Addicted to Race 68: Imus, hip hop, “queer

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

addicted to raceA brand-new episode (No. 68) of Addicted to Race is out! Addicted to Race is New Demographic’s weekly podcast about America’s obsession with race.

This is an all listener audio comment episode:

  • Frances shares her thoughts on the Don Imus controversy
  • Jeff weighs in on misogyny in hip hop
  • ME discusses the word “queer”
  • Tereza responds to our episode on white people and hip hop

How to build your personal brand

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

What do people say about you when you’re not in the room? If you don’t know, it could hinder your career opportunities. Whether we like it or not, each of us has a personal brand. The question is: is your brand what you want it to be?

Here’s an interview I did with Mitch Joel, who speaks frequently on this topic. Mitch and I know each other because we run in the same geeky circles. :) I listen regularly to his podcast, Six Pixels of Separation (will launch iTunes). And he knows me because I’m a frequent commenter to another podcast called For Immediate Release. Here’s more about Mitch and be sure to check out his blog:

Marketing Magazine dubbed him, “Canada’s Rock Star of Digital Marketing” and in 2006 he was named one of the most influential authorities on Blog Marketing in the world. Mitch Joel is President of Twist Image – an award-winning Digital Marketing agency based in Montreal, Quebec. Joel speaks frequently to diverse groups like The Power Within and Canadian Marketing Association, and has shared the stage with former President of the United States, Bill Clinton, Anthony Robbins and Dr. Phil. Joel is frequently called upon to be a subject matter expert for national media outlets. He is presently writing his first book, Six Pixels of Separation – How Marketing Connects in a World Where We’re All Connected.

One of the topics you speak about frequently is the idea of personal branding. What is a personal brand and what can it do for you?

There are two ways that I like to explain it… And I do so by using what others have said. Chris Anderson, who is the Editor of Wired magazine and the author of The Long Tail, recently said that “your brand isn’t what you say it is… It’s what Google says it is.” The other quote is from Jeff Bezos (the founder of Amazon.com). He says, “your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” I know they’re talking here about brands in general, but this applies to personal brands as well. The idea of personal branding is simply the experience people have and their cumulative perception of you. It’s really everything that makes you “you” and how that’s communicated and connected to the people you touch in your day-to-day life.

Can you give us some examples of people whom you think have developed compelling and effective personal brands?

The easy ones are the celebrities and politicians of the world. People like Oprah, Bono, Bill Clinton, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Ali, etc… But those don’t really excite me because they can be somewhat aspirational. I don’t think the average person can deconstruct a “star’s” personal brand and make it work for them… It seems unattainable.

That being said, there are tons of ordinary people doing extraordinary things to build their personal brand. Look at George Masters. He produced and published his own iPod mini ad a few years back and got tons of publicity. He’s since gone on to quit his former job and now works in motion graphics - what was once a passion, became his profession. He understood the power of understanding your personal brand, how it connects to individuals and how to make it connect to many people. Just look around your work or within your community, you’ll be able to identify compelling and effective personal brands at every turn.

How can one get started in building a personal brand?

You need to embrace the fact that you can’t “get started” - it’s too late. I tell people the toothpaste is out of the tube. You personal brand “is.” The reality, for most, is that they’ve spent no time understanding it or developing it. If you’re not working on your personal brand, everyone else has already built it for you. So let’s all agree that now you need to further develop your personal brand to make it as effective as possible for yourself. Three simple things you can do is:

1. Define your values, goals and beliefs.
Don’t be fake - be who you are. Define that and see if you’re “connected” to others who are like-minded or congruous to what you stand for.

2. Connect to others.
You don’t have to go to Chamber of Commerce networking event to network. Just get to know the people you are surrounded with, listen to them and help them achieve their goals. Zig Ziglar always says, “you can have everything you want in life if you just help enough people get what they want.” Connect to your community, give abundantly and believe in the notion of “giver’s gain.”

3. Leverage the Internet.
Find communities and conversations about the stuff that interests you and leverage it. Join in. Meet people and connect because you’re passionate about the topic. How did you and I meet, Carmen? Through this exact channel :)

There are obviously, many layers to each of these. But those are a good place to start. Continue Reading »

Submit a post to the Carnival of Human Resources

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Susan M. Heathfield at About.com’s Human Resources Blog is currently hosting the 6th Carnival of Human Resources.

