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by Carmen Van Kerckhove

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Recommended Reading

by Race in the Workplace special correspondent Erica

Minority workers still fighting job recruiters’ misconceptions - The Clarion-Ledger
“‘The titans of business really don’t care about this issue,’ [executive recruiter Ken Arroyo Roldan] says. ‘They have this ‘I gave at the gate’ mentality. Many executives have been sensitized to death (about minorities) but at the end of the day, are they exposed to others? No. It’s a gated community of white males.’”

EEOC Wants to ‘E-Race’ Discrimination in the Workplace - NPR
Audio story. “Naomi Earp, chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, discusses the current state of discrimination in the workplace and their new anti-discrimination initiative.”

Mixed Messages on Affirmative Action - Inside Higher Ed
Explaining the nuances between the Supreme Court ruling last week rejecting the assignment of kids to schools based on race and the Supreme Court’s previous rulings on affirmative action in colleges and universities. (via Workplace Blog)

Best Practices or Best Guesses? Assessing the Efficacy of Corporate Affirmative Action and Diversity Policies - The American Sociological Review (PDF)
Diversity training and diversity evaluation for management was the least effective. Networking and mentorship were moderately effective. Establishing responsibility for diversity was most effective. (via Workplace Prof Blog)

Workplace Segregation in the United States: Race, Ethnicity, and Skill - IDEAS: Economics and Finance Research
“We define segregation based on the extent to which workers are more or less likely to be in workplaces with members of the same group.” “Only a tiny portion (3%) of racial segregation in the workplace is driven by education differences between blacks and whites, but a substantial fraction of ethnic segregation in the workplace (32%) can be attributed to differences in language proficiency.”

Recommended Reading is a weekly feature where we link to some of our favorite workplace-related blog posts and articles. If you would like to suggest a link to Erica, please email tips@raceintheworkplace.com

How to work fewer hours, get more done, and travel the world

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book that fundamentally changed the way I look at the world. But Timothy Ferriss’s book, The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich did just that.

Describing the book is difficult, since it combines business, self-development, online marketing, and productivity into one compelling package. So I took a few bullet points from Ferris’s own web site to give you a sense of what it’s all about. Some of the things you’ll learn from his book:

  • How to outsource your life and do whatever you want for a year, only to return to a bank account 50% larger than before you left
  • How blue-chip escape artists travel the world without quitting their jobs
  • How to trade a long-haul career for short work bursts and frequent “mini-retirements”
  • How to cultivate selective ignorance—and create time—with a low-information diet
  • The crucial difference between absolute and relative income

And here’s a brief interview I did with Ferriss:

One big eye-opener for me was the idea that our traditional ideas about productivity are all wrong. Instead of cramming more work into the same amount of time, we should be paring down our work to only those essential activities that actually generate the most value or revenue. Everything else should either be eliminated or outsourced. Can you explain what Pareto’s Law and Parkinson’s law are, and how they affect our working lives?

Parkinson’s Law dictates that a task will swell in (perceived) importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for it’s completion. It is the magic of the imminent deadline. If I give you 24 hours to complete a project, the time pressure forces you to focus on execution. and you have no choice but to do only the bare essentials. In a nutshell, productivity can be accomplished by applying these two rules:

1) Limit tasks to the important to shorten work time
2) Shorten work time to limit tasks to the important (which is Parkinson’s Law)

We often spend an entire 9-5 day jumping from one interruption to the next, feeling run by our business, instead of the other way around, and when the clock strikes 5, we wonder what we accomplished. The best solution is to apply both solutions above, together. Identify the few critical tasks that contribute most to income and schedule them with ‘very’ short and clear deadlines.

Another one of the most compelling concepts in your book is that retirement is the wrong goal. The way most of our lives are structured is about working as much as you can and accumulating as much money as you can while you’re young, in order to retire and live a life of leisure. But as you so rightly point out, none of us really know what we want to do with that free time at the end of the rainbow. What approach do you recommend instead of this traditional focus on retirement?

True Freedom is much more than having enough income and time to do what you want. One cannot be free from the stresses of a speed-and-size obsessed culture until you are free from the materialistic addictions that created the impulses in the first place. As I mention in the book; a close friend and college roommate of mine soon graduates from a top business school and will return to investment banking. He hates coming home from the office at midnight, and he explained to me that if he puts in 80 hour work weeks for nine years; he could become managing director and make $3-10 million per yer. So I asked him:

“Dude, what on earth would you do with $3-10 million per year?”

His answer? “I would take a long trip to Thailand”.

I began to think; ‘let me get this straight, so that I understand it logically’. You are going to work your butt off in 80 hour work weeks for over nine years, to fulfill this dream you once had about travelling to Thailand. I then asked myself, why do we put life on the back burner.? If life exists to be enjoyed - why do we prolong our enjoyment?

