Canadian tech companies say they value diversity — but what are they doing about it? 

Good and needed reporting – particularly surprised with the lack of response of the larger companies (to be fair, Blackberry had bigger survival issues):

After U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order in January blocking citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S., a long list of Canadian tech companies signed a pledge opposing the ban.

Members of Canada’s tech community saw Trump’s move as a rejection of the diversity on which they felt their industry was built and decided to speak out.

“We believe that this diversity is a source of strength and opportunity,” read the open letter admonishing the ban, which was signed by executives and employees from some of the most well-known companies in the country — BlackBerry, Hootsuite, Shopify and more.

But when CBC News sought to gauge what this commitment to diversity looks like in practice, Canada’s tech community had remarkably little to say.

In May, we asked 31 Canadian technology companies if they collected data on the diversity of their employees, and if so, whether they would share this data with CBC News.

Only two companies — OTTO Motors, the commercial division of Waterloo, Ont.-based Clearpath Robotics, a maker of self-driving warehouse robots, and the Toronto-based investing app Wealthsimple — were willing to do so.

A third company, the Toronto-based online retail marketing startup Hubba, said it was preparing to conduct its first diversity survey and release the results in the coming month. It expects to publish a report on its progress every six months thereafter.

The sheer number of holdouts came as a surprise to Y-Vonne Hutchinson, founder of Oakland, Calif.-based diversity solutions firm ReadySet, in particular, given the number of U.S. companies that have published annual reports since 2014.

“It does make me question their commitment to diversity and inclusion,” said Hutchinson, who is also on the team behind Project Include, which guides tech startups toward more diverse and inclusive practices. The project’s founding members include well-known diversity advocates such as Ellen Pao and Tracy Chou.

“By publishing these numbers, you increase transparency and accountability around how the organization looks and the way in which it prioritizes diversity and inclusion,” Hutchinson said.

Mostly white, mostly male

Many companies in tech and beyond have realized the key to building successful products and services is to have a range of employees — ones who think and look differently from one another — working together to solve problems.

The idea is that employees with varying backgrounds and skills can bring unique perspectives that aren’t necessarily represented by the tech sectors white, male majority.

That’s where diversity reports can help. One way for a company to better understand the types of people it employs — and where the gaps are — is to quantify that information and use it to build more diverse teams.

But that’s not to say measuring the problem alone leads to change. As recently as 2016, we learned that just 145 of Facebook’s nearly 8,500 employees are black. We learned that 12 per cent of Apple employees are Hispanic, versus just four per cent at Google.

And we learned that Uber has an engineering department where only 15 per cent of employees are women — a telling statistic for a company still smarting from a searing indictment of its workplace culture by one of its former engineers and the sexual harassment investigations launched in its wake.

Among the industry’s biggest players, there has been little progress in recent years.

Diversity reports also don’t include as much information as some would like — for example, how long employees stay, which can tell a story of its own, or how many employees are disabled or identify as LGTBQ. In their most basic form, they typically provide a snapshot of how tech’s most-influential companies are doing across job categories in terms of gender and race.

Yet in Canada, there have been no comparable public efforts to date.

Little to say

The companies approached by CBC News ranged from some of the largest and well-known in the country — including BlackBerry, Shopify and Hootsuite — to up-and-coming players such as ecobee, Thalmic and Breather.

We sent each company the following questions:

  • Does your company collect data on the diversity of your employees?
  • ​How is this data collected?
  • Why do you collect this data?
  • Can you provide your company’s most recently collected diversity data to CBC News?
  • Can you offer any details about programs/initiatives to support diversity and inclusion at your company?

The overwhelming majority of companies declined to participate while two of the biggest names in Canadian tech, BlackBerry and Hootsuite, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.


E-commerce company Shopify said it was still analyzing its employee data and was hoping to have more information to share by the fall “or early next year.”

Others, such as the messaging app Kik and the satellite imaging company Urthecast, said they didn’t have the resources to collect this sort of information and would not say how long it would take to do so.

