Pamela Newkirk: Confronting the Reality of Racism in Corporate America

America was founded on principles of justice and equality. Yet, it has never lived up to these ideals in regards to how citizens of color are treated. The same can be said for many U.S. businesses, which, despite investing billions in ‘diversity and inclusion’ training programs, have also failed to truly diversify their workforces and leadership teams. Pamela Newkirk is an award-winning journalist, an NYU professor of journalism, and author of the critically-acclaimed book Diversity, Inc., which examines the efforts over the last 50 years to diversify the American workforce. She joins the podcast to talk about corporate America’s diversity problem, and why she believes we’re living in a “moment of reckoning” where we might be finally ready to confront the reality of racism and start fostering genuinely diverse workplaces.

Listen to this episode to learn:

  • A brief history of systemic racism in America, and why the nation is becoming “post-White,” which makes race more of an issue than ever
  • Why the everyday decisions made in our racially homogeneous worlds perpetuate the system of racism and injustice and denies opportunity to non-white people
  • Reasons why the most progressive industries like entertainment, academia, and fashion are the least diverse
  • How, after a 2000 landmark class-action discrimination lawsuit against Coca Cola, the company embarked on one of the most successful diversity transformations ever seen in corporate America
  • The delusion of the colorblind or post-race mindset that many progressives fell into after the election of Barack Obama
  • The reasons why diversity programs and mandatory anti-bias training in companies often do more harm than good
  • Why progress comes not from having more strategies for change, but rather the will to change
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