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The Reality of Solving for Diversity, Equity+ Inclusion in the Workplace. (Part 2)

(Please read when you have a moment + space to reflect.)


As part one focused more on perception, reality and reactions from the top down; part 2 will focus more on perception, reality and reactions at the bottom.

fig 5.9: Power Structure: Limited

The Next In Line

This is where things get a different type of interesting.

This is usually another 'key level'/door.

At Capacity

You've probably gone out at some point during quarantine (or another point in life). Only to be stuck out front or maybe even the side (hopefully not out back) of an entrance, not knowing how long the wait is for you to make it inside.

Some of us reeeally want what's inside, others are over the lack of progress and leave.

There's a thin line between patience and waiting. Also, many variables...

Why do you stay? / Why did you go?

This is usually where the bottleneck is. Only so many positions to be filled and only no many leaders ready to leave.

Here Come The Politics

Politics are on the other side of this door, ready to influence the young mature leaders into doing what they see fit in order to receive that promotion they've been waiting for.

When in reality, the young mature leaders (much more than credited) already have what it takes in order to do the job at a high level. Humility, passion, open mindedness, dedication, along with the other tools they've been sharpening over the years to even get to where they've gotten to thus far.

The misconception happens when young leaders are discouraged and unmotivated to jump through hoops after all of the unnecessary performing and projected anxiety/stress that comes with it...

*Not able to fathom, managers usually press harder.

Regardless, many people end up losing a solid piece of themselves here whether they realize it then..., but usually not.

Every need got an ego to feed." -Bob Marley + The Wailers

Reactionary DE+I Solutions

fig 5.10: Power Structure: Most Restricted

For many years the most active level of D+I response has been to bring more young diverse talent in at entry level positions.

The gratefulness/pride of having/providing this (overdue) 'new' opportunity is usually the only thing that's highlighted; but there are facts attached in the shadows that tell a more complete story.

A more complete story leads to recognizing more rooted issues. Recognizing more rooted problems leads to much better understanding in what we need to be solving for. Recognizing what needs to be solved for (at every level), opens the opportunity + likelihood of accepting non traditional solutions that benefit more people involved. etc.

For a well known brand, young black talent may have been overlooked for years, suddenly they get accepted into their life long dream job.

Leaders are able to take advantage here, and they do by indoctrinating them with these outdated process' and ideas that lack perspective. Pushing their doctrine and philosophies as the gospel through the emphasis of convenient data + mentorship.

Not saying you can't get anything from a 'mentor', just saying these relationships for the most part haven't evolved nearly as much as they need to.

Wild guess, I credit Ego.

The classical man is just a bundle of routine ideas and tradition. When he acts, he is translating every living movement in terms of the old." -Bruce Lee

These over-glorified solutions have gotten away with paying talented young people of color minimum salaries; and while conveniently keeping them at entry level positions they are encouraged to prove that they can conform - then produce. Sacrificing creativity, natural expression/authenticity as the leaders of the company receive a pat on the back (+ can't forget the fat bonus) for checking off that leadership box in their company goals.

Realized or not, its a reality that's accepted much too easily, + without a challenge.

Young Talent

Most who are at this level are still excited and eager to be a part of something cool, like pretty much all of us were at some point.

Others are determined to get that promotion to enrich their own lives while deeming themselves worthy through corporate validation. This is also normal and used to be a much more necessary approach based in the times we were living in.

The real issue is that times have changed, but people's programming have not been updated; we're still operating under a much older operating systems. This old system can't handle the quantum physics of a new more fluid and efficient way of operating. It misjudges actions that it doesn't recognize, flagging this new unknown logic as some type of error or bug in the system... You can only imagine how the machine tries to compromise these 'bugs'; when they should be learning from them, while compensating them accordingly.

If you follow the classical pattern, you are understanding the routine, the tradition, the shadow - you are not understanding yourself.
... In classical styles, system becomes more important than the man! -Bruce Lee

'Odd Man Out'

So what's the reality for those in these systems who don't have an overzealous approach to being 'successful'? Or what's the reality for those who have been more culturally aware and considerate in the workplace + life in general?

Not being overzealous for 'success', simply means- to understand that monetary success should be a natural by-product; which usually works best in a creative process that is natural/authentic.

Many of you know from one experience or another, that once you've seen more clear and gathered a true understanding of how something works, that there is no going back.

Going back would be painful, leaving only two choices which would be to either numb the pain somehow, or attempt to cure the root cause of that pain.

When there is freedom from mechanical conditioning, there is simplicity. Life is a relationship to the whole. -Bruce Lee

The reality of trying to be a cure is, because your logic is in the minority (regardless of how right you may be) you will be forced to endure, and accept whatever compromise your 'leaders' present back to you. That is, if you would like to remain employed.

