These NOTE5 are random thoughts & bookmarks, roughly organized by topic, that I use for reference and conversation starters. I publish them for easy sharing, with hope there’s some hidden value for a wider audience. The format is more newsfeed than article.
From Street Corner to Conference Room
I’ll keep repeating this connection. The narrative that drives diversity, equity & inclusion is the same narrative that drives fiery but mostly peaceful protests. It’s a victimhood narrative.
The #blacklivesmatter slogan spray painted on smoldering buildings and printed on corporate posters and featured in political campaigns doesn’t raise a question?
A majority of people, regardless of their identity or intersectional scorecard, don’t want to be treated as victims — to be labeled a “diversity hire” or “equity promotion” because they earned success in the midst of a political spasm.
Each of these stories has relevance that stretches across private, public, and professional life.
Black Residents Eject Ignorant, Out-of-Town Protesters
What if the presentation of consensus and permission to speak on behalf of groups and communities is unsettled? Here’s a largely ignored example of a community that appears to have invested in relationship-building between community leaders (incl. unelected & volunteer) and police. Outside protesters flooded Englewood over reports of an unarmed 15-year old being gunned down by police (it was actually an older guy with a gun who had fired on police — go figure).
What if this same overreach is being repeated in business? Tension, division and mistrust are practically unavoidable.
There’s no universal business playbook for this but consultants are selling one. Their leave-behinds are likely to be irreparable damage to once functional teams & orgs.
( more story/video from the same confrontation https://bit.ly/3g3aBoK — language NSFW)
“I’m Proud of You” — Kamala Harris to Jacob Blake. What?
What happened to #metoo #believewomen? Read the sickening prior complaint against Jacob Blake (by the mother of his 3 kids) and reason behind the 911 call. Leaders who fail to scrutinize and call out false narratives undermine themselves, their people, their organization, and any DE&I initiative however well-intentioned.
Police Chief Carmen Best Pushed Out
Seattle’s first Black, female police chief is stepping down after a march to her home, department cuts, personal pay cut, and unimaginable pressure. Remind me again who & what matters? Seattle police Chief Carmen Best says she will retire amid protests, City Council cuts
Hero Criminals and Evil Cops
#blacklivesmatter is owned by woke elites, mostly white. Change my mind.
Business leaders might be persuaded that signaling BLM support is the right thing to do. But everything here defies common sense. Here’s a simple if/then comparison:
IF: intoxicated, violent, criminal. THEN: hero/martyr, famous, newsworthy (Floyd, Blake, Prude)
IF: black, law enforcement, role model. THEN: enemy/villain, not famous, exiled (Best, Singletary, Hall – Seattle, Rochester, Dallas)
Never heard of these people? Perhaps because they don’t matter to media stooges, BLM, or to BLM’s majority-white handlers, financiers & protesters. These are all black police chiefs driven from their roles. James Craig, Detroit’s Chief of Police is in the crosshairs next.
Wasn’t this all about white police? These stories are all about black police chiefs and their departments being shouted out of office by white BLM clowns. Doesn’t there seem to be a disconnect here?
Inviting this into the workplace is a suicide mission for your people and business. “Starting a conversation” is a trendy thing to say at the moment. Here’s an important topic.
NEW: Is Warren Buffett the Wallet Behind Black Lives Matter? (Tablet Mag)
Random Acts of Violence
[Warning: violent] Collective blame is a 2-way street. Don’t be shocked when open support of BLM becomes a liability in your professional life.
Corporate race-hustlers come and go. The fictionalized 1619 Project will be a fuzzy stain on the NYT. Mining historical atrocities for a payday will fade. Video supercuts of violent episodes in American cities will remain for decades.
Whether you signed up for the violence or the slogan is irrelevant. Collective blame works how it works.
If there’s more to the story, it doesn’t matter. Most of the public will never look for or care about any backstory.
Search “Portland man beaten” if you don’t use Twitter.
“Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” Falls Down
July 2020: for the 3rd time an indictment in the Michael Brown/Ferguson case is declined. This time by St. Louis Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell, a Black Democrat.
The evidence doesn’t support the narrative. Ferguson was a crystalizing moment for BLM and does nothing but undermine the group’s increasingly misrepresented intentions.
Before signaling support for BLM (the group, not the idea) and trendy white fragility struggle sessions, business leaders need to ask some hard questions.
Popular narratives that buckle under scrutiny will divide and undermine corporate initiatives just as they do public discourse.
NEW: Michael Brown: the founding myth of Black Lives Matter (Spiked)
Cultural Appropriation and Performative Ignorance
Here’s a BLM freedom fighter shouting down Asian people for “stealing black culture once again!” She seems ignorant of the fact that bubble tea hails from TAIWAN.
Long a soft-weapon for internet crybabies, Yelp is now fully militarized for #blm 🤡 s to target any business. Good luck to already decimated hospitality and services industries.
Useful Junkies vs. Innocents We Ignore
What if we had video of 8 y/o Mikayla Pickett killed at a b-day party, 5 y/o Cannon Hinnant executed in front of his 2 sisters, or one of 38 children fatally shot in Chicago as of September this year? Not video of agitated, intoxicated adults provoking preventable escalation?
What if our “critical storytelling” and “amplifying marginalized voices” focused on dead children, burned & looted businesses, ransacked communities, and shattered lives that result from so-called peaceful protests.
What if we opened our eyes to see that “white allies” (aka useful idiots) get to walk away but the black population will shoulder the blame when BLM is done with them.
Would we still welcome the BLM hustle into our businesses and personal lives?
Fiery But Mostly Peaceful
“Fiery but mostly peaceful” riots in response to police shooting an “otherwise unarmed” man who only had a knife in the car and an arrest warrant for “one felony count of third-degree sexual assault and two misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing.
Wait, Word Matter, Right?
Ask About This In Your Anti-Bias Training
Here’s a question/exercise for your corporate white-people-bias trainer. How many unarmed black men were shot by police in 2020? How many unarmed black kids were shot in 2020? (hint: 9 nationally vs. 38 kids in Chicago alone YTD) It’s a great way to ‘start a conversation’ about an epidemic of violence.
Andrea Puerta Does Not Matter
I’m trying to determine the preferred identity of Andrea Puerta while we ignore her unprovoked attack. Can anyone help? Is she LatinX, Latina, White Hispanic? It’s critical that we call her the right thing as we go about the business of ensuring everyone’s feelings are validated.
Perhaps agreeing on Andrea’s classification can be turned into an anti-racist workshopping opportunity?
It’s hard to process and connect all of this noise, but it’s all connected. What we choose to permit, ignore, and support is where leadership happens, or doesn’t.
Thomas Irre is the founder of HK5, LLC and an advocate of analog transformation – a common sense approach to sustainable business transformation that emphasizes people & performance first, and arms them with a flexible technology arsenal that aligns to clear-cut business goals.