You can find more Race in the Workplace interviews in our archives.

Recommended Reading

by Race in the Workplace special correspondent Erica

The New Recruiting Psychographic Persona - Employee Evolution
The author put together a list of things that Millennials are looking for in a job to give her company’s HR department a better sense of the landscape as they reconsidered their recruiting materials. With all the talk of how this generation has been raised to really not think about race (i.e., ignore it, not necessarily truly have it be a non-issue), I wonder how highly they value the face of diversity (or lack thereof) a company puts forth.

Gap Analysis - CFO Magazine
“Why diversity programs work better for women than for minorities.” Demographics and socioeconomics mean a much larger pipeline of women. More successful mentoring and workplace accommodations mean much happier female employees. (Thx, Sallie!)

Now and Then: Minorities and Michigan - Inside Higher Ed
Following the state of Michigan’s passage of Proposal 2 banning affirmative action at all public employers, minority enrollment at the University of Michigan Law School dropped from 39.6% to 5.5%.

Without Affirmative Action, Diversity Suffers - TIME’s Work in Progress
Lisa Takeuchi Cullen reacts to the news out of the University of Michigan Law School. We’re reminded not to use the “Q” word (”quota”). The usual arguing for and against affirmative action ensues in the comments, including the use of crayola colors and my personal favorite: “I’m a minority and I think it’s wrong.”

Race Discrimination - Workplace Fairness
Good background on the legal definition of race discrimination and how Title VII of the Civil Rights Act governs that.

Recommended Reading is a weekly feature where we link to some of our favorite workplace-related blog posts and articles. If you would like to suggest a link to Erica, please email tips@raceintheworkplace.com

Addicted to Race 72: Body Image and Race

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

addicted to raceA brand-new episode (No. 72) of Addicted to Race is out! Addicted to Race is New Demographic’s weekly podcast about America’s obsession with race.

Carmen and Latoya discuss body image for women and how it correlates to race. This episode features the song “Feel The Change” by Baba & Yako, courtesy of Spectre Entertainment Group.

Overly opinionated and a prime candidate for MAA (Media Addicts Anonymous), freelance writer and blogger Latoya Peterson lives, learns, loves, and blogs - and then wakes up each morning to do it all over again. She currently contributes to online gaming magazine Cerise, and contributes weekly posts to Racialicious.com. She is also the head of content development at www.entersoundbooth.com, and blogs about hip-hop culture as PlentyProphylactics. Latoya also maintains two blogs of her own housed through her website, www.alteregomaniacs.com. Skilled in interviewing, creative non-fiction, and editorial content, Latoya Peterson spends her time researching trends and obscure connections between topics. Current projects include Messaging in the Media (an analysis of gender messaging through magazines), a project that analyzes the global influence of hip-hop culture, and a short project on trends in manga.

Articles mentioned in this episode:

  • End Run: How a few black publishers are making a play for the Maxim man
  • Healthy, my ass: Many blacks love big women, but having a rump the size of Buffie the Body’s can put women at risk for disease.

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Duration - 1:12:25
File Size - 67.9 MB
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Recommended Reading

by Race in the Workplace special correspondent Erica

RACIAL INEQUALITY IN THE E.U.: Facts are essential - The National Law Journal
It’s the “European Year of Equal Opportunities for All.” The E.U. Equality Ministers want to kick off this effort to combat discrimination by collecting lots of data. The French are not pleased because they have a national “color-blind” policy of not collecting such data. Workplace Prof Blog sums it up: “[Author David Oppenheimer] argues that collecting facts and data about ethnic groups is essential to overcoming the myth that we live in a color-blind world. David concludes that, ‘Measuring the extent of racial inequality hasn’t eliminated the problem in the United States, nor will it in Europe. But it does make it harder to ignore.’”

Pre-employment Testing: Between a Rock and a Very Hard Place - Workers Comp Insider
A Los Angeles Fire Department employee was recently awarded $3.75 million in damages because the LAFD ordered him to fudge the screening process and favor women in pre-employment screening activities in order to increase the number of women fire fighters. “[W]hatever tools and standards employers use to screen applicants, they must strive for transparency. Establish reasonable criteria and apply them uniformly. If the criteria have a disproportionate impact on one segment of applicants, re-examine the criteria carefully.”

A Way to Keep Domestic Partner Benefits - Inside Higher Ed
“Michigan’s public colleges and universities were barred by a state appeals court in February from offering health and other benefits to the same-sex domestic partners of employees. So Michigan State University is trying another tack: extending benefits to people it labels ‘other eligible individuals.’” Nice to see a large employer take swift action on behalf of its employees. (via Workplace Blog)

Legislation Expected to Overturn Ledbetter Ruling - OFCCP Blog
You’ll recall that the Supreme Court’s Ledbetter decision was regarding a pay discrimination lawsuit. Numerous senators and representatvies have expressed intent to propose legislation that will specify that every paycheck received at a pay rate deemed to be the result of discrimination is a repeat instance of discrimination. Way to treat the symptoms and not the problem! And with unnecessary legislation, no less! Whether the paycheck itself is an act of discrimination is not the issue. My beef is still with the 180 day limit an employee has in which to make their case.