The Carnival, published twice a month, is a collection of blog posts on topics related to human resources, business and training. The idea is 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.

Race in the Workplace will be hosting the next Carnival on May 16th. Please email your submissions to team@raceintheworkplace.com and put “Carnival” in the subject line. One submission per blogger please. I look forward to hearing from all of you! :)

Watercooler: black = stupid?

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 Sullie:

Some background: I work at a company run by middle-aged white men; the employees are also white, are women, and most of them are under 30.

This morning, the two meeting planners in the office were researching how to become certified meeting planners; to do so they need to join a professional meeting planners association. Not wanting to spend too much of the company’s money on membership fees, they were looking into various associations listed on an industry website to try to narrow down which might be the most cost effective one to join.

When they saw the Association of Black Meeting Planners, the young white employee remarked “Yeah! That is so me! Sign me up for that group!” to which her boss replied “Well, they probably are the cheapest one to join - but I can’t really understand why they have a professional association in the first place…”

Then the conversation turned to why there should not be organizations like that anyway, since “They are always the ones who want to be treated the same as everyone else. If I applied and they turned me down, I could just scream about racism too, right?”

The conversation ended with the boss informing the employee that if black people are taking any type of civil service exam, they are given more points then white people taking the same exam, just because they’re black. To which the employee replied “What because they’re stupid they get extra points? That’s so unfair! Stupid people are just stupid people!”

It wasn’t really my place to interject since I was in an adjacent office and just overhearing their conversation, but I did have to go hide in the bathroom to keep from piping up. Of course, she was on track with her classification of stupid people…if only she realized she was talking about herself…

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.

Racialicious! When Race and Pop Culture Collide

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

I’m excited to announce that New Demographic’s seminar, Racialicious! When Race and Pop Culture Collide, is now available in both audio seminar and e-book formats!

DESCRIPTION
From the neo-minstrelsy of Flavor of Love to the racial segregation on Survivor, from the race-swapping families on Black.White. to the fascination with interracial sex, from Gwen Stefani’s use of Harajuku girls as mute human props to Angelina Jolie’s obsession with international adoption, from Michael Richards’ lynching tirade to Rosie O’Donnell’s “ching chong” remarks, race and pop culture are colliding more now than ever before.

What does pop culture reveal about our attitudes toward race and racism? Does pop culture’s treatment of race help or harm discussions about race? As consumers of pop culture, what kinds of stereotypes and assumptions should we look out for?

AUDIO SEMINAR

Format: MP3 file that you can download, keep and play as many times as you like
Length:
42 minutes
Fee:
$29.99

E-BOOK

Format: Adobe Acrobat PDF file that you can either print out or read on the screen. You can also download the file and keep it forever.
Length:
14 pages
Fee:
$39.99

Please note:

  • Within 24 hours of the time you place your order, you will receive an email with a link to the MP3 (audio seminar) or PDF (e-book), which you can download and keep forever.
  • If you’d like to pay by credit card instead of PayPal, click one of the buttons above. When you get to the PayPal page, look in the lower left-hand corner where it says “Don’t have a PayPal account? No problem, continue checkout” and click the “Continue” button there.

Colour shouldn’t matter

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

One of our readers, Salina, spotted this ad on the blog I Believe in Adv:

“Tria. Colour shouldn’t matter.”

Student Organization Ethnic Discrimination Campaign

Agency: Volt, Stockholm, Sweden
Copywriter: Volt
Art Director: Volt
Account Supervisor: Volt
Advertiser’s Supervisor: Volt

Recommended Reading

by Race in the Workplace special correspondent Erica

I Was a Diversity Hire - TIME
The author of a TIME article on research on workplace diversity programs speaks about hearing a rumor that the guy who hired her led the company in minority hiring. “I’d never gotten anywhere at all on my connections, which is rightful, seeing as I had none. Why should I get somewhere on my race and gender? Moreover, why should someone else get an extra check in his Christmas stocking because of my race and gender?” The research showed that diversity training and networking had no effect, but mentorship did.

