23 October 2006

Race and Performance

Watch baseball this week and note how varied are the races of the players on the two teams vying to become World Series champs. The engineers and programmers working on the technology development project inside of companies represent far more racial diversity than the administrative side of the house. Watch a great musical group like Pat Methany's or Bela Fleck's, and you'll be struck by the racial diversity.

When performance standards are clear and the playing field is level (that is, kids from any culture are free to enter), racial divides begin to melt.

So, what is one reason that race continues to be a factor in so many arenas of American life? Because in the domains of business (as opposed to technology) and politics, performance measures are so arbitrary and so "colored" by perception that race becomes a factor.

Racism should not just be attacked directly, but where racism is present, it should be a signal that performance metrics need to be better developed, understood, and used.

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