Many more, including ecobee, Wave, WattPad, Vision Critical, Lightspeed, Bench, TopHat, Vidyard, Sandvine and Hopper, said they didn’t formally collect diversity information.

Source: Canadian tech companies say they value diversity — but what are they doing about it? – Technology & Science – CBC News

Diversity and creativity: the link is not as simple as we think

A good summary of a study that is more nuanced than most in the link between diversity and creativity.

Of particular note is how the benefits of diversity are greatest in innovation, less so in implementation. And that personality diversity is likely more important than demographic diversity.

Some good leadership pointers in how to manage diverse work forces:

It has become customary to assume that diversity increases creativity. But Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, a professor of business psychology at University College London and a faculty member at Columbia University, says the link is not as simple as we think.

Yes, teams with a diverse composition generate a wider range of original and useful ideas. But experimental studies suggest those benefits disappear when the team turns its attention to implementation, deciding which ideas to select and act upon, presumably because diversity hinders consensus.

He writes in Harvard Business Review that an analysis of 108 studies and more than 10,000 teams “indicated that the creativity gains produced by higher team diversity are disrupted by the inherent social conflict and decision-making deficits that less homogeneous teams create. It would therefore make sense for organizations to increase diversity in teams that are focused on exploration or idea generation, and use more-homogeneous teams to curate and implement those ideas.”

He adds that for all the talk about the importance of creativity, the critical activity is innovation – implementing creative ideas. “Most organizations have a surplus of creative ideas that are never implemented, and more diversity is not going to solve this problem,” he says.

Other factors to consider:

  • Good leadership helps. It can assist a team in overcoming the conflicts flowing from diversity. A key is to help members understand other people’s perspectives rather than fixating on their own individual agendas.Too much diversity is problematic. We might assume that the relationship between creativity and diversity is linear. But that appears to not be true and a moderate degree of diversity is more beneficial than a higher dose.


  • Psychology outweighs demography: While we tend to focus on gender, age and racial diversity, the most interesting and influential aspects are the psychological elements of diversity, such as personality, values and abilities. Those are the powerful factors to be alert to.


  • Knowledge sharing is key. For diversity to enhance creativity, a culture of sharing knowledge should be in place. “Studies mapping the social networks of organizations have found higher levels of creativity in groups that are more interconnected, particularly when creative and intrapreneurial individuals are a central node in those networks,” he writes.


  • Cynics are persuadable. He says diversity training is actually most effective with individuals who are skeptical of it. Of course, the challenge is to get them on board for training.


  • Other factors than diversity are more powerful in boosting creativity. He says analysis has found that vision, task orientation, support for innovation and external communication are the strongest determinants of creativity and innovation. Team composition and structure have much less impact.


Certainly diversity is nice for organizations to have. But he insists that if your actual goal is to enhance creativity, there are simpler, more effective solutions than boosting diversity.

Source: Diversity and creativity: the link is not as simple as we think – The Globe and Mail

New Creative Artists Agency study says diverse casting increases box office potential across all budgets – LA Times

The one thing Hollywood understands – money. Important study:

There’s been little debate over the moral arguments behind increasing diversity on- and off-screen in Hollywood, but the economic arguments haven’t always been so clear.

While women, people of color, LGBTQ folk and other historically marginalized communities in Hollywood continue to insist “diversity pays,” the box office success of films with diverse casts such as “Hidden Figures” ($230.1 million worldwide) and “Get Out” ($251.2 million worldwide) is inevitably deemed a “surprise.”

A new study and database crafted by Creative Artists Agency, however, is aiming to take some of the surprise out of box office performance, noting that across every budget level a film with a diverse cast outperforms a release not so diversified.

Additionally, the data, to be released during a private leadership conference dubbed Amplify on Wednesday in Laguna Beach, demonstrates that the average opening weekend for a film that attracts a diverse audience, often the result of having a diverse cast, is nearly three times on average a film with non-diverse audiences.

