Sunday, January 30, 2011

We cannot afford racism, hate and senseless bias anymore

Racism and hate have been as much a part of America as mom and apple pie for years.  There have always been groups of malcontents who blame their own failings in life on some group.  There have always been people who think that if that or that person or group was more like them, all would be well.  Blood has been shed on both sides of such issues.

As time passed, the open haters have been moved to the margins of American life, while the soft racism remained strong.  What VUI means by that is that most people will not use the N word in their discussions, but they would churn inside if their son or daughter brought home a date of another race.  And, yes, that includes Black parents with a black son or daughter bringing home someone white or Hispanic.  And vice verse.  Racism and senseless prejudice knows no color.  Such is found in the workplace as well, as the white man often resents the black woman promoted over him and the black woman resents the Hispanic or Asian promoted over her and on and on.

But, we cannot afford such anymore.  Through technology and other means, we are globally connected.  Our local communities compete with the world.  The world does not share our biases for race or whatever, or even who has the better college degree, it simply competes.  To compete ourselves, we must leave the illogical ideas of racism and the like behind.  Biases based upon race, religion, region or education background must be put aside if America is to survive and thrive in today’s world.

Think on it.  If you have an MBA from Harvard and you pay yourself a big bonus this year, but it causes the goods you sell to be of higher price and lower quality than the same goods sold by some simple Indian who had a better idea and more dedication to his customer, then you lose eventually.  If  you are a white cotton planter, seventh generation, who looks down on the Hispanics who work for you, thus causing them to be unmotivated to do their best, you are going to lose to another cotton grower out there in the world.  Further if you run any type of business and you decide who should do a job for you based on anything other than performance and dedication, you will lose.  This world simply has no room for hate and racism to compete.

Ironically, Americans can find a example of how to live their everyday business lives in their leisure activities: professional sports.  In professional sports, winning is what matters.  Racism has long been put to bed in professional sports.  People cheer the winners.  They demand winning, whomever gets it done.

I know some doubt that, especially on the left.  But, they should consider the example of my beloved Pittsburgh Steelers.  Now, if any team has the reputation and fan base for being white and blue collar, it is the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Yet, they are led by a young Black coach, Mike Tomlin.  Tomlin is not there because he is Black.  Tomlin is there because he knows how to put together a coaching staff and team that wins.  Tomlin is leading the Steelers for the second time to the Super Bowl, the youngest coach, of any color, to ever do such a thing.  Tomlin is an example of the best of America, win or lose this Super Bowl.

That said, in corporate and everyday America, there have to be more Coach Tomlins out there.  There are young and talented minorities, and even out of the loop whites, that can find a way to win in their respective fields.  Maybe it’s a Hispanic woman who knows how to run the café.  Perhaps it is a white guy who never finished college but knows how to run a manufacturing plant.  Maybe is the guy people think is gay that can really sell the product for the company he works for.  The list goes on.  The bottom line is if America is going to compete in this global economy, we have to really compete, leave old biases behind in our everyday business world and let the best at what they do flourish on their merits.

Take it from this old ball coach, anything less than that, and we lose.  The competition is just too good for us to waste time and resources on such things as racism and hate. 

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