Recommended Reading is a weekly feature where we link to some of our favorite workplace-related blog posts and articles. If you would like to suggest a link to Erica, please email tips@raceintheworkplace.com

Watercooler: Your afro is unprofessional

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Watercooler is the section of the blog in which we share with you real-life horror stories from the frontlines of race in the workplace. :) This week, we have a story from an anonymous social work intern:

It was going to be a normal day at my social work internship, or so I thought. I drove up to the agency that I was assigned to from the graduate college of social work since the January. I walked up the stairs and entered the dim-lit office where my field instructor was patiently waiting for me. She gave me a gingerly smile as I opened the door, “C’mon in … how ‘ya been?” and I anxiously replied “I’m doing good”. That day, we sat down together to work on the educational contract that is established between my field instructor and I.

The educational contract has several parts within its framework. The contract itself, is used by the college of social work as a tool to measure my progress within my first 450 hours of field practice within a social work agency. The contract is organized in sections that pertain to professionalism, skills, and social work values of social work intern. It is the field instructor’s duty to evaluate the intern on the basis of these criteria.

She rated me from my capability to acknowledge my own biases and how they affect clients, all the way to my cultural competency in working with clients. It had already been an hour and everything was going smoothly. For the most part she evaluated me fairly, as I had no problem with accepting any form of constructive criticism — with the exception of one in particular, and that was when she made it a point to critique my afro. She said “I don’t know how to ask you this, but I wanted to talk about professionalism and your big afro”. I could not believe my ears. Did she, a fellow female social worker critique my hair by labeling it as unprofessional? I was in a complete state of shock and dissolution about the woman sitting in front of me.

More importantly though, I was thinking about the macro problem of racial stereotyping. Racial stereotyping can seriously cause a lot of emotional damage to an individual, and I found it disheartening that my professor harbored the concept that my afro was somehow unprofessional. The truth was that she was not sure how I would react. Once again, as a biracial black woman, I felt a polar opposite tension between us. On one hand, I felt sympathy for her because I knew that she really did not know any better. One the other hand, I felt angry and distraught … compelled to yell and scream in protest, because once again, I was going to be judged by the style of my hair. India Arie’s song “I am not my hair” was playing in the background of my mind as I contemplated what to say to her. Continue Reading »

Addicted to Race 71: No Homo, Black Marriage

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

addicted to raceA brand-new episode (No. 71) of Addicted to Race is out! Addicted to Race is New Demographic’s weekly podcast about America’s obsession with race.

Carmen and Dumi discuss the “no homo” phenomenon, as well as BET’s recent episode of “Meet the Faith,” which focused on the state of black marriage.

Guest co-host L’Heureux Lewis, who is also known as Dumi, just completed his PhD in Sociology and Public Policy at the University of Michigan. A native of West Haven, CT he received a Bachelor’s from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. In the fall, he will begin as an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Black Studies at the City College of New York. His research interests are wide ranging and he has studied racial identity, multiraciality in the color blind era, mental health functioning, racial discrimination, and educational inequality. Dumi also blogs at BlackatMichigan.com.

Articles and web sites mentioned in this episode:

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There are 3 ways to get in touch with us. Leave a comment to this post, call our voicemail number at 206-203-3983, or email us at addictedtorace@gmail.com.

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Please help us reach new listeners by voting for us on Podcast Alley, reviewing us on Yahoo’s podcast directory and reviewing us in iTunes.

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Duration - 41:30
File Size - 38.1 MB
Right-click here to download an MP3 of Addicted to Race Episode 71
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Recommended Reading

by Race in the Workplace special correspondent Erica

Letter to new graduates. And how about a braided career? - Brazen Careerist
“The best way to make sure you will have time and money to create the life you want is to have what I am going to start calling a braided career. Intertwine the needs of the people you love, with the work you are doing, and the work you are planning to do, when it’s time for a switch.” It doesn’t have to be scary to change your job situation. It doesn’t have to be scary to change your job situation frequently.

For the Chronically Late, It’s Not a Power Trip - New York Times
People who are always late probably aren’t doing it on purpose. And unless your job is on a strict schedule, it probably doesn’t really matter. Unless you’re pissing off your co-workers by being late to all your meetings.

Essay 4008 - MultiCultClassics
In response to the announcement of the Inaugural AdColor Awards to Recognize Outstanding Achievements of Diverse Professionals in the Advertising, Marketing and Media Industries: “Well, it’s certainly historic for organizations that have consistently failed in their diversity initiatives to suddenly team up to tackle the issues. Call it a case of the colorblind leading the colorblind.”

