Ernest Owens is a gay black journalist who writes for Philly Magazine. About a week ago, the millennial journalist wrote an article entitled “Diversity Isn’t “Being in the Room” — It’s Whites Giving Up Their Seats”. While his opinion is a bit extreme, it is a gateway into the growing world of business and explains the divisive nature of our nation.
For Owens, there is a fixed amount of positions of power. In his opinion, in order for diversity to truly matter, white influence must decrease in order to give a voice to people of color. I don’t agree with this. To me, America, and the world are ever changing and this includes power structures. There is a statistic out there estimating that half of the Fortune 500 companies will not exist in 20 – 30 years. While it is true, if we ONLY look at race, the power structure abnormally favors whites, there is more than enough opportunity out there to succeed and amass power.
Every group has enough purchasing power to change their status. Today’s issue isn’t necessarily opportunities but education. I’ve mentioned multiple times that when interning on Wall Street, I had not clue what things such as investment banking was until I got there. While unfortunate, it is a clear indicator that there is a gap in opportunity education for minorities. This lack of education leads to a perception that there is no opportunity available for minorities, which is a misnomer.
Fortune and power favor the bold, and currently blacks and Hispanics have not been bold enough to create structures that favor them. Of course exceptions exist, but in a general sense I am right. Diversity and the growth of influence for minorities doesn’t necessarily have to be hindered by current white power structures. Consider the fact that 40 years ago Silicon Valley didn’t exist. Now it is one of the most profitable industries in the world.
Influence and power for whites is substantial but it is not as simple as a fixed or 100% pie breakdown. Power is ever changing, even in a company and if minorities are looking to establish themselves then, like Silicon Valley, alternative means must be created and it has to be understood that alternative means is not an unusual method.
Be creative and power will come.