“One of the interesting things that the most successful movies share is that they’re broadly appealing to diverse audiences,” said Christy Haubegger, leader of CAA’s multicultural development group, who oversaw the study along with agency executive Talitha Watkins. “People want to see a world that looks like theirs.”

The impetus for the talent agency’s Motion Picture Diversity Index came following the release of the Motion Picture Assn. of America’s Theatrical Market Statistics report, which found that non-white moviegoers made up 49% of tickets sold in 2016, and 45% in 2015. Because the numbers outpace the 38% of the U.S. population who are non-white, CAA became interested in the audience makeup of the top-grossing films of the year. With additional data from comScore/Screen Engine’s PostTrak and Gracenote’s Studio System, the goal was to determine the correlative factors of diverse casting, diverse audiences and box office success.

CAA examined 413 theatrical films released from January 2014 through December 2016, detailing cast ethnicity for the top 10 billed actors per movie, a total of 2,800 people. They found that for the top 10 grossing movies in 2016, 47% of the opening weekend audience (and 45% in 2015) were people of color. Moreover, seven of the 10 highest-grossing movies from 2016 (and four from 2015’s top 10) delivered opening weekend audiences that were more than 50% non-white.

From there, the study notes that at every budget level, a film with a cast that is at least 30% non-white — CAA’s definition of a “truly diverse” film — outperforms a release that is not truly diverse in opening weekend box office. And on the audience side of things, the average opening weekend for a film that has a “truly diverse” audience, pegged at 38% to 70% non-white, is $31 million versus $12 million for films with non-diverse audiences.

The numbers suggest a more diverse cast brings a more diverse audience, which brings in more money.

The best-performing movie of the films evaluated, which had an approximately 40% diverse cast and a 38% diverse audience, was “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” starring Daisy Ridley and John Boyega.

Also of note was the study’s evaluation of racial casting by genre. According to the study, the whitest genres casting-wise are horror and fantasy, and the most diverse genres are comedy and thriller.

As for what audiences want to see, white people are more likely to flock to drama and romance; black people to biopics and thrillers; Hispanics to horror and animation, and Asians to fantasy and animation.

“The hope is that seeing real numbers attached to the success of the inclusion of more voices and diverse casts will be further motivation for studios, networks and others to be really conscious of the opportunity,” said Richard Lovett, CAA’s president.

He highlighted the study as yet another way that the agency has made diversity a “moral imperative.” In the #OscarsSoWhite furor, many studios laid blame at the agencies’ collective feet.

But already in 2005, CAA began diversifying its internship pipeline by recruiting from top colleges with large black, Latino and female populations. In 2015, it created a traveling Road Show to brief film and television studios and networks on content that appeals to multicultural audiences and the availability of diverse artists working across all areas of the industry. It also continues to seek out and support diverse clients through various writing and leadership programs.

The efforts are paying off, as CAA’s revenue from multicultural clients increased 14% from 2015 to 2016, and the company was highlighted in a USC study for representing the largest share of female and African American directors.

Source: New CAA study says diverse casting increases box office potential across all budgets – LA Times

Uber: Diversity Chief Bernard Coleman Speaks in Interview |

Not the easiest job in the world:

Bernard Coleman jokes that his first week on the job at Uber was all he got as a “honeymoon period.”

He had logged little time as the company’s new head of diversity this January — the same job he did for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign — before the hashtag #DeleteUber began trending. But while that PR firestorm (related to Trump’s controversial immigration order) was the start of months of tumult for the company, it was also proof to Coleman that he had chosen the right gig following an intense election. “The only difference between Uber and a campaign is campaigns end,” he says.

TIME spoke to Coleman in late May for a feature on diversity and inclusion in Silicon Valley, and while he declined to comment on the investigation into Uber’s workplace practices being carried out by former Attorney General Eric Holder’s law firm, he did talk about his own assessments of the company. Though Uber has acknowledged, repeatedly, that parts of its culture are “broken,” Coleman says the culture isn’t as “toxic” as it often appears in the media: “I don’t think could get this big or survive if it were so toxic. It would destroy itself.”