Southern Men and Baseball: Professor Timmerman ’s Study of Batters Hit By Pitches - Bob Sutton
The article is about the Southern “culture of honor” as demonstrated through pitchers’ patterns of hitting batters. In short, a Southern pitcher is more likely to hit a batter if the guy before him hit a home run or a if the guy hit a home run his last time up because he’s defending his team’s honor. Unless the batter is black. The author of the study hypothesizes it’s because the pitcher was either hyper-sensitive about appearing racist or was afraid of the black guy. Translates well to workplace interactions and retaliation, I think.

What Works In Women’s Networks - Businessweek
Profiles of successful corporate women’s networks at GE, Best Buy, and Deloitte. (via the Boston Globe Job Blog)

GE In-Houser Files Discrimination Suit Against Company - WSJ.com Law Blog
Conversely, a (female) top legal executive at GE has filed a class action lawsuit against the company claiming gender discrimination on behalf of 1500 female executives and an unknown number of non-executive female attorneys. (via Workplace Prof Blog)

Recommended Reading is a weekly feature where we link to some of our favorite workplace-related blog posts and articles. If you would like to suggest a link to Erica, please email tips@raceintheworkplace.com

Two workplace-related blog carnivals

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

There are two great blog carnivals for you to check out.

The latest edition of the Carnival of the Capitalists is up on Spooky Action.

Be sure to read Wally Bock’s post, Addicted to Praise. It’s a fascinating look at how the high levels of protection and praise received by the millenial generation has either good or bad consequences, depending on who you ask:

They have lower rates of just about every destructive set of behavior that you can imagine, including crime, teenage pregnancy, and drug abuse. On the plus side, they volunteer time to charitable causes. The Points of Light Foundation reports that the number of people aged 16 to 24 who volunteer 100 or more hours a year has risen nearly 18 percent since 2002 according to Census data.

This is a hard working generation, but they are showing up at your workplace with a high need for praise, an expectation for rewards, and not much experience dealing with negative feedback. That presents a challenge and, predictably, there have been some bizarre responses.

Also head on over to The Organic Leadership Blog to read the latest edition of the Carnival of Leadership Growth.

I particularly enjoyed John Wesley’s Why the 9 to 5 Office Worker Will Become a Thing of the Past and Debra Moorhead’s 16 Aspects I Appreciate about People Who Disagree with Me.

Thanks to Spooky Action and The Organic Leadership Blog for including my post on why diversity training doesn’t work!

Addicted to Race 70: Michelle Obama

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

addicted to raceA brand-new episode (No. 70) of Addicted to Race is out! Addicted to Race is New Demographic’s weekly podcast about America’s obsession with race.

Carmen and Sylvia discuss how race, gender and feminism are intersecting in some of the recent media coverage about Michelle Obama, wife of presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Guest co-host Sylvia is a pseudonymous blogger in Baltimore, MD. She is currently a law student, and she writes about a variety of issues, including race and gender, human rights, and pop culture at The Anti-Essentialist Conundrum. She also blogs at AfroSpear, a newly formed online think tank devoted to developing solutions and to discussing issues related to the African Diaspora.

Articles and web sites mentioned in this episode:

SUBMIT YOUR FEEDBACK!
There are 3 ways to get in touch with us. Leave a comment to this post, call our voicemail number at 206-203-3983, or email us at addictedtorace@gmail.com.

HELP US SPREAD THE WORD!
Please help us reach new listeners by voting for us on Podcast Alley, reviewing us on Yahoo’s podcast directory and reviewing us in iTunes.

NEW TO PODCASTS?
Check out this great introduction for the new podcast listener from iTunes. It breaks down all the different ways you can find podcasts, listen to them, subscribe to them, and so on.

Duration - 1:00:00
File Size - 56.9 MB
Right-click here to download an MP3 of Addicted to Race Episode 70
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Click here to never miss an episode by subscribing to us in iTunes
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Recommended Reading

by Race in the Workplace special correspondent Erica

Justices Limit Discrimination Suits Over Pay - New York Times
This was the big story last week. “The court held today that employees may not bring suit under the principal federal anti-discrimination law unless they have filed a formal complaint with a federal agency within 180 days after their pay was set. The timeline applies, according to the decision, even if the effects of the initial discriminatory act were not immediately apparent to the worker and even if they continue to the present day.” “Under its longstanding interpretation of the statute, the [EEOC] actively supported the plaintiff, Lilly M. Ledbetter, in the lower courts. But after the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case last June, the Bush administration disavowed the agency’s position and filed a brief on the side of the employer.” All emphasis mine. I agree that the EEOC’s claim that discrimination occurs each time a person receives their biased paycheck is dubious, but the 180-day time limit is ridiculous.

