Flores and Black intangibles

The latest controversy regarding sports says something problematic about our society we are not a race-neutral society. Former coach Flores, a talented coach, was fired from his job. We then watched a dog and pony show of him interviewing for a new coaching job. Although he was qualified, the interviews were only to make the NFL look more inclusive. Flores was lucky that another coach gave up the game, and he kept notes showing us some level of collusion between NFL leadership. But that opens a familiar conversation. Our biases are evident every time we have this open conversation when Blacks are questioned and compared to their non-Black counterparts. Regardless of skill, talent, experience the first thing that popups up are intangibles that vary from job to job but all paint the picture of Blacks as less capable or intelligent. Unfortunately, this is something ingrained in our society.

So how can we fix this? I see this as a multipronged issue. Because our society and culture are stratified racially, economically, religiously, and socially many people have little interaction with people different from them. That lack of interaction makes it harder to recruit or hire people, not like you. There is a social capital white Americans and affluent Americans can tap into because they have similar values, and interact in the same circles, unlike other groups. The other issue is societal biases because people are not interacting with other groups they fall back on what they see. Because so many Blacks are seen in roles that require athletism but not intelligence, that propagates the stereotype. We have to tackle the root causes of education, integration, and stereotypes. Increasing education early on by adding phonics emphasizing math and science helps close achievement gaps in poor districts and helps low-income and minority school districts. The next thing is to have prominent Black Americans coach or advise others to give them access to the people they need to succeed.

These are minor fixes but increasing social capital and investments in our communities. Increasing the supply of talented Blacks and highlighting them helps match talent to jobs. The last step is the pressure we have to keep that up to ensure there is a demand for diversity and each conversation like this must pivot to that action. Sports is one facet of society but highlights underlying biases we as a society have not moved beyond. We all can be better!

(This is an old interview but still the prevailing narrative regarding race and hiring. You still have business roundtable members and leaders like Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan, Dan Gilbert of Rocket Mortgage, and others saying the same)



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