Do you think the amount of scrutiny that Uber has been getting for diversity issues is fair?

No. … On the campaign, we had to contend with [scrutiny]. As we’d scale, people would say, ‘Look at them, they didn’t move the needle at all.’ It’s like, if you look at how we’re scaling and how difficult it is to even maintain your diversity numbers, let alone increase them … It can be disingenuous, in terms of understanding.

So moving the percentages becomes difficult.

More and more difficult. I wish people would call that out. But I understand we should do better, and Silicon Valley has been known for not doing so well. Working here at Uber, I think we can do better.

The industry as a whole has gotten a lot of scrutiny on diversity and inclusion issues. Why do you think that is?

For one, you have these talented and smart people and they’re solving all these other things and creating these wonderful innovations, products. You would think they could solve for this, if they put some of their effort into it … And I really do think it’s about scale. You start off with a small thing where you’re working on a product and that’s where all your focus is … If we need to get this thing launched or hit this city, that’s the priority. If my thoughts are on that, those other things fall by the wayside … You think of it as — I’ll get to that, I’ll get to that. And next thing you know, it’s a much bigger thing than you could have anticipated. And I don’t think it’s unique to Uber or Silicon Valley. I think it’s a general problem.

….One thing some tech companies have struggled with is that, inadvertently or not, they’ve turned out to be places where young white males have a better chance of success. Has Uber’s culture been that way?

If it’s built that way, in the beginning, if you’re a venture capitalist, and you’re a small group, then you suffer from culture myopia. You can’t see it. [Unless] you expand your circles, you’re not going to understand or fully appreciate how that culture is impacting others … That is why Silicon Valley is structured that way, just because when it first starts, maybe that core group is not extremely diverse. So we’re all sharing the same world view, and I’m not going to see the issues a black person or a woman might encounter, because it’s just not my reality.

….In terms of Uber’s first diversity report, released in March, what did you see as the most promising numbers and the most troubling numbers?

I was surprised that our women levels were that high … It’s 36.1%. We’ve got 13.9% to get to at least parity. So obviously there’s way more to do, but that was a happy surprise. Then our diversity numbers were like 50% people of color. Even though it’s over-indexed in some areas, that still was very surprising. Another one was our African-American numbers were actually much higher than [other companies in the tech industry] … I would like to see more women and people of color in leadership. That’s one thing that’s critically important, trying to build leadership pipelines to help folks.

Based on your assessments so far, what are the biggest challenges for women working at Uber?

Just feeling safe and supported. You want to know there are opportunities. You want to know you’re going to invest in me. You want to make sure I’m advancing. It’s called promotional velocity, that I’m getting promoted at the same rate as others, so that when I look to my left and my right at my peers, we’re in the hunt. … I don’t think [it’s any different for women than for men]. I just think it’s different levels and intensity. People of color, same things. Everyone’s feeling the same things.

Source: Uber: Diversity Chief Bernard Coleman Speaks in Interview |

When equality feels like discrimination: Nightingale

Great piece by Johnathan Nightingale on the lack of merit in merit arguments:

You can’t run a modern business with a mindset from the Dark Ages.

The idea that there is a war against merit feels like one plucked out of time, full of arguments that have been obliterated for decades. But the unfortunate truth is that many leaders in business today still cling to the same dated ideas. Are you one of them? If you find yourself agreeing that there is such a thing as “reverse discrimination,” understand that you –  and your business –  are at risk of becoming obsolete.

There are no meritocracies

Merit is a funny thing. We all like the sound of a meritocracy. It ought to be the case that a person succeeds based on their hard work, evaluated fairly. There was a time when I believed in it myself.

But your business is made of people, and people are never objective. We do such a bad job of judging merit that we don’t even see our own mistakes. We score the merit of a résumé differently based on how white the name sounds. We assess the merit of computer code differently when we know a woman wrote it. Professional symphony musicians can’t even hear music objectively when they know who’s playing.

