It’s 8:25 pm in Downtown L.A. on Friday, May 29. For the first time in months, there are no cheers at 8pm sharp for front line workers. Instead, police helicopters swarm overhead, sirens and horns and voices blare. People are in the street and on the freeway, some of them taunting the police, obstructing squad cars from moving, smashing their windows.
Have people gone mad? No. They are angry and beyond patience because across America, to be black and jogging, or sitting in your car, or sitting in your own home, is to put your life at risk.
What does that have to do with business and the professional environment of LinkedIn? A lot. When you are a person of color, you are often perceived as “less than” or “other.” Not like “normal” Americans. For African American males, this means you are often one hotheaded cop’s or neighbor’s or vigilante’s ignorant assumption from death, or arrest, even as a doctor or lawyer or paramedic in a “good” neighborhood.
What’s that got to do with work? Imagine yourself faced with those assumptions EVERY TIME you walk down the street, or get in an argument with a white person, or just look different; you may begin to understand that this IS about business. Because the world is on fire.