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Still has some catching up to do.

I READ THE SEPTEMBER 2005 ARTICLE ON DIVERSITY AND WAS PLEASANTLY SURPRISED TO SEE THAT General Electric was highlighted in the opening paragraphs and very thankful that the company was not listed in BE's "30 Best Companies for Diversity" (July 2005). Its record has been horrible over the past years. As I readjust the title of the article by Sonia Alleyne " ... But Can You Walk the Walk?" I had memories of my 29-year career at GE.

I thought back to years of discriminatory practices and mere token representation in management. I recalled the ineffectiveness of the few African American managers who attempted to lead the African American Forum, which was established in the late '80s as a self-help mechanism to champion diversity issues and faster mentoring within the company. Thanks to the poor efforts and lack of effective leadership within the African American community at GE, few of us were allowed to move up into management level positions. GE CEOs, like Lloyd Trotter, and diversity coordinators, like Daisy Wood, never held GE's chairman and upper management accountable for their discriminatory practices. I agree that holding the highest level of management accountable is the only way to effect changes in a company's policy on employment practices involving minorities.

To me, it's not surprising that 20 years aster the establishment of the AAF, we see that Marcel T. Thomas, another talented executive, is claiming that the company engages in discriminatory practices. Jack Welch was never held accountable for his lack of commitment to the company's diversity initiatives. However, now that the GE monogram has lost its luster, perhaps champions like Thomas can force a paradigm shift within corporate America--as well as among African Americans who continue to flounder within "hallowed institutions" like GE--that engage in discrimininatory hiring and promotion practices.

Jesse Harvey

Columbia, MD
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Title Annotation:Letters
Author:Harvey, Jesse
Publication:Black Enterprise
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Nov 1, 2005
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