We need to tackle racial bias, gender bias – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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We need to tackle racial bias, gender bias

Dear Mr Editor,

I see that an anonymous contributor, who was very privileged in his ability to sign off as “Responsible Contributor” in the August 11 edition of your newspaper, took issue with my call for more racial diversity within our corporate environment.

I just have one question: is the aforementioned writer also opposed to more gender diversity in Bermuda’s corporate/offshore sectors?

Certainly, he must be aware that only recently, Brian Duperreault seemed to back the conclusion of a PwC report that essentially made the same arguments in his call for the inclusion of more women at the highest executive levels of the corporate sector.

The same report also identified the need to challenge and change the male-dominated culture that may be inhibiting that development from occurring, which I clearly alluded to in my interview.

So once again, bearing in mind that the same arguments are made with respect to gender diversity, is the writer who goes by the nom de plume “Responsible Contributor” also opposed to calls for more gender diversity as well within these same corporate environments?

Or is it that his vehement and at times Reagan-era, 1980s-style racist opprobrium arises only when the same arguments that are harnessed on behalf of women are enlisted to advance the call for more racial diversity, with respect to the greater inclusion of qualified black and/or persons of colour in these environs at the highest levels?

And with respect to his canard about education, I have consistently been an advocate for educational standards to be toughened and have been on the front line, along with the PLP, in urging the adoption of, and greater commitment to, a STEM-focused curriculum at the public school level.

What he and others will not acknowledge, however, is that both conscious and subconscious racial bias can and do impact the opportunities of qualified black aspirants, just as gender bias does with respect to the career prospects of qualified women. The two are not mutually exclusive.

We must tackle both issues simultaneously by expanding opportunity for the qualified on the one hand, while along with that raising the bar with respect to education and training. And contrary to the assertion of the letter writer, nothing could be more empowering.

In closing, also note that the comments that he took issue with were of a series of interviews with me, featured in the Gazette over the past few weeks that focused in part on the challenge to education and training in a 21st-century context, posed by the impact of continuing technological disruption.

ROLFE PATTON COMMISSIONG

Brian Duperreault