Anjuan Profile picture
13 Sep, 9 tweets, 2 min read
I have a full time career managing software development teams, but I spend a fair amount of time on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) work.

A common question I still get is, "What's the business case for diversity? What advantage do we gain by being inclusive?"
I understand why people ask this question. I can cite numerous statistics, case studies, and research papers that show how diverse and inclusive companies have better business results.

But, the business case for DEI isn't enough.
You can find countless examples of companies that horribly treat women, Black people, and other marginalized groups, but they are doing fine.

Actually, most of these companies soar. They manage high performance despite how terrible they are at DEI.
The business case doesn't erase these success stories. Trying to soley stand on the business case for DEI leaves you in the quicksand of skyrocketing growth and stock evaluations despite the bad behavior of these companies.

That's where the justice imperative comes into play.
Abolitionists who worked to free Black people from slavery in the 19th century didn't need a business case. They did it because it was an act of justice.

Ask John P. Parker if he needed a business case.…
The people who tried to protect Jews from the Holocaust in the 20th Century didn't need a business case. They were animated by justice.

Ask Corrie ten Boom if she needed a business case.…
Actually, reasoning from a business case would make one pro slavery. The entire American (North AND South) economy ran on slavery.

The same holds true for Germany under the Nazis. Anti-Semitism was very profitable, and companies who took advantage still exist to this day.
So, I get the reason why people ask for the business case. However, it takes more than proof of increased revenue, profits, and innovation to do the hard work of DEI.

You have to see the long injustices done to BIPOC and LGBTQ communities, women, and others, and say, "Enough".
That's the way we get glued to this work even when it hurts, when the media coverage passes, and when no one is looking.

When you can do that, you'll be following in the footsteps of freedom fighters.

That's surer footing than following the people chasing the business case.

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More from @anjuan

25 Jun
I was part of a podcast on allyship that will drop later today. It was an informative and fun episode to record. I'll tweet it out when it's published.

I want to echo something I said in the episode and share something I call the "Althea Test".
I've talked with a lot of companies who want me to assess how they're doing with embracing the power of diversity and creating an inclusive culture.

There's usually only one thing I need to know to get an initial sense of the inclusion maturity level of the company.
How are Black women valued at the company? This is the question answered by the Althea Test.

It's a question I pose to the engineering leaders with 2 layers of reports (i.e., their direct reports have people who report to them): Directors of Engineering, VPE's, etc.
Read 9 tweets
18 Jun
I'm glad to see continued energy around the Anti-Racist movement, especially in the tech industry.

However, I want to address something that's probably in the back of a lot of people's minds:

"If we help Black people, then what will that take away from White people?
Few people would say that out loud, but I know people are thinking it. It's similar to what I heard people say early in my career when I championed women in tech:

"If we help women, then what will that take away from men?"
This isn't a zero-sum game. Allow me to explain.

Let's say you work downtown in a major metropolitan city. One day, during lunch, you walk outside and see a huge office building on fire.

You hear a siren behind you. Turning around, you see fire trucks rushing towards the fire.
Read 11 tweets
15 Jun
I've worked in software development for over 20 years, and most of my career has been in management. I want to share something about the reality of working as a Black man fulfilling leadership roles in tech.
I've been responsible for shipping countless features and managing large numbers of people. However, for most of the people I manage, I'm probably the first manager they've had who has been a Black man. So, I always labor under the possibility that I may be seen as a "token hire"
Look, I've never seen a "let's hire unqualified Black people" program at any place I've worked. There is definitely not a "let's keep paying Black people large amounts of money even if they suck" program. If you don't deliver as a manager, you're going to quickly get fired.
Read 12 tweets

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