Pay Discrimination Begins With Bias, Is Abetted by Pay Secrecy - Work in Progress
Lisa Takeuchi Cullen looks more at the pay secrecy aspect of the case. Namely, that bias in compensation stems from discrimination and you often can’t tell if you’re being discriminated against if you’re unaware that the pay gap even exists. Good discussion in the comments. Justice Ginsberg’s dissenting opinion is based on this issue.

Make sure company’s hires and fliers reflect its desire for diversity - The Boston Globe
As someone who has at times searched for a job, I wholeheartedly agree that I look for that projection of a diversity-valuing image and it does influence my perception of a company. But it’s a fine line, because as one of a few minorities in my current company, I’m also sensitive to being hand-picked to be in the poster. Also in that article is a Q&A about how to handle culturally (possibly unintentionally) insensitive language which reminds me of the white manager at work who always throws the fake gang sign to me and the two other black people at work. (Thx, Tereza!)

Why Minorities Hold Few Top Spots in Corporate America - exduco.net Graduate Schools and Programs Guide
“In fact, social psychologists’ research shows that Hispanics form the largest nonwhite population group and are the fastest growing, while Asian Americans have best education and job credentials, the two groups are least represented in top jobs, [researcher Clayton] Rose said. He cited organizational theory by social psychologists, which shows that ‘race gets in the way’ of work group performance because of such issues as cohesion, integration, conflict, turnover, and attachment. ‘It’s particularly problematic for whites, who really try to opt out of these racially mixed groups,’ Rose said.” (Thx, Tereza!)

Black Faculty in Higher Education: Still Only a Drop in the Bucket - The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education
“Overall, it appears that results largely depend on whether the faculties that control hiring at particular universities have a strong commitment to developing a racially diverse teaching corps. Much depends, too, on who has the power to hire faculty. At most prestigious universities the authority to engage faculty tends to be lodged in the departments concerned. University presidents and deans have little or no say in the hiring process. At best they can cajole members of the various departments involved or provide monetary incentives to hire black scholars…. Faculty departments traditionally explain their poor performance on the grounds that there are no qualified African Americans in the Ph.D. pipeline. But the fact that many of our great universities have been highly successful in recruiting African-American faculty tends to show that the ‘no blacks in the Ph.D. pipeline’ thesis is at worst a red herring and at best a weak explanation for poor results.” (via Workplace Blog)

JB Fuqua and the Trappings of Success - Do You Need Them? - Businesspundit
“I wonder if it would make a difference if I showed up in a shiny BMW. Knowing my age, what I make, and my financial situation, I tend to be a skeptic when I see people in flashy clothes and cars, assuming it’s all debt that will come back to bite them. Or is it an investment? Is it an investment in social perception? This is the issue I struggle with sometimes. Does the image of success actually drive success? Does it influence others enough to make it worthwhile?” And I’ll add the question of whether or not minorities feel added pressure to look good to shore up the perception that their work doesn’t already speak for itself.

Race as disability - The Gimp Parade
A white man and his Dominican wife conceived via in-vitro fertilization, and the baby came out darker than either of them. “And because the wrongful life suit (rejected by the judge) on Jessica’s behalf claims she will suffer physical and emotional stress from having darker skin than her family, race is made here to be a kind of disability. Disability, after all, is not only about actual impairments, but also perceived impairments — the ADA recognizes this fact of the social stigma of disability.”

Recommended Reading is a weekly feature where we link to some of our favorite workplace-related blog posts and articles. If you would like to suggest a link to Erica, please email tips@raceintheworkplace.com

Watercooler: all cleaning people are named Consuela

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Watercooler is the section of the blog in which we share with you real-life horror stories from the frontlines of race in the workplace. :) This week, we have another story from Sullie:

When the office I work in relocated to a new space, the owners decided they wanted to hire a cleaning service for one night a week. The general manager of the service (an older white man) came in to present the details and pricing of the service, and set up a walk-through before the weekly appointment would begin. On the day of the walk-through, the crew supervisor (a black woman) brought the cleaning crew in to survey the office, explain what they would be doing, and pick up keys. I personally met the crew, as did one of the owners, I’ll call him R. I briefly spoke with them and showed them around the office, while R gave the keys to their supervisor. All went well, everyone was friendly to each other, and the appointment was scheduled for Thursday nights.

One member of my office’s staff (a young white woman, I’ll call her F) decided she didn’t want the cleaning people touching her desk, so she would leave a post-it on it to let them know to leave it alone. She wondered aloud if she should address it to Consuela, which then became the de-facto name of the cleaning service. Every Thursday, someone would remind the rest of the office that “Consuela is coming tonight.” sometimes F would reply “Si!” or wonder if she should write her “keep off” note in Spanish to make sure they could read it. Never mind that the crew is made up of a black woman, Latino men (who speak English), and a white woman; I guess everyone who works in the cleaning business is a Latino woman by default in a racist’s world. This nonsense is still taking place, in fact, it probably will be happening in a few hours, as it’s Thursday today.