Does merit explain your own company’s gender or racial distribution? Are you sure? Bias is like a leaky pipe. It’s tempting to ignore it, and scary to wonder how much damage it’s doing. But eventually you have to confront it, otherwise it can bring your whole house down. Once you start to recognize that we’re all fallible on this stuff, instead of pretending it doesn’t happen, you can start to make repairs.

The ability to see bias is a skill that you can develop. It’s an incredible tool for improving your business, and will allow you to see opportunities everywhere. Some solutions are clear, like using blind résumé screens to avoid up-front biases in hiring. Some take more work to see, and some require creative thinking to undo. But if you’re paying attention  –  if you get curious about where your business has bias leaks  –  you’ll race ahead of the people still crowing about their commitment to meritocracy.

Equality can feel like discrimination

Many business leaders also push back against equality efforts by labelling them “reverse discrimination.” It’s easy to understand why. A program that takes opportunities away from men by imposing a quota of women to be hired sure feels discriminatory.

It’s a silly argument. In science, tech, and business, men have maintained the advantaged position for generations. (White men in particular, and straight white men most particularly.) If we are all interested in building fairer and more just companies, and a better world, we’re going to need to get everyone else caught up. That’s not discrimination, that’s moving towards equality. But equality feels very different when it means giving up an unfair advantage.

In your own company, as Saadia Muzaffar says, “Ask yourself who’s not at the table.” If you can’t stomach the idea of quotas and preferential hiring, can you at least start by looking for representation? Ask yourself where you are missing perspective because of gaps in your hiring and act to fix it. And no, you don’t get to blame a lack of applicants.

Modern employees demand modern employers

Tech is a young industry, and that means we’re often the first to see new employment trends emerge. What we’re seeing right now is a generation of employees who care deeply about the values of the companies they work for. They expect transparency and accountability from their leaders in a way that feels new. They are digital natives, educated and connected. They are very able to walk away when they sense that their employer doesn’t get it.

This is a thing you can either fear or embrace. If you don’t know how to build a more equitable workplace, the onus is on you to get educated first. Once you start taking those steps, you’ll find that this is a generation that understands and respects that work. Don’t ask them to do it for you  –  change in the equality of your company needs to come from the top  –  but they will stick with you and work hard for you when they believe that your efforts are sincere.

It’s tempting, when there are so many frustrations involved in trying to build your business, to see equality work as yet another pain in the behind. I get that. It can be comfortable to roll your eyes at it as more runaway political correctness. But it’s a trap. It stops you from doing the hard work required to understand your own biases, confront them, and be better.

The next time you hear yourself saying “I support diversity, but ….” Pause for a moment. Ask why you’re taking that position, and what fear or discomfort is behind it. And then ask yourself how much better your world would be if you dropped the “but.”

Source: When equality feels like discrimination – The Globe and Mail

Lyft just published its first diversity report and it’s not much better than Uber’s – Recode

More tech diversity numbers:

Lyft has just raised the curtain on its corporate diversity numbers for the first time and — surprise, surprise — it’s not a pretty picture.

While 42 percent of the company’s 1,600 employees are women, only 18 percent of its tech and engineering teams identify as female. That’s just a little bit better than Uber, where only a little more than 15 percent in tech and engineering are women.

Looking at other kinds of employee diversity at the company paints an even bleaker picture.

Some 63 percent of its total employee base are white, and 70 percent of its executive team are white. Only 1 percent of its leadership team are black, and black people make up only 6 percent of its overall pool of employees.

For context, almost half of Uber — which also recently published its first diversity report and had fairly dismal numbers — employees are white and about 64 percent are men. Only 8 percent of Uber’s 12,000 employees are black, on last count.

Compare that to Google, which now has around 62,000 employees. As of 2016, the company’s workforce was 31 percent female and around 90 percent white and Asian. Only 5 percent of its employees are black or Hispanic.

