Quote of the day—Mike Sievert, CEO, T-Mobile, @MikeSievert

We are making changes in the following areas to increase opportunities for People of Color across our business.

  • We are diversifying our pipeline of talent. 
  • We are funding new scholarship programs and launching an apprenticeship program for People of Color.
  • We are changing and expanding our talent development programs to ensure more opportunities and retention for Employees of Color to strengthen our pipeline of talent up to the executive leadership level.

Mike Sievert, CEO, T-Mobile, @MikeSievert
June 2020
Destroying Western Civilization’s History, one guilt trip on sin at a time.
[Some text has been removed for clarity. Please read the complete text at the link above. There is a lot more stuff of interest.

The post, written by howlingpuffin, outlines a set of concerns. I have a completely different set of concerns.

Did Sievert run this past the legal department? How in the world can it pass muster with either Federal or Washington State law?

For example, here are a few highlights from Federal law (emphasis added):

Prohibited Employment Policies/Practices

Under the laws enforced by EEOC, it is illegal to discriminate against someone (applicant or employee) because of that person’s race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to retaliate against a person because he or she complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

The law forbids discrimination in every aspect of employment.

How does “making changes … to increase opportunities for People of Color“ or “funding new scholarship programs and launching an apprenticeship program for People of Color” not violate the law? If the company announced they were:

“making changes … to increase opportunities for white people“

… funding new scholarship programs and launching an apprenticeship program for white people.

Would this be legal? Isn’t this exactly what the law prohibits?

Okay. Let’s, just for the moment, ignore the illegal on the face of it aspect of these corporate changes.

Suppose neither the Federal government nor Washington State prosecute T-Mobile for this. Then, next year some dirt bag executive at some company creates a policy favoring white people in a nearly identical manner. Doesn’t the dirt bag have an air-tight defense in that they are not getting equal treatment under the law because T-Mobile wasn’t prosecuted?

Okay. Let’s pretend, for the moment, the legal aspects of this simply do not matter.

It appears this corporate initiative was in response to the protests, riots, and looting in the wake of the death of George Floyd:

These past few weeks have been both historic and heart-wrenching, as the protests for greater racial justice in the wake of George Floyd’s murder erupt all around the world.  As I shared in my statement last week to customers, employees, and shareholders, T-Mobile stands in solidarity with the Black Community and behind our belief that Black Lives Matter.

I get it that T-Mobile stores have been targets of rioters and looters. I get it that at first thought appeasing the beast seems like a good idea. But it doesn’t work in the long (or even medium) term.

Mr. Sievert, please look at the incentives you have created. Which is greater the incentive? To stop the looting and vandalism because T-Mobile sent some money and potential employment opportunities in the general direction of the looters? Or continue the criminal activity because it gives them attention, power, and a sense of satisfaction plus money and potential employment opportunities every time they do it? Haven’t you ever heard you should never appease terrorists or pay a blackmailer or extortionist?

Suppose we even discount the probability this was about appeasement. Hasn’t he or anyone on his staff heard of The Tyranny of Low Expectations?

Low expectations are one of the most subtle yet devastatingly effective forms of sabotage we can do to others and ourselves. Low expectations often masquerade as kindness yet they are the cruelest cuts because they deny an individual or an organization its opportunity for greatness.

By passing low expectations off as being nice or kind under the guise of going easy on someone, low expectations perpetuate another insidious myth: That discipline is mean. Discipline is simply a mental tool, a form of training that lets you develop the skills and abilities to make your life better. Like any tool, discipline can and has been misused at times but in general, discipline is an incredibly valuable, frequently overlooked tool to create extraordinary value in your life.

Low expectations often involve mental laziness on both sides of the equation. Holding someone (or yourself) accountable is a LOT of hard work. It is much easier to just slide by. Easier that is until the time of testing comes and those who are not prepared diligently fail miserably.

Maybe there is some “3-D Chess” game being played here. Maybe the legal department explicitly told them to clearly make the policy illegal beyond any shadow of doubt. Then later they can say they have to cancel the program because of “unexpected” legal issues.

It will take the Feds and Washington State a few weeks or months to tell them what they are doing is illegal and in response they can “regretfully announce the cancellation of their well intentioned initiative” and it’s all the fault of the evil Trump administration (or some such thing). By that time emotions will have subsided and the vandalism and looting will have stopped. T-Mobile will have gotten all the benefits of the illegal activity with almost none of the costs.

I don’t know what’s going on here. I just know I don’t like any possible scenario I can imagine here. I don’t like the illegal employment policies. I don’t like the appeasement. I don’t like the incentives of low expectations. I don’t like the possibility of it being a clever game of false appeasement.