Imagine expressing deeper rooted problems and solutions to the same leaders prior to 2020, only to be viewed as disruptive, because the matter of content is real (heavy for some), which makes it uncomfortable. Then to be consoled by these leaders and receive books from these leaders (of how to be considerate of your own culture in the workplace) after the death of George Floyd, as they are now taking classes to help learn more about what you presented to them at least a year prior; (without acknowledging your previous efforts of trying to enlighten them on these more diverse perspectives + experiences).

Why Stay?

Some may say well you don't have to work there, you can work for someone else, or start your own... And this is true. But at this point working for someone else may not be too much different if they are working under the same system, let alone trying to find another job during/after the pandemic.

Starting your own ends up looking like the only solution. It appears to be the only tunnel with light at the end of it for many. A way of living and contributing to the world through our natural talents and passions; without operating in the spirit of fear in order to obtain what we would receive naturally by working authentically and pure in the first place.

The Pursuit Of Happiness

So what does the pursuit of happiness look like from here?

I'll tell you what its been like... a little more in depth than just saying 'The Twilight Zone'.

The journey of pursuing (black equity) your own endeavors while working in today's corporate environment is full of unnecessary contradictions.

It requires you to continue working under the same outdated logic from 9-5, while having to flip the switch from 5-9 to pursue your own endeavors under your own beliefs, ideas, and logic more true to who you are.

Whats happening here?

Between the 9-5

As we went through before, there's now a strong emphasis on (counseling) creating 'a safe space' for people to express and talk through their emotions + experiences concerning DE+I in a reoccurring monthly meeting for 30min to an hour.

Once this meeting is over, this box is checked and everyone goes on doing the day to day work as they have always been told to. That is until the next kumbaya session comes around for people to pat each other on the back for a couple steps forward (maybe?) as the cycle continues.

What you begin to notice, is how people deal with their uncomfortableness.

For those who feel less directly effected, it's easier to focus on the day to day task, which I learned that many prefer to do even more so as a distraction from the new harsh truths they've been exposed to.

For those who have known (and care) how everybody is essentially directly affected; the option to dismiss our reality in order to be distracted isn't efficient.

Our attention is focused more on opportunities that will be more of a direct + impactful solve.

Being Involved More at Work

Some companies have created more initiatives for employees who wish to be more involved in being part of the solution. This sounds good in theory, but here's the reality...

Companies are exploiting employees for their passion, knowledge and insights.


1) Leaders are asking employees to help solve for priority labeled problems,

2) that they were not even aware of prior to 2020/ weren't doing enough about

3) (more/extra work) for employees without extra compensation. Free labor for exponential gains.

If 'leaders' are being compensated anywhere from 6-8 figures for not having these answers/ perpetuating the problem; and lower level employees are providing and handing over equitable solutions without any compensation... this doesn't seem very equitable.

It feels more like, lets include the workers who will be happy to be a part of change so we can say that we did and they can't complain.

4) Leaders are empowered gatekeepers who still get to be conveniently selective of the suggested solutions moving forward.

*Employees who want equity the most, essentially have three jobs (at least). Two that emphasize black equity and one that still operates in the more traditional approach (as we're told "this is going to take some time").

Imagine still being responsible for 40 hours worth of work while needing to focus in a complete contrasting mindset for what is/said to be most important.

This all leads to the last thing that I'd like to express.

On December 4, 2019, I jumped on the 'train' to go into the city during my lunch break to attend an event titled: "Using Equity as the Lens We Create From, w/ Dr. Steven Nakana" - hosted by: Zapproved.

One of the very first things that Dr. Steven provided that I will never forget, was a tool called "The Social Equity Tool"

1) Whose benefiting? Why?

2) Whose being impacted? How?

When you truly have an open minded diverse group of humans, these simple four questions will force you to think deeper than the surface, resulting in better understanding, leading to better/quicker solutions.

Over the span of 3.5 years Phil Knight has made $24 Billion; $20 Billion since 2020 according to Forbes.

Whose the majority marketing these products? Whose the majority purchasing these products?

PS. We'll get another chance to see companies expose their real intent as NFTs and Crypto grow more popular in general. Likely they will try to regulate, control and conform to the outdated system these revolutionary assets were designed to be better than.

Clearly Crypto/NFTs are a tool for people to gain life changing wealth much quicker than what's mapped out for us by our 'leaders'.

Please keep the Social Equity Tool in mind as you evaluate and come to your own conclusions.

Appreciate you taking the time to dive into to this rare not so rare perspective. The hope was to challenge people to see deeper than the surface, in order to contemplate and develop more efficient solutions. It's easier when we zoom out and consider the why's as well as the how's in terms of the (what) lifestyles we want to live.

There is hope for companies who truly desire to solve for diversity (in thought and process) + (black) equity; but it will require a level of humility (them giving up control) that they aren't used to in order for us to see the type of progress we deserve to see.

Appreciate your 'time'.

Jamaal _EDD


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