Women Make Less Than Men: 5 Things HR Needs to Do Right Now to End Pay Inequality - KnowHR Blog
Tuesday, April 24, was Equal Pay Day. Immediately equalize the salaries you’re offering and talk about it to anyone and everyone in the company. Keep it on the radar. Do not let anyone continue to perpetuate the discrepancy. Address it if your corporate culture is not amenable to it.

Enabling Women to truly choose - Cubically Challenged
Another take on the working vs stay at home issue for mothers, and why that’s the wrong way to frame it in the first place. From the point of view of workers in India.

Old Mike, new Christine - Los Angeles Times
A long time LA Times sportswriter on transitioning from male to female and coworkers’ reactions. All more positive than expected.

When You Meet an Imus - New York Times
Knowing how to respond gracefully when someone makes a borderline potentially offensive comment is difficult. When someone says to the only black guy in the elevator that he saw him on Oprah, I’d venture to say, “Yeah, and I called her a nappy-headed ho.” is not the way to do it.

The So-Called Perils of Job Hopping: Part 1 and Part 2 - The Black Factor
Weighing what you really would like to have in a job versus what you need to have to keep paying your bills. The Black Factor posits that job hopping counts less against white job candidates than it does against black job candidates and emphasizes that you can’t have that time you spent in your miserable job back. The company will go on without you, no matter what.

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: When money trumps racism

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 Ariella Drake:

I’m a white/Chinese Australian woman who looks mostly white, so I tend to hear all sorts of racism from white people who think they’re ’safe’. About five years ago, I worked for a rather large insurance company in their worker’s compensation claims department. Some of my job involved going out to workplaces to talk to employers about ongoing claims from injured workers.

One of our clients was a large manufacturing company that tended to employ mostly low-skilled immigrants, so their claims usually came from such employees. I was in a meeting with my supervisor, an underwriter and the contact for the organisation. These meetings tend to be rather a challenge, because the default attitude of employers when it comes to workplace injuries is that the injured workers are making it up and ‘milking the system’, particularly when it comes to non-white employees. This client, however, was particularly noxious. Not only did he generally ignore my answers to questions until my (male) supervisor practically repeated my answer (though I suspect that also had to do with the fact that I was in my late teens, which was rather unheard of in the position I held in the organisation, and generally led to older clients doubting my ability and knowledge), he felt the need to make racist comments about the injured workers whose claims we were discussing.

I was quite young at this point, and was still rather accepting of the idea that I should keep my mouth shut in the interests of retaining business for the company, but as the racist and derogatory comments escalated, particularly against Asian female employees, I couldn’t resist slotting in an comment about my own background when the opportunity presented itself. The client mostly toned down his comments after that, realising he wasn’t surrounded by ’safe’ whitefolks, though at the end of the meeting he still felt the need to make a joke about getting all the injured employees (he used racial slurs to refer to them) to lie down in the driveway as speedbumps as part of their restricted duties return-to-work program.

I was angry enough at having to sit through such a meeting, and I was actually quite shaken on the drive back. What I wasn’t expecting was my supervisor pulling me into a meeting room when we got back to the office to tell me that he thought my mentioning my background whilst the client was being openly racist was inappropriate and antagonistic, and could have cost the company business. I was shocked. I wasn’t really sure what to say in the meeting, but the more I look back on the incident, the more angry I feel. My supervisor was largely uninterested in how the client’s comments made me feel as a Asian woman (albeit one with light-skin privilege), and I realise now that the sick feeling in my stomach at the time was largely related to discovering that the company I worked for was so interested in money and ‘client relations’ that it was willing to overlook blatant and unapologetic racism and sexism from clients.

That wasn’t the reason I left the company, but it certainly made me less sad about leaving.

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.

Promoting diversity in American classical music

by Race in the Workplace special correspondent Adina Ba

Aaron Dworkin is the founder and president of the Sphinx Organization, a national non-profit founded in 1996 to overcome the dramatic racial inequalities in the field of classical music.