I think this is on the same moral level as the terrorists, looters, and vandals. It’s despicable.—Joe]

11 thoughts on “Quote of the day—Mike Sievert, CEO, T-Mobile, @MikeSievert

  1. Way to many years ago, as I was about to graduate from high school and head off to collage, I was looking for scholarships to help offset the cost. Given my grades, SAT and ACT scores I started doing research into which merit based scholarships I could apply for and get.
    The one that I had the best qualifications for were the NAACP scholarships. But I did not qualify because of the discrimination represented with in the organization against applicants that were not “Colored People”.

    The rule of thumb for me has always been: If I was to replace that word with its opposite, would they scream it is discrimination? I.e. “The National Association for the Advancement of White People” or anything to do with “Affirmative Action”

    Discrimination is illegal in all states UNLESS you want to discriminate against the “privileged” class(es): White, Male, heterosexual, christian seem to be some of those classes where it is “ok” to discriminate against.

  2. Yes, that “opposite” test is one I’ve used for years as well. Consider hypothetical organizations such as “National Organization for Men”, or “Congressional White Caucus”.

  3. It’s also time to move to a different carrier. Customer of SPRINT since 1998. Oh well.

    Jeff B.

  4. If you looked at a typical German of Julies Caesar’s time, they would likely not act like today’s typical German. Why? Two millennia of culling those with insufficient self-control, low IQ, poor planning and organizational skills, etc., in wars with the Romans, wars with other tribes, wars with each other, religious wars between Catholics and schismatics, wars between Christians and Muslims, Etc. It was two thousand years of a brutal cauldron of “natural” selection for the skills needed to get along in a technologically and philosophical growing society, with long winters, long sieges, limited resources, and determined adversaries.

    The details are different, but that’s sort of the same situation in France, Sweden, Italy, etc, and those details have determined the details of the culture. Not every ethnic group in the world has had the same selection pressures shaping their culture and genome, and not all will be equally compatible. If newcomers are held to lower expectations, then they will have no incentive to adapt to their new home, and the problems will be larger down the road.

    Not every culture

    • I believe it was Thomas Sowell that wrote about the pressures of hardship leading to technological innovations. If you live in a place where the weather will kill you if you are outside without clothing, then you learn to make clothing. If you live in a place where the sun beats down on you continuously, then you just need enough to keep the dangly bits protected.

      If having your shelter fall down in a strong wind means you die from exposure, you build well with wood, bricks, and stone. If you live in a place where your shelter is going to get damaged or ruined every season or two, but it’s no big deal, you build with grass and plan on rebuilding often.

      If you have to have enough food to survive 6 months of no plant food, you learn how to preserve your food and you learn how to grow more than you need during your growing season. If your protean sources are limited, you learn ways of preserving them. If your population is stressing the ability of the land to provide, you look for ways to expand.

      On the other hand, if you live in a location where crops grow naturally and year round, you don’t have to learn the same level of farming techniques. If you live in a location where there are more meat animals than needed, you don’t create preserving methods. And you don’t have the same transportation issues.

      If you live in hot space, you don’t need to heat your home. You don’t have a driving need to cut trees, you don’t learn how to make axes and saws.

      It is scarcities that drives innovation in many cases.

      It has NOTHING to do with skin color, texture or the beard. It has nothing to do with whether or not you are an innie or an outie. We see this because when people migrate from locations where it is easy to places where it is hard, they learn to succeed in the harsher environment.

  5. I got the same kind of executive communication at my company. So I went checking the federal EEOC website for information and, no surprise, they clearly state that there cannot be decisions in employment based on immutable physical characteristics unless that specific factor is concretely business impacting. For example, you can’t have a “no beards” policy, as that affects people that get pseudofolliculitis, unless the job requirement requires a solid face mask seal for safety. They explicitly say that Caucasians cannot be discriminated against, including inferentially by exclusion as the only race that not a “Person of Color”.

    This is of relevance to me, as I am Hispanic, but since I don’t hang my high school era awards from the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers on my cubicle walls, and I don’t have an accent, and my beard is red-brown, some racist-bigots in my hostile work environment don’t recognize my obvious POC status.

  6. I think it is all pretty simple. Laws are only enforced when those in power wish to enforce them. They aren’t rules for EVERYONE to follow. The laws on the books are simply tools that can be used, when desired, to curtail a certain behavior in certain people. The people at CHAZ have violated a huge number of laws, but little will be done to prosecute them.

    • As Ayn Rand said in Atlas Shrugged:

      The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.

  7. Oh, come now. This isn’t that difficult to understand.
    We are diversifying our pipeline of talent.
    = We are hiring directly from prisons.

    We are funding new scholarship programs and launching an apprenticeship program for People of Color.
    = We are hiring people who simply can’t do the job.

    We are changing and expanding our talent development programs to ensure more opportunities and retention for Employees of Color to strengthen our pipeline of talent up to the executive leadership level.
    = We are promoting people who simply can’t do the job.

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