Human resource- diversity in workforce
Mary works for a nonprofit agency that provides technical assistance to small business owners. The mission of the agency is to help low-income people, women, and people of color start or grow their businesses. The agency has been very successful in reaching out to low-income and women business owners, but is less successful in serving communities of color. Few people of color know about the agency or apply for assistance through its programs.
One day, two well-dressed, articulate African American men, Philip and John, visit the agency seeking assistance in starting up a new business. Both men are well educated; John has a master’s degree, and Philip has a doctorate. They are employed as engineers at a large, highly respected local company. Mary and her supervisor, a white man, meet with the men and determine that the agency will be able to help them start up their business.
Later that week, Mary’s supervisor laments the fact that the agency has not been successful in reaching out to people of color. Mary says, “Don’t forget about Philip and John. Maybe they can give us some advice about how to do a better job of marketing to African American business owners.” Mary’s supervisor laughs and replies, “Those guys aren’t black! They’re two white guys pretending to be black!” Consider the following questions in your response.
1. What are the implications of the supervisor’s comment?
2. How would this be different if, like Philip and John, the supervisor was African American?
3. How do stereotypes of this nature affect African Americans?
4. If you were Mary, how would you respond to this comment?