When asked why Lyft hasn’t published a report before, a spokesperson said the company was one of 30 that signed a White House tech inclusion pledge in June 2016 and plans to publish a report every year. (In other words, Lyft didn’t provide a real answer.)

“Releasing our data will hold us accountable, but it’s the actions we take that will make a difference to the people who come to work every day at Lyft,” the company said in a blog post. “Our diversity data exposes gaps in important areas. So we’re doing something about it.”

When it comes to diversity, numbers are certainly not everything, but it’s definitely a start.

Source: Lyft just published its first diversity report and it’s not much better than Uber’s – Recode

Universities need diversity plans or will lose research money, says council

Yet another illustration of how the government’s diversity and inclusion agenda is being implemented (gap is with respect to women, Indigenous peoples, and persons with disabilities, not with respect to visible minorities):

Universities have less than two years to find ways to recruit more women and minorities for Canada Research Chairs, or they won’t get any more positions funded by the federal government.

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, which reviews and approves applications from universities for Canada Research Chair positions, issued that edict this week.

“We’ve been talking about this for some time, we’ve been monitoring progress to meet the targets,” said council president Ted Hewitt.

The move comes a week after Science Minister Kirsty Duncan told The Canadian Press that she was dismayed universities had not improved the rate at which they recruited women for the lucrative research jobs and was prepared to force their hand.

Hewitt said the change was in the works before Duncan’s remarks.

The council reviews the program every five years and last summer, when the preliminary results of a 15-year review came out, existing efforts to get more women, minorities, people with disabilities and indigenous people appointed to research chairs did not appear to be working.

“We said ‘OK, that’s it’ we have to think about what we can do here to speed up progress,” said Hewitt. “That was a very serious catalyst for us.”

Universities with at least five of the research positions will be required to submit an equity plan by Dec. 15 showing how they intend to meet the equity targets laid out by the granting council. They have until December 2019 to recruit and appoint enough researchers to meet their targets.

If their appointment applications do not match their equity targets by then, the council will withhold funding for new positions until they do.

Hewitt said universities submit twice as many male applicants as female applicants, so the council wants to find a way to force them to seek out more diverse applicants.

“At this pace, they’re never going to meet their targets,” he said.

Canada Research Chairs run for five or seven years and bring $100,000 or $200,000 in annual funding, depending on whether it’s a more experienced tier one position, or an emerging researcher, tier two position.

Universities cannot terminate positions early to open up spaces for more diverse applicants, which is why the council is giving them a deadline more than 18 months away.

The program provides $265 million a year to pay for up to 2,000 research positions in engineering, natural sciences, health sciences, humanities and social sciences.

As of this month, there are 1,615 positions filled, of which 30 per cent are held by women. Women account for just 17 per cent of the more lucrative tier one jobs and 37 per cent of the tier two jobs.

The program also wants to increase the presence of people with disabilities, visible minorities and indigenous people. In the 2015 to 2017 period, 15 per cent of researchers were from visible minorities, which met the target set by the council. However only one per cent of positions were filled by a researcher who had a disability, below the four per cent target. The universities had granted positions to about 16 indigenous researchers, which met the one per cent target.

Source: Universities need diversity plans or will lose research money, says council –

The Modern Newsroom Is Stuck Behind The Gender And Color Line : NPR

Unfortunately, we do not appear to have comparable data regarding diversity in Canadian newsrooms, where likely many of the same concerns would apply:

In many of today’s newsrooms, women and journalists of color remain a sliver of those producing and reporting stories. According to studies from the American Society of News Editors, the Women’s Media Center and the advocacy group VIDA, gender and ethnic diversity in newsrooms have hardly improved in the last decade despite increasing demand for more inclusive journalism in the current round-the-clock news cycle.