Today we have the opportunity to learn about the underrepresentation of Blacks and Latinos in the field of classical music and what Aaron’s organization has accomplished in its first 10 years. Also, if you are a public school teacher, check out the last question for tips that Aaron has given to inspire your students to become nationally competitive musicians.

In your experience as a performing musician, what have you noticed about diversity in classical music/orchestras?

Nationally, less than 4% of professional orchestras are comprised of Blacks and Latinos combined. This compares to over 15% within the population (for each group, with Hispanics now growing substantially). Additionally, growing up, I found myself to be either the only one or one in less than a handful of minorities playing in any orchestra, or in any musical setting (a classroom, concert hall as an audience member, a summer program, etc). This made me question why this is the case, and why there are no composers of color typically featured on any standard program, including ones I would perform myself.

It was not until my years at the University of Michigan that I discovered the substantial volumes of works by Black (and Latino) composers, and began to focus my degrees on the study of these tremendous works. I learned that there is a wealth of repertoire by minority composers, which merited attention, but hardly received any. I performed works by William Grant Still, David Baker, Noel da Costa, Roque Cordero, and others. I then began to look at what I can do in order to make others aware of this inequality and of what already exists in terms of the repertoire.

Thus was born the concept of a national competition for young Black and Latino string musicians, who would come together each year to showcase their talents and receive educational and professional development opportunities. I wanted this to be much more than a competition, as the building of a community was a very important aspect of the idea. I also wanted to bring to the forefront this incredible repertoire, to give it visibility and recognition, with the idea that some day, the repertoire by minority composers will become standard literature.

What is The Sphinx Organization and how has it developed diversity in American orchestras?

The Sphinx Organization is a national non-profit founded in 1996 to overcome the dramatic under representation of Blacks and Latinos in the field of classical music. As a violinist, I founded the organization to help overcome the cultural stereotype of classical music, and to encourage the participation of Blacks and Latinos in the field.

In the 10 year history of the organization, Sphinx has made the following impact:
-Over 45,000 students reached around the country
-Over 2 million individuals reached per year through national broadcasts
-Over $180,000 in quality instruments provided to young minority musicians
-Over $800,000 in prizes and scholarships
-Over 140 Laureate performances reaching over 150,000 in audiences

The name Sphinx was given to the organization to represent some of the founding principles that guided its conception. The Sphinx represents the historical and geographical source for many minorities and exemplifies the power, wisdom and persistence that we hope to instill in our participants. The Sphinx also constitutes a mystery, an enigma. Music shares this puzzling aspect, as it is born from the experiences and aspirations of the composer as well as the performer. Like the Sphinx, it is up to the beholder, the listener, to interpret and appreciate from the music what is ultimately a reflection of internal emotions and spiritual experiences. Continue Reading »

When you’re too honest during diversity training

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

I’ve always thought this scene, from Comedy Central’s show “Dog Bites Man,” was hilarious. Watch the diversity trainer’s face as the woman describes the dream she had. :)

Go read the 5th Carnival of Human Resources

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Head on over to Evil HR Lady to read the 5th installment of the Carnival of Human Resources. She was kind enough to include a post from Race in the Workplace.

The Carnival, published twice a month, is a collection of blog posts on topics related to human resources, business and training. The idea is 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.

The next Carnival will be held on May 2 and will be hosted by Susan Heathfield at About Human Resources. Email your submissions directly to her and put “Carnival” in the subject so she doesn’t miss it. One submission per blogger please.

Recommended Reading

by Race in the Workplace special correspondent Erica

Minority Workers Less Likely to Say Promotions Are Based on Merit - HR.BLR.com (Business & Legal Reports)
61.4% of all employees, 56.6% of Hispanic respondents, and 58.2% of black respondents said they thought their job performance was the main reason for their professional advancement. That doesn’t seem significant to me and speaks to larger issues: it’s as much who you know as what you know and there’s a systemic issue of lack of trust in one’s employer. (via Strategic HR Lawyer)

Paradox of Inclusion - Management Craft
There are two kinds of inclusion. There’s the politically correct kind where you make a show of inviting along a “representative” group to your meeting du jour and you “listen” to what they have to say and then go ahead and do what you were going to do anyway. Then there’s the kind where you actually listen to the voices of the people around you, even (and especially) when you might not agree with them.

