Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Selffulfilling Prophecies.

The Southern Poverty Law Center published (6/15/15) an article called The Criminalization of Black Children in McKinney, Texas, and schools across America” about the police and teenage African Americans that said in part: This brand of “justice” for schoolchildren is anything but colorblind. Study after study show that black children are treated far more harshly than white kids. And the racial disparity has grown dramatically over the past four decades, a period that roughly coincides with the integration of public schools.

I did a Google search and found that in 2008, state and local law enforcement agencies employed more than 1.1 million persons on a full-time basis, including about 765,000 sworn personnel (defined as those with general arrest powers). Out of over 700,000 sworn officers, only a few actually act like this. 

The question is how many times does it take for black teenagers to distrust ALL police and become argumentative and aggressive when confronted? I am a 70 old white, Vietnam veteran who plays by the rules so I don’t have many interactions with the police. In fact most are traffic violations and my license, registration and proof of insurance are ALWAYS in good order so there is little to discuss beyond the immediate question of was I really speeding or did I really run a red light.

In the few interactions I have had with the police, I have noticed that there is a serious spread in how I am treated. Many times the officer will be so focused on “achieving and maintaining command presence” that he (yes - generally a man) will be rude and discourteous. If they will be confrontational and discourteous to me, I can only imagine how bad they would treat a typical teenager. Couple a typical teenager's attitude (including me when I was 16) and the distrust of blacks for the police that has built up for many years and we shouldn’t be surprised that black teenagers automatically assume the cops are out to get them.

During the Rodney King beating in LA, the then police chef Darrel Gates said that he didn’t pay his officers to get down in the mud with the likes of Rodney King. It stuck me at the time that “getting down in the mud” is exactly what we pay them for. To get down in the mud instead of beating anyone like a piñata.

If I, as a citizen, am expected to trust someone out on the street with a gun and the authority we grant to police, I have to be able to trust them to make good judgment calls between a real, dangerous criminal and a teenager acting like a teenager. If any individual officer can’t make that call when under the stress of the situation, do I really want them out on my streets?

Remember that the police are supposed to be our representatives. Do you really want your representative acting like this?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Why should you have an internal mastermind group?

While it’s comforting to just collect your senior management around you for meetings it’s also limiting.

Just because you worked a job 10 years ago doesn’t automatically mean that remember the subtle details of the work or that you will know about the changes or new ideas that have happened in the last 10 years.

A mastermind group should be people from both your industry and outsiders who can help you both create new ideas and develop plans to execute the best of those new ideas. You may need more than one group, one for new product ideas, one for manufacturing, one for finance, etc.

You have that mastermind group because bitter experience (yours or someone else’s) has taught you that you are not an expert in all the things you need to know to run your business. Some of that may be interest and not ability. You could learn all the information to fix your car yourself, but would rather spend your time growing your business and developing new products or fixing your car? Most of us just hire a mechanic.

The janitor’s hobby of flying radio control airplanes may have exposed him to a great advertising campaign that could help you, when suitably modified to your particular product by the marketing department. Or maybe that idea will be from finance guy with a new way of financing R&D.

Whatever that new idea, having a collection of advisers with varied backgrounds will provide you with a huge collection of new ideas to draw on. Not all of them will be winners, but as Benjamin Franklin said: Insanity is doing the same thing the same way and expecting different results.

Drawing on the same restricted pool of thinkers will always result in the same restricted views.