Why it’s a good idea to have diversity in your work force

Many years ago I heard a report on the radio of a rookie baseball player socking his manager. It was reported that the team was shocked because the manager and the player had a good relationship. The report went that, and here it is pertinent to know the rookie was Black and the manager White, the manager was working the rookie hard, riding him, and at one point called the rookie a punk. At that point I froze.
Sure enough. As the story unfolded, the rookie told the manager not to call him that. The manager persisted, repeating several times, “Don’t be a punk.”
Key to what happened next is in the report itself: the player said each time to the manager, “Don’t call me that,” in a low voice, in a quiet way. The manager persisted and POW!
In Thomas Koch’s Black and White Styles in Conflict, he points out that when Whites are about to fight, they get loud and gesticulate; when Blacks are about to land one, their get very calm, speak in a low voice, and get close to you. Clear signal totally missed by the manager.
What was the player reacting to? In White parlance, a punk is a smart-aleck; in Black parlance it is the passive member in homosexual anal sex.
Where were the Black people when this was going on, people who could have intervened? I know in my work environment, a number of Blacks would have just kept quiet, fearful of upsetting the White folks. In my wife’s work environment, she intervened often, was called on to do so. But she made enemies on the part of Whites who did not want to be taught anything by a Black person. It offended their dignity, I suppose.
But anyone on the scene who knew Black culture could have told the manager he was making a grave mistake and the manager might have listened. But then, maybe not.

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