Nationally, Hispanic, black and Asian women make up less than 5 percent of newsroom personnel at traditional print and online news publications, according to 2016 data from the American Society of News Editors. The organization stopped requiring that news outlets reveal their identities in an attempt to increase participation in the yearly census. Numbers from 433 news organizations that participated in 2015 and 2016 show a 5.6 percent increase in the minority workforce, now at 17 percent at print and online news sites. But the numbers lag far behind demographic shifts in a country where nearly 40 percent of Americans are part of a minority group. Around the country, local newsrooms remain largely white by most measures. (In the spirit of full disclosure, NPR’s latest diversity figures can be found here.)

In March, the Women’s Media Center released its annual report on gender representation in the media (print bylines, internet, broadcast and other outlets). The latest numbers show a tiny change — 37.7 percent of the news was credited to female journalists, according to an analysis of over 24,000 pieces of news content. Major national outlets continue to be dominated by men, and women actually lost representation in broadcast news television.

In a 2015 survey by the group VIDA: Women of the Literary Arts, magazines with a focus on news and culture, such as The New Yorker, The New Republic and Harper’s, don’t fare any better. VIDA’s numbers show that women of color (and minorities in general) are virtually absent from the political commentary and investigative journalism these magazines provide. Though nearly 20 percent of the country’s population is Hispanic, very few of these publications had a single VIDA respondent self-report as Hispanic.

The implications of this generalized absence are manifold, and begin at the storytelling level.

A September 2016 piece by Lonnae O’Neal in The Undefeated, a site that covers how sports, race and culture intersect, described how NFL Network reporter Steve Wyche — one of the country’s leading African American national sports reporters — covered the story of Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem as an act of protest. His refusal, Wyche learned, formed part of a larger outcry over police violence against black men and women. Initial reports by other outlets focused on Kaepernick as divisive and a potential distraction in the locker room. For O’Neal, who analyzed the coverage with a racial lens, the Kaepernick story raised questions “about why the country is more brown than ever but mainstream journalism is so white.”

O’Neal herself rose through the ranks as a Washington Post reporter and columnist for 24 years before joining The Undefeated. She sees her race as providing an added edge in stadiums filled with mostly black players. “Because I’m experienced, because I’m a woman, and because I’m African American, I can go right up to people and find an entry, a portal, a way to talk without layers and layers of translation,” she said. Her common background with her sources, the “cultural resonance” between them, won’t always carry the day, “but it goes a long way.”

For O’Neal, hiring women, minorities and generally journalists of diverse backgrounds is not a luxury or a matter of “different optics,” or political expedience, as recruiters typically approach the matter, but essential to the profession’s mission and longevity. A typical white, male-centric newsroom, means critical stories will continue to go unreported and news analysis will remain unbalanced.

“We need new and different lenses, people of different backgrounds thinking at the table. We’ll only be richer for having that. Why is it so hard to set as an intention? Because many folks are going to be uncomfortable with what that looks like,” O’Neal said.

In the meantime, old narratives about race and identity don’t change. Latinos are mostly U.S.-born and consist of dozens of sub-groups. But, says Dana Mastro, a professor in the department of communication at the University of California in Santa Barbara, they’re seen only in one frame — immigration.

“The idea that there are other narratives just doesn’t pan out,” said Mastro, who researches racial and ethnic stereotyping in the media with a particular interest in Latinos. “It’s immigration and almost entirely threat-driven,” she said. “You just don’t see other themes emerge, and Latinos are almost exclusively portrayed as undocumented Mexicans,” she added.

Source: The Modern Newsroom Is Stuck Behind The Gender And Color Line : Code Switch : NPR

This is what you get wrong when you talk about diversity in the workplace – Recode

Just one more approach to help people understand and appreciate diversity issues:

A lot of tech companies say they want to make progress on diversity and inclusion. Code2040, a nonprofit that gets its name from the year people of color are projected to be the majority of the U.S. population, argues that just saying that isn’t enough. Businesses need to act.

“It’s often positioned as an add-on,” Code2040 CEO Laura Weidman Powers said on the latest episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher. “What really needs to be the case is to change the core of what you’re doing. We’re not saying, ‘Keep hiring the way you’re hiring and also do this diversity thing on the side.’ [We are saying,] ‘You need to change the way you hire in order to be more inclusive.’”