Where Delivery Is a Mainstay, a Rebellion Over Pay - New York Times
Deliverymen in NYC, mostly Chinese immigrants, are protesting their working conditions, long hours, and meager pay. Unions are organizing, workers are getting locked out, and lawsuits are being filed.

Is It a Mistake to Be a Stay-at-Home Mother? - The Monster Blog
“[T]he more pressing question is not whether mothers should work (more than 70 percent of mothers with school-age children do), but how we can structure our society in a way to allow us to meet our caregiving needs. We, as men and women, bear some responsibility in that mandate, both to instill change within our organizations and within our own lives.” I’d like to see a discussion actually address this statement and go beyond “I stayed at home and it worked out for us” which further perpetuates the concept that you have to make a choice (and a sacrifice). Flex time, anyone?

LinkedIn and the Art of Avoiding an Asshole Boss - How to Change the World
How to get references on a potential boss. Guy Kawasaki suggests finding him/her on LinkedIn, seeing who they’re connected to, then asking these potential references a few questions. I appreciate the idea that you need to check out a potential employer as much as they’re checking you out. The comments on Guy’s post are mostly useless, but there are a few good constructive criticisms.

Churners and Churning - Generations@Work
Kids these days, the “Millennials,” are increasingly open to more global job opportunities. Which is good because that’s where the jobs are. The conflict is that younger folks are also a lot more likely to change jobs more frequently while employers and the government are looking to improve retention, which may be unrealistic given the nature of the current job market.

Wisdom and a Helping Hand - Amy Joyce at washingtonpost.com
On the importance of being a good mentor. The very large company I used to work for had very well-developed mentorship programs serving a variety of populations within the company. I participated in the “new minority employees” program and the “new technical employees” program. Mentors were very carefully screened and a lot of attention was paid to the matching process. These programs were crucial in my development there, and in my ultimate decision to leave, which I consider a testament to a good mentor/mentee relationship in that the best decision for me as a person was to not stay with the company, and my mentors were supportive of that.

How to ask for mentoring - Brazen Careerist
On the flip side of the mentoring relationship. Penelope Trunk emphasizes that it’s all in the approach. Ask good questions of your potential mentor. More importantly, don’t be afraid to ask in the first place.

Georgetown Gets Grant for Workplace Flexibility - Workplace Prof Blog
“Workplace Flexibility 2010 believes that social change occurs best through a combination of voluntary action and government action. The American workplace is a complex, constantly changing, and rich human environment. We believe the best policy approach to workplace flexibility therefore combines thoughtful and creative government regulation, robust voluntary and individualized efforts by employers and employees, and governmental support of innovative employer and employee efforts.” Outstanding!

Fear Of Firing - BusinessWeek
“How the threat of litigation is making companies skittish about axing problem workers.” There are several issues: Whether the employee really is an underperformer, whether or not they really are being discriminated against, and whether the company retaliates when they get wind of the discrimination allegation. Even the largest companies with the most rigorous policies and review processes get caught up in seemingly frivolous lawsuits.

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: The missing wedding invitation

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 Merq:

So there’s this guy, we’ll call him Frank, who is a first-generation Greek American. Now, Frank can only be described as a “special” kind of fellow… There are a million race-related stories involving him, but today I’m going to tell just one.

Our boss, Jim, is really the salt of the earth. Every one of his employees can list at least five instances where Jim has gone (far) above and (way) beyond his role as an employer to help resolve issues in their personal lives. It’s because of Jim that we are a surprisingly tight-knit team—an anomaly in our organization. So anyway…

Frank gets engaged, but he drops hints to suggest that he’d prefer that none of us show up to the wedding. Besides the larger Caucasian population of our small department, the group includes individuals of Nigerian (me), Egyptian, and Korean origin. But while many of us could care less about not being welcome at this wedding, I was more than a little disgusted at his refusal to invite our boss, Jim.

