Elevating Untalented POCs and Women Hurts the Cause, It Doesn’t Help It

One of the issues that every industry struggles with is the lack of diversity in senior leadership, both gender and racial and ethnic. Unfortunately, some folks seem to think that plugging any random person of color or woman into a role, regardless of whether they’re actually qualified or talented, is a good way to combat this. It’s not. 

Now, let me be very clear here: I am NOT saying that the alternative is to give these roles to some white guy. I don’t buy into the “we would love to hire minorities or women but can’t find enough qualified applicants” line because it shows a lack of understanding of the issues that have led to the disparity and it shows an unwillingness to put in the effort to combat it, which means it’s not actually something important to that organization. So again, I am definitely NOT saying you shouldn’t hire these unqualified women and POCs and instead just fill those roles with white dudes. What I am saying is that there are plenty of very qualified and very talented women and POCs who would do amazing things in these roles if those hiring would bother to put the effort into hiring the people best suited for the job instead of those who will play nice and spout carefully crafted PR statements.

The two major problems with these appointments of less than excellent POCs and women are that 1) in my world these are the people who spend the bulk of their time on entrepreneurship support for female and minority business owners and I think those business owners deserve to have the top talent doing that work, not some “meh” candidate that is good at self-promotion and not much else and that 2) it gives fuel to those who say they can’t find any qualified candidates because they get to point to these folks who are supposedly “the best” and say they wouldn’t be able to keep up instead of having to admit how kick-arse someone is and explain why they’re not able to attract that talent.

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