You can listen to Recode Decode on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn, Stitcherand SoundCloud.

Code2040 focuses specifically on “underrepresented minorities” — black and Latino/Latina students who have 18 percent of computer science degrees but only three percent to five percent of the jobs in Silicon Valley.

Powers said that since the nonprofit launched in 2012, Code2040 has found more and more support for its annual “fellows program,” which charges companies to connect them with talented minorities whom they might otherwise overlook. This summer, it will place more than 100 black and Latino students in tech offices.

But there’s still a long way to go. She said managers and employees, even the ones who mean well, often fall into traps that set everyone back — for example: “unconscious bias” training that doesn’t give attendees the ability to apply anything they learn.

“Talking about unconscious or implicit bias can seem to let people off the hook,” Powers said. “It’s been shown if you do unconscious bias training and it’s like, ‘Hey, everybody’s got bias,’ then the takeaway is, ‘Oh, phew, it’s not me! It’s just humans because we need to learn how to be scared of snakes so you make assumptions!’ You can get farther away from making progress.”

“Folks go to our trainings, they go back to their desks, and there’s half a dozen black and Latino interns who are working there,” she added. “They actually get a chance to see: ‘How inclusive is my culture? What is the experience of these individuals coming through?’ That makes a big difference, putting a face to the work and actually having a chance to build those skills.”

Source: This is what you get wrong when you talk about diversity in the workplace – Recode

Samara’s 2017 Democracy 360 Second Report Card on How Canadians Communicate, Participate and Lead in Politics – Visible Minority Methodology Issues

While I have great respect for the work Samara does and continues to do, as exemplified in their latest report, I would be remiss in not pointing out some serious methodological mistakes made with respect to visible minority representation.

Their diversity numbers:

While our current Cabinet was selected to be more reflective of the Canadian population, Parliament generally, with 74% men, still has a long way to go. Women represent half of Canada’s population, but they are only 26% of its MPs. Visible minorities are better represented—they make up 17% of MPs and 19% of the population. Indigenous MPs make up 3% of the House and 4% of the population. In terms of representation of the youngest cohort of voters Canadians, representation has lost ground since 2015. Only 4% of MPs in the 41st Parliament are aged 18 to 30, a cohort that comprises 17% of the Canadian population.

The two mistakes are:

  • Using the wrong baseline for visible minority representation. Samara uses the overall population of visible minorities (19 percent) rather than the correct baseline of 15 percent, those visible minorities who are also Canadian citizens and thus able to vote. This is the second time that this incorrect baseline has been used and should be corrected for future reports; and,
  • Their count of the number of visible minority MPs is wrong. The correct count is 47, not the 53 indicated in the chart below.

The corrected numbers show visible minorities forming 14 percent of the House of Commons (2015 election), compared to 15 percent of the visible minority voting population. A good result.

Samara and I have shared our respective data sets and discussed these concerns and they have been forthcoming on the reasons for the discrepancies. Their count of visible minorities included some Indigenous MPs and Alexandra Mendès (but not Pablo Rodriguez) and they used the overall visible minority population to be consistent with their earlier report.

For future reports, my main recommendations:

  • for women, foreign-born and Indigenous MPs, use the authoritative parlinfo biographical information which would avoid mis-categorization of Indigenous as visible minority MPs;
  • use existing analysis rather than re-inventing the wheel. Erin Tolley, Kai Chan and I all came up with the 47 number (Erin and I compared notes to ensure that neither of us missed anything, Kai did his work independently; and,
  • use the population of visible minorities who are also Canadian citizens as the baseline, not the total visible minority population.

Their numbers for foreign-born, women and Indigenous MPs are correct, taken from the site (however the graphics are not – 40 versus the correct figure of 41 foreign-born, 81 versus 88 women, 9 versus 11 Indigenous peoples).

Source: 2017 Democracy 360