This is Part 1 of a two-part column on race in America. When I am wearing my business consultant’s hat, I provide corporate training for organizations that are trying to achieve peak performance so they can survive in today’s hyper-competitive global marketplace. In this capacity, I am often called on to present a seminar titled, “Leading Diverse Teams.” The main theme of this seminar is that business leaders must help their personnel learn to treat their colleagues on the job as individuals rather than as members of groups that are identified by factors that have no bearing on performance—factors such as race.
This is a difficult lesson to teach because until they get to know them as individuals people of all races have tendency to distrust others who appear on the surface to be different. You can imagine that my task is made even more difficult by the rules and practices promulgated by the federal government’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), rules that divide personnel in the workplace by race and gender from the moment they fill out an application for a job.
Fortunately, it is not difficult to help diverse people who work together find sufficient common ground to overcome any inherent suspicions they may initially harbor toward each other—provided, of course, business leaders do not handle the issue of race in the same way as the federal government and a number of prominent individuals who profit personally from stirring up racial discord. The behavior of some of these individuals who I have written about in previous columns at this site makes me think that America’s leaders—beginning with President Obama—need to attend my seminar on leading diverse groups. Then perhaps America can have some open and honest dialogue on the issue of race.
Those who fought and died to establish civil rights in America must roll over in their graves when they see how the term racism has been devalued today. During the civil rights movement of the 1960s, racists lynched black Americans, blew up churches killing little black girls, set snarling police dogs on black demonstrators, and assassinated black leaders. The perpetrators of these terrible crimes were, indeed, racists in the worst possible sense of the word. Unfortunately, since the 1960s, the term racism has come to be used to gain political advantage and to frighten away political opponents. As a result, a term that is supposed to describe a serious social problem in America, is being devalued to the point that it is losing its meaning.
For example, during the Obama administration liberals have devalued the concept of racism by referring to anyone of any race who disagrees with the president as a racist. Recently, the term has been devalued even further by liberals who refer to any successful black American who dares to profess conservative views as a racist. People who hypocritically and deceitfully misuse the term racism to gain political advantage or to bludgeon political opponents rather than engaging in open, honest, and frank dialogue on the issue only help perpetuate a concept that Americans should have long since put behind them.
Americans of any race who subscribe to the dream put into writing by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence and codified in the Constitution have more in common with each other than differences. All that is needed to bridge the racial divide in America is for leaders of all races to refuse to use race as a trump card for gaining political advantage and for misleaders to stop exploiting race for their own personal benefit. The racial divide in America will not be closed until leaders of all races who now claim to be ladder-day disciples of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. are willing to put what he advocated into practice: 1) non-violent dialogue, and 2) relating to people according to the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. (For a more in-depth treatment of this subject, refer to my book, RIGHT WING HANDBOOK: Demolishing Ten Lies of the Left, available at www.patriotdepot.com).