A little background on Jim and Frank: This man campaigned to the higher-ups to elevate Frank’s status from an internship to a high-ranking position within our department. This man got into heated arguments with said higher-ups when they refused to give Frank a raise. This man listened to Frank whine for hours on end whenever he argued with his fiancée (and they fought a lot), offering the best advice one could after 22 years of happy, stable married life. This man even went to Frank’s amateur league baseball games from time to time! The only problem was, this man was black. Continue Reading »

The HR department protects the company, not you

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Penelope Trunk is a career columnist at the Boston Globe and Yahoo Finance. Her syndicated column has run in more than 200 publications. Earlier, she was a software executive, and then she founded two companies. She has been through an IPO, an acquisition and a bankruptcy. Before that she played professional beach volleyball. Her forthcoming book is Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success (Warner, May 2007). Be sure to check out her excellent blog, Brazen Careerist.

One of the most compelling statements you make in your book is that the human resources department exists to protect the company, not the employees. Can you explain what you mean by that, and how people should adapt their behavior to match this reality?

Laws about discrimination seem to be there to protect employees, but in fact, they are laid out very clearly to guide companies so they will not be sued. Human resource departments exist, in a large part, to ensure that companies comply with the law. The people in the HR department work for the company. They are there to make sure the company is protected. In an instance where someone comes to HR and says they have experienced discrimination at work, HR does not represent the person who has suffered from discrimination. HR represents the company.

When you report a problem to human resources, you become a problem employee, the company immediately starts trying to defend itself from you, and the company has legal support and you don’t. It’s a losing battle, which is why most whistleblowers lose their job. Legally. Retaliation for whistle blowing is rampant and it’s very, very hard to prove in courts, especially since the HR departments are trained on how to retaliate within the constraints of the law.

If you’re at a company where there is a lot of discrimination, you should probably not bother trying to reform the place. Why jeopardize your career to make a terrible company good? Don’t bother helping them. Just leave. But if you at a company with a little bit of discrimination, you might consider staying. Because where have you ever been in this world where there is no discrimination? It’s a very tall order.

We all know that we have to pick our battles when it comes to discrimination in the workplace. The advice you gave about sexual harassment was incredibly practical and smart. In my opinion, it also has some relevance for people who may be experiencing racial discrimination. Can you explain how women can actually turn sexual harassment into a career booster?

A man who harasses a women (it’s almost always the men doing the harassing) actually gives up some of his power to that woman. For one thing, harassment is illegal, and even if you don’t report it, you can remind the guy that he is doing something that could cause him trouble. Do this not as a threat, but to subtly shift the power toward yourself. You are now doing him a favor by keeping quiet. He owes you a favor back.

So often the best way to change corporate America is from within: gain a foothold and then wield your power. To get power, you have to stay in the workforce, not the court system, and make yourself highly valued. Unfortunately, this means learning how to navigate a discriminatory system. But when you know the system, you then are clear about the root of its problems, and you know how to initiate change. Continue Reading »

Motivational video from Ernst & Young: Be happy or else!

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

Wow. Either this is a really, really good spoof or Ernst & Young needs to get some fresh ideas for employee motivation.

I especially enjoy the “break it down” bit that starts around the 1:45 mark. ;) It makes me want to hit the dancefloor! And then run back to my cubicle and amortize some capital expenditures!

Recommended Reading

by Race in the Workplace special correspondent Erica

I have a “great job,” lots of money, responsibility and respect. Why aren’t I happy? - Escape from Cubicle Nation
If your values and your current work situation don’t align, you probably won’t be happy. People spend a remarkable amount of time in jobs they don’t really like because they don’t recognize this or don’t do anything about it.

5 steps to let your dream job find you - Marketing Nirvana
These days, everyone has an online presence. Leverage that to establish yourself as knowledgeable in your field by blogging and participating online conversations on topics of interest. Then network like crazy, both online and off. Think LinkedIn, not myspace.

How Blogging Can Help You Get a New Job - WSJ.com
Remember: Your potential employer will probably Google you. Someone who has the power to offer you a job may come across your blog. This is where you show off your writing skills and passion on a subject. Doesn’t hurt to mention you’re job-hunting on your About page, either. On the flip side, they might not be impressed by your detailed account of how trashed you got last weekend.