You’ll probably know where we’re going when I tell you that R’s ipod went missing one day. I heard him wondering where it was on Tuesday; he called his gym, cleaned out his car, and was going through his desk drawers looking for it. He mentioned to me that he couldn’t find it, then a few hours later he told F. that “Consuela probably stole it.” (Completely disregarding the fact that the cleaning service comes in on Thursday nights, he had his ipod all weekend, and lost it on Monday or Tuesday.) F agreed, but then added that Consuela probably didn’t have a computer to use an ipod with, so she probably sold it or gave it away. A few hours later, R found the ipod in his bag, but never corrected himself for his baseless accusation of the cleaning service, and will still warm people to put things away that they’re afraid Consuela will steal.

I seriously don’t know how I make it thorough the day without having blow-outs with these people; their level of stupidity amazes me. Suffice to say, I’m on the hunt for greener pastures, because working with them everyday is just increasing my stress and anger levels to an unhealthy elevation. Thankfully, a co-worker of mine is just as shocked at the stuff that these people say, so I do have an ally in the office, which is a huge help. Unfortunately, I’ll be able to keep sending you stories until I’m out of here, as racism, sexism, and homophobia seem to run rampant and show up on a daily basis at this office…

Please email team@raceintheworkplace.com if you’d like to send in a story, put “watercooler” in the subject line, and let us know what name we should use for you. Pseudonyms and first names are totally fine. You can read more Watercooler stories here.

What do you get if you google the word interracial?

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Well, the #1 search result is not safe for work, that’s for sure.

So the question is: why are people so fascinated by interracial sex?

Let me tell you a quick story.

I was at a conference a couple of years ago and during one of the breaks, a man came up to me and started chatting.

“What are you speaking about today?” he asked, since my nametag identified me as one of the featured speakers at the conference.

“Interracial relationships,” I replied.

As soon as the words came out of my mouth, his whole manner changed. Instead of being polite and respectful, he started leering and smirking.

“Is this based on personal experience?” he asked in a low, suggestive tone.

Actually my workshop was all about debunking myths and ripping apart stereotypes. But the minute he heard me say the word “interracial,” all he could think about was sex.

Why are people so fascinated by interracial sex?

I answer this question and many others in my audio seminar, “Not Just Fetishists and Race Traitors: Challenging the Ways We View Interracial Relationships.

Order it today:
http://www.newdemographic.com/IR.htm

If you decide the seminar didn’t provide you with the insight you were looking for, you can contact me within 56 days and I’d be happy to refund you 100% of the cost.

Warmly,

Carmen

PS: Don’t worry, the audio seminar costs less than your weekly Starbucks habit. :)

PPS: If you prefer text to audio, you can order the e-book instead. It’s a PDF file that you can either read on the screen or print out and take with you.

Recommended Reading

by Race in the Workplace special correspondent Erica

results-oriented work and the pareto principle - 8 hours & a lunch
Down with busy work! “too many organizations (and too many leaders) focus on the amount of work being done and the amount of hours being worked. it’s not about either one of those things. it’s about results. get clear about the results you’re looking for and then do the things that support those results. that’s what you’re paying people for — results.” My company doesn’t do this and I have a hard time imagining they ever would. But I sometimes take the liberty of telling myself I’ve certainly accomplished enough for one day and cut out a little early.

Blogging Policy - Evil HR Lady
Evil HR Lady ponders what’s happened to several of her favorite bloggers who appear to have disappeared from blogging. She suspects it’s because blogging became incompatible with events in their real lives and talks about whether one should be/stay anonymous.

Immigration Reform - The Monster Blog
A recap of the proposed immigration reform bill and what it means for employers.

Don’t Be Afraid to Challenge Authority or Jump the Chain-of-Command! - The Black Factor
What to do if the co-worker you’re having a problem with is your supervisor or manager. My question is what do you do if the person you have a problem with is your HR director (completely hypothetically speaking, of course…).

Enforcement Guidance: Unlawful Disparate Treatment of Workers with Caregiving Responsibilities - EEOC
Including sections like “Unlawful Gender Role Stereotyping of Working Women,” “Pregnancy Discrimination”, and “Discrimination Against Women of Color.” See also: EEOC’s Q&A on the subject. (via Strategic HR Lawyer)

Congress Passes Increase in the Minimum Wage - New York Times
The increase from $5.15 to $7.25 will be phased in over two years. Workplace Prof Blog wonders why this bill could only get through tacked onto an Iraq spending bill and not as a standalone bill.

Recommended Reading is a weekly feature where we link to some of our favorite workplace-related blog posts and articles. If you would like to suggest a link to Erica, please email tips@raceintheworkplace.com

Carnival of Human Resources is up!

