raceAhead: Call Your Special People


Yesterday, I chatted with Ellen about the essay I was planning to write before she signed off. She has a special knack for helping me incubate ideas. Everyone needs someone like her in their corner — she cheers me on, uses words like “genius” too generously, and leaves me with a sense of clarity.

I left for the day feeling excited at the prospect of checking in with the raceAhead crowd. But I didn’t know then that I was about to lose someone to cancer.

Instead of writing that essay, I’ve done what I’d tell anyone else in my position to do — accepted the help of colleagues and surrounded myself with family. I’ve found that, personally, it’s easier advice to give than to take.

If there’s a leadership lesson in this, it’s to be mindful of the example you set for others the next time you try to plow through a personal tragedy without missing a beat at work.

I’ll leave you with a link to CancerCare. There’s no obligation, of course. But it would be a special and beautiful thing if you found a local event, explored becoming a corporate partner, or helped bolster the organization’s hurricane relief fund.

I’ll turn it over to Grace Donnelly, who’s got some corporate diversity and inclusion news for you.

Hug and call your special people today.

Stacy Jones, Fortune Data Editor

On Point

30 Studies Over 25 Years Say Things Are Not Getting BetterWhen researchers studied how companies responded to applicants' resumes, they found white applicants were a third more likely to be called in for a first-round interview than their black counterparts. Here's an illuminating statistic about that statistic: This figure has remained consistent for the past 25 years. The longevity and consistency of this gap "points to deep-rooted bias in the U.S. labor market," the researchers write.The Wall Street Journal

The Race Gap in Silicon Valley Is Getting Worse
While the tech industry has made strides to narrow the gender gap, representation of racial minorities is actually declining despite diversity efforts. Data from 2007 to 2015 shows that people of color are being barred from a range of job opportunities in Silicon Valley, from entry-level positions all the way to the C-Suite. Representation of white women in leadership roles improved by 17% over the nine year period, but for black, latino, and Asian men and women, percentages declined across the board, according to research by the nonprofit Ascend Foundation, an organization that advocates for Asians in business. Asian tech employees, though the largest racial cohort in the industry, were the least likely to be promoted to manager or executive roles.
USA Today

The "Model Minority" Myth and Affirmative Action
Conservative activists, having failed to dismantle affirmative action through cases with white plaintiffs, are now arguing against the college admissions practice by asserting that Harvard discriminates against Asian Americans. The Justice Department claims that by providing admissions boosts to black and latino students, Asian American students are negatively affected. "The problem with this logic," Natasha Warikoo writes, "is that it assumes that the number of seats for white students — the majority in most schools — must remain constant, while Asian Americans and black and Latino applicants vie for the remaining slots."
PBS NewsHour

The Woke Leader

An Alphabet Start-Up Wants to Help Low-Income Americans Get Better Healthcare
Sidewalk Labs, the mysterious urban innovation group of Google parent company Alphabet, has spun out a start-up called Cityblock that aims to rethink health care. Cityblock plans to focus on preventative care and support services for low-income communities. "Nearly all innovation efforts have been focused on people with means," the startup's site reads.


I am not sugar and spice and everything nice. I am music, I am art. I am a story. I am a church bell, gonging out wrongs and rights and normal nights. I was baby. I am child. I will be mother. I don't mind being considered beautiful, I do not allow that to be my definition. I am a rich pie strong with knowledge. I will not be eaten.
— Unknown Third Grader

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