Why Does Goldman Sachs's Have a Diversity Program? The Hidden Problems of Diversity


I found this website yesterday as I scoured the internet. It's a link to Goldman Sachs diversity program. I think most people unquestionably will think this is a good thing. There was a time when I thought it was a good thing as well.

But I see a problem here. It's not even that subtle a problem, but I think we as a society have been trained to look past it. Let me put it this way. Let's say Goldman Sachs achieves a perfect amount of diversity that aligns correctly with the U.S. Population. This means that 14% of their employees are black, just as 14% of the U.S. Population is black. And 50% of their employees are women, just a 50% of the U.S. Population are women. And so on and so on. 

I imagine that many of you would rejoice at this news. It would show you that America had started to achieve true equality through diversity. It would be proof that we had started to take the right steps forward in this country, that we were fulfilling the words of our constitution. 

But as I alluded to above, there is a problem here: if you make high paying jobs more diverse, all you're doing is making rich people more diverse. Nothing changes with regard to class. The poor remain poor, although they might be more diverse as well. And Goldman Sachs still gets to walk away with all of their money. 

Some of you are fine with this. Class isn't something that people want to talk about generally. There is a lot of shame in being poor in the country. But I'm not ok with it. I don't think it's an accident that every major bank or corporation has a diversity program. Check out Citi's page here. Or Walmart's diversity page here. Sure Walmart might have a diverse workforce that reflects America. Yet they will barely pay you a living wage and will not let you unionize. While the Waltons remain among the richest people in the world. 

The truth is professing and trying to make companies more diverse is good for business. It's no accident that commercials like this exist: 

If corporation's pray to the altar of diversity, they will be seen as "liberal." And while our country is very divided, companies know that there are higher concentrations of wealth in big cities, which are overwhelmingly liberal. And even in red states, diversity is popular too.  So in the end, it's a business decision. Being in favor of diversity just means being aligned with the status quo, so that business will continue to boom. In this way, diversity can be co-opted from the ranks of activism and be used as a tool of neoliberalism. 

But what happens if, as a friend of mine likes to say, "fuck with their pocketbook?" What I mean is a redistribution of wealth. It doesn't necessarily even mean socialism but let's say the Keynesian economics of FDR's New Deal. Well, then you'll see each companies true colors. They will fight it tooth and nail. And this is a clue into their true motives in the end: profit.