Five ways to do better in phone interviews - Brazen Careerist
Pretending as if you’re actually doing the interview in person, even though it’s just over the phone, helps you project confidence.

What Your Body Is Telling an Interviewer - Career Hub
Some tips on what to do and what not to do. Basically, try not to look nervous and be attentive. Perhaps also useful for playing poker. I’m guilty of having a couple things on the What Not to Do list as regular nervous habits.

It’s Easy to Signal that Racist “Chatter” Isn’t a Big Deal! - The Black Factor
If you hear comments that are offensive, don’t let it slide. You can make your point effectively by simply getting up and walking away. I recently received a forwarded joke from a co-worker that was very anti-immigrant. I was offended but didn’t know what to say without getting into a whole to-do-da. I could have simply told them not to send me anymore jokes.

Do you need to be hip? - Management Craft
Managers and leaders need to be hip in the sense that they know what’s going on with the people that work for them. Especially when that means you’re keeping up with technology (like blogs, wikis, podcasts, etc.) that could potentially help your team work better.

Why Severance? - Evil HR Lady
Companies give out severance packages because it’s cheaper than being sued for wrongful termination (among other reasons). “Companies would prefer not to have to give out this money, but even one lawsuit can be very expensive as well as being a public relations nightmare. If you are in any protected class (minority, female, over 40, etc) getting you to go away happily is their biggest concern.”

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 67: Don Imus

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

addicted to raceA brand-new episode (No. 67) of Addicted to Race is out! Addicted to Race is New Demographic’s weekly podcast about America’s obsession with race.

Carmen and Yolanda Carrington discuss the recent Don Imus controversy, and how those of us who do anti-racist work can get our voices heard in the mainstream media.

Guest co-host Yolanda Carrington is a writer and activist, and the moderator of the blog The Primary Contradiction. Her primary focus is the intersection of gender, race, and class, and the struggles of people of color in white-dominated societies. Her subjects of interest include history, social change movements, popular culture, and the mass media.

SUBMIT YOUR FEEDBACK!
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Watercooler: When the chair of the anti-racism committee is a racist

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 V:

I work for a government agency which is charged with promoting community harmony and working to increase our city’s level of interracial trust. While i am an employee of the agency, we also have an extension arm of volunteers from the community who serve on a committee and actually do much of the leg-work. The Chair of the committee is an older white man from Baltimore who is prone to saying things like “Illegal Alien” at community immigration discussions, “China-man” or “Oriental” when discussing Yao Ming’s athletic ability, and waxed nostalgic during a luncheon about how the “A-rabs” used to sell goods on the streets of Baltimore when he was a lad.

Anyway, one day at work i discussed with him finding possible funding sources to help sponsor a study abroad trip to learn Spanish in an immersion program. While grilling me, an African American female, on why it is necessary for me to learn Spanish since we already have one Spanish speaker on staff, he also pointed out that my country of choice (Dominican Republic) sounded like i was tyring to get a work funded beach vacation.

As I stood there like an idiot trying to convince him that I was serious and not looking for a free vacation, the discussion turned to the benefits of immersion studies in terms of the cultural experience. To which he stated “Well if you want to know what it’s like to be an immigrant, I can call homeland security and tell them you’re a terrorist and have you deported. Of course they would have to send you to Africa, because you clearly don’t look Hispanic.”

I don’t remember much after that. The red veil of rage lowered and I went to my office to fume.

The thing that kills me about this guy is everyone knows he’s racist but yet and still he is the Charmian of a committee created by our local government to fight racism and discrimination.

Now, when i deal with him, i am quick to cut him short and point out his racism. Oddly enough, his impromptu visits to my office have dwindled significantly. Coincidence…?

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.

As “all-American” as apple pie?

by Carmen Van Kerckhove

The other day I was watching “The Agency,” an addictive new reality show on VH1 about the agents and models who work for Wilhelmina Models. The agents were pitching a new client, Bongo Jeans, and brought a few different models to the client to be considered for a new ad campaign.