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Go check it out at Debra Owen’s blog, 8 hours & a lunch. The Carnival of Human Resources, published twice a month, is a collection of blog posts on topics related to human resources, business and training. This brainchild of Evil HR Lady aims to get more people blogging and/or reading about these topics, but it’s also a great way to get new readers for your blog.

My favorite posts from this edition are:

the point of a cover letter from the blog Ask a Manager. Here were a couple of the excellent tips in this post:

* If something makes you especially well-suited for the job aside from your resume, the cover letter is the place to mention it. Maybe the position requires an inordinate degree of meticulousness and you constantly get teased for being anal retentive about details. Great! Mention it or I won’t know.

* If you know you’re overqualified but you don’t mind, say so in your cover letter. Otherwise I’ll figure that you don’t understand the nature of the position and won’t want to waste my time or yours.

My p-r-o-m-o-t-i-o-n becomes final today from the blog Three Star Leadership:

You were probably promoted for the wrong reasons. Most companies do a lousy job of promoting people. You were probably promoted because you were a good worker that people liked. It’s a good bet nobody evaluated whether you like to help others succeed, whether you were willing to be accountable for the actions of others, whether you can make decisions or whether you’re comfortable confronting people about behavior and performance.

There are lots more great posts in the Carnival, so head on over to check it out!

Diversity training doesn’t work. Here’s why.

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

“Diversity training.”

What comes to your mind when you read those words?

a) Listening to boring speakers who use meaningless buzzwords like “cultural competence” and “tolerance.”

b) Participating in awkward workshop exercises. Privilege walk, anyone?

c) Learning painfully obvious things, like “racism is bad.” As if you didn’t already know that.

d) All of the above.

It’s no wonder diversity fatigue is sweeping across America.

The truth is, I believe that most diversity training doesn’t work.

Why not?

Because so many diversity trainers focus on all the wrong things, like:

  • Training people to hide their racism
    Yes, you read that correctly. Many diversity trainers don’t push people to challenge their own racist beliefs. Instead, the seminars teach people to be more aware of the non-verbal cues (the fancy word is “microinequities”) they send out that may tip others off to their racism. The philosophy is: hide your racism in order to create a more harmonious workplace.
  • Celebrating diversity
    It’s much easier to engage in feel-good, uncritical celebrations of diversity and multiculturalism than it is to tackle the complex issues surrounding race and racism. But focusing on “celebrating diversity” only encourages people to turn a blind eye to racism, and promotes the myth that we live in a happy-go-lucky, color-blind world.
  • Making people of color teach white people about racism
    Let’s face it: Most diversity trainers aim their messages at white people and treat the people of color in the room as teaching aides. There’s an unspoken assumption that only white folks need to learn about race and racism, and that everyone else should share their stories and experiences in order to help their white colleagues achieve anti-racist nirvana. This approach alienates people of color and makes white people feel angry and resentful. Racism is not just a white problem — we live in a racist society and all of us have absorbed these racist messages, whether we are conscious of them or not.

People are tired of tiptoeing around issues of race. They are tired of safe cultural tourism. They are tired of companies who know how to say the right things but can’t back up their words with action.

It’s time to go beyond diversity buzzwords and oppression olympics.

I’m putting forth a new framework for discussing race and racism. Will you join me?

Note: If you liked this post, please digg it so more people can discover it.

Recommended Reading

by Race in the Workplace special correspondent Erica

Do You Know Your Company’s Unspoken Rules? - All Things Workplace
You have to know both the corporate culture and individual personalities. How formal or casual should you be? How does word travel? Making the unspoken norms into spoken norms can help you make them work to your advantage and possibly help you work around them when they’re not in your favor. (via Gautam Ghosh - Management Consultant)

Why Minorities Distrust Employers’ Promotion Policies and Practices - Monster Career Advice
“‘Most companies don’t do a good job of articulating performance expectations, giving feedback or coaching employees’ career development — for any employee. This leaves all employees filling in the explanations for themselves. Many women and people of color fill in the gap with the explanation that bias must be involved because of their race or gender.’”

When You Have to Fire An Employee - Employee Handbooks
From the legal perspective. Be truthful, tactful, and careful. (via Strategic HR Lawyer)

Adapting to Adoptions - Life at Work
Parents who adopt don’t get nearly the amount of time off that parents who give birth do. In fact, they probably need more help because of the cost of adoption. They don’t have any money left over to support themselves through unpaid time off.

Arneson on What is Wrongful Discrimination? - Workplace Prof Blog
On “the concept of discrimination from a philosophical perspective.”

The Real Road to Green: Don’t Reduce, Distribute! - The Support Economy
The post addresses the obvious environmental benefit to telecommuting. I prefer to think of it in terms of how much happier I would be to have that commute time to myself, and how much more comfortable and productive I could be in the workspace of my choosing. But it alters a big part of today’s office environment which is face time and networking with co-workers at all levels.

