. (read more)

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