I was struck by how many times the phrase “all-American” was used. The client kept saying that they were looking for a guy and a girl, both of whom had an “all-American look.” You can pretty much imagine what kind of phenotype they meant by “all-American.” (And if you can’t imagine, you can watch the episode here.)

The show reminded me of a job I had a few years ago.

I was one of the few people of color there. After about 6 months on the job, a new guy whom we’ll call Tommy Smith, referred by another employee, joined our department. He happened to be mixed like me, also Chinese and white.

A few months after that, another position opened up, so I emailed a friend of mine to ask if he’d be interested. He declined, since he had just started a job he was excited about, but he recommended a friend of his instead. We’ll call her Claire Jones.

Claire sounded like the perfect candidate for the position and I trusted my friend’s judgment, so I immediately passed her resume onto my boss, whom we’ll call Pat.

Then the following conversation happened.

Pat: So is Claire Jones also half Chinese?

Me: What? (Couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing.)

Pat: Is Claire also half Chinese, like you and Tommy?

Me: Um… not that I know of.

Pat: Oh she’s not half Chinese?

Me: Like I said, not that I know of.

Pat: Oh so she’s an all-American girl then?

There were so many things wrong with this exchange I couldn’t even wrap my head around it. Did Pat think we were all in on a secret plot to sneak in as many down-low Asians as possible with European last names? And could she have made it any more obvious that to her, “half Chinese” and “all-American” were mutually exclusive categories?

It seems to me that “all-American,” like “inner-city,” is one of those code words that people use when they don’t want to sound racist. But with or without the euphemism, I heard Pat loud and clear.

Oh and in case you’re wondering, Claire Jones did get hired. And it turned out that she was actually a down-low Asian too: a transracially adopted Korean-American woman. Sorry, Pat. I had no idea — really. ;)

Recommended Reading

by Race in the Workplace special correspondent Erica

Measuring the Gender Gap - New York Times
According to this study from Elle magazine and MSNBC.com, most women would still rather work for a man, most women still feel like they need to work harder than men to get the same recognition, and men are honing those “feminine skills” of listening and communication. Also in the article: the one occupation where it pays to be less attractive is babysitting (when it’s the mom that’s doing the hiring).

Too Busy to Notice You’re Too Busy - New York Times
Edward M. Hallowell’s new book, CrazyBusy: Overstretched, Overbooked and About to Snap, talks about our compulsive need to fill our time. In short, it’s our need to maintain control over the near-constant influx of information, even though we’re ultimately not in control of it at all if we’re constantly responding to it. I stopped in the middle of writing this paragraph to answer the e-mail ding and to Twitter something.

Discriminating Dress - Washington Post
A Muslim woman tells the story of her interviewers’ noticeable reaction to her head scarf. “General religious discrimination charges made up 1.9 percent of all charges filed in 1992, while they accounted for 3.1 percent in 2004, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The number of charges filed by Muslims alleging discrimination doubled from the four years before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to the four years after, according to David Grinberg, a spokesman with the EEOC.”

How We Grow Bullies and Bad People - Management Craft
Inspired by the Kathy Sierra cyberbullying situation. One way we, as a society, let this happen is by letting racist jokes go unchecked. More generally, we really enjoy our schadenfraude and let ourselves be entertained by things that we ought to be putting a stop to instead.

The Debate Heats Up - Generations@Work
Russ Eckel starts out with this question: “Are young people today more narcissistic and thus more likely to find it difficult to participate constructively in our society as they age?” He goes on to talk about how prejudices against minority youth confound the issue.

EEOC Initiative to Eradicate Racism - Strategic HR Lawyer
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is launching an initiative called E-RACE (Eradicating Racism And Colorism from Employment). According to the EEOC, 31% of Asian-Americans and 26% of African-Americans have reported witnessing or experiencing discrimination in the workplace.

Recruiting and Presenting Immigrant Candidates - The Desk of Yvonne LaRose, Consultant
Yvonne LaRose reflects on the topic of how so many people come to this country with big credentials and big dreams, and what they actually end up doing once they get here to get by.

Not enough visas? 150K Applications in One Day - WageSlave
150,000 H-1B visas for immigrants were allotted for 2008. They were all distributed within a day, in record time.

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.