Recommended Reading is a weekly feature where we link to some of our favorite workplace-related blog posts and articles. If you would like to suggest a link to Erica, please email tips@raceintheworkplace.com

Here it is: Carnival of Human Resources #7

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

The Carnival of Human Resources, published twice a month, is a collection of blog posts on topics related to human resources, business and training. This brainchild of Evil HR Lady aims to get more people blogging and/or reading about these topics, but it’s also a great way to get new readers for your blog.

Deb Owen is hosting the next Carnival on May 30th at 8 Hours & a lunch. If you’d like to submit a post, email your submissions to debra(dot)owen(at)insightbb(dot)comand put “Carnival” in the subject line.

Without further ado, here we go!

Performance management systems that don’t perform
Blog: Three Star Leadership
“If you want to improve the formal performance management system in your company, the answer is not to change the forms or increase the formal review frequency. But if you train your supervisors to give frequent and usable feedback as part of their everyday job, you’ll find that those formal reviews go much better.”

looking for a job: desperation is a turnoff
Blog: 8 Hours & a lunch.
“suddenly, i’m beginning to feel like i’m being stalked by someone i just broke up with. you know, the incessant phone calls and emails. the slight pleading tone that belies the confidence you’re trying to feign. and i’m getting a sneaking suspicion that if we let you in the door, we will never be rid of you. ever. i’m also getting a sneaking feeling that hiring you would be hiring someone high maintenance.”

Rehire
Blog: Evil HR Lady
Question from a reader: “I was terminated from a job approximately 6 years ago. This company has a no rehire policy, but Id like to apply again anyways. From what I was told, this company has a 6 year retention policy for employee files/records. I’m not sure how that process works. My question is, would it be possible for me to get back in without them knowing I was a previous employee since it has been six years since I was last employed there?”

Who Owns Reference Checking?
Blog: About.com Human Resources
“Reference checking is often relegated to Human Resources in organizations. In my mind, that’s not who should own reference checking. The manager of the position should check the employment references.”

Job Search Strategies - For Candidates
Blog: Business Toolkit - The “Biz” Toolkit
“As an HR consultant (and having sat at the table at the other side for thousands of interviews) and in my career coaching work, I often receive a number of inquiries regarding tips for job search and interviewing. Today’s post, and likely a couple of subsequent posts, will focus on interviewing tips for candidates.”

How to quit your job

Blog: Fortify Your Oasis
“Keep it clean, quick and unequivocal. Assertiveness is your friend here - don’t get all apologetic and, no matter how much your creep of a boss deserves it, don’t start listing the catalogue of reasons you have for wanting to leave. State the situation, agree your departure date, agree your reference, shake hands and get out of the boss’s office.”

Talent Management is Hard
Blog: TO’B HR Blog
“My experience selling TM is instructive. The conversations usually start with “we want to automate our performance review process”. Great - relatively easy to do - and clearly within the span of HR to implement and control. But what happens next is not so easy to do.”

Employee Selection - Are You Gambling at Work?
Blog: The Rainmaker Group
“Gambling is alive and well in the modern work environment! It’s amazing how many organizations gamble at work by not using advanced hiring techniques that could save resources and future headaches.”

Recommended Reading

by Race in the Workplace special correspondent Erica

A decade of race-blind admissions at Cal - Boston.com
Has it really been that long already? Numbers of blacks and hispanics in the University of California system have rebounded after the initial drop off, but shifted away from Berkeley and UCLA to the other campuses, and still are not keeping pace with the high school graduation rate. Article includes lots of blather from Ward Connerly. (via Workplace Blog)

Corporate Diversity Programs Aim Involve White Males as Leaders - CareerJournal The article suggests white men take diversity issues more seriously when they’re presented by a white man. I suppose being a white male doesn’t necessarily preclude one from being knowledgeable about and invested in diversity initiatives. (via Workplace Prof Blog)

Don’t Let Whites In The Workplace Tell You How You Should Feel! - The Black Factor
“You shouldn’t feel that way.” “Don’t be so sensitive.” Put these in that category of things that I keep thinking that people don’t say anymore, but they still do. Don’t discount your feelings, and bone up on the company’s policies.

‘Tearing Down the Gates’ - Inside Higher Ed
Q & A with Peter Sacks on his new book, Tearing Down the Gates: Confronting the Class Divide in American Education. (via Workplace Blog)

What the jargon you use reveals about you - Brazen Careerist
I hate corporate-speak with a passion and I try to make a point not to use it, even though many people around me do. It’s entirely possible to get your point across without resorting to the phrase of the week. Penelope Trunk translates some of the most common jargon you hear and the commenters include some of their own favorites.

Recommended Reading is a weekly feature where we link to some of our favorite workplace-related blog posts and articles. If you would like to suggest a link to Erica, please email tips@raceintheworkplace.com