35 years of diversity coverage.

Position:About This Issue

Socially, the discussion of race is sensitive, Politically, it's a hot-button issue. And as various studies reveal how our nation's shifting demographics will impact commerce, race is currently engaged in an uneasy courtship with corporate America--not for love, but for money. It's a relationship over which BLACK ENTERPRISE has served as coach, counselor, and, at times, presiding judge for 35 years. Throughout BE'S history, we have not only reported trends, strategies, and challenges in business and professional arenas, we've highlighted trendsetters and trailblazers in our numerous listings. We have identified many who now serve as presidents, and even CEOs, of some of the world's largest publicly traded companies and as leading examples of the benefits of diversity.

There's no question that diversity as a business imperative is currently one of the primary--and, in some cases, overused and misused--themes within the corporate marketplace. It headlines numerous conferences, fills banner space at career and business expos, and is the focus of myriad speeches about best business practices. Diversity lists have become a hot commodity for publications. Fortune magazine, which devotes almost no editorial pages to this topic, publishes an annual diversity list as does DiversityInc, which has been covering diversity for just seven years. Aside from being used as vehicles to build and diversify their reader base, these lists have become another menu item that publications use to entice advertisers and sponsors.

Since the inception of BE, diversity has never been viewed as a fad or business gimmick. Our editors have covered diversity as a vital and competitive business tool and as a way to level the executive suite as mandated by President John F. Kennedy when he introduced the concept of affirmative action in 1961 with Executive Order 10925 and President Lyndon B. Johnson, who put affirmative action into practice when he signed Executive Order 11246 in 1965. In fact, it was BE that grabbed corporate America by the lapels and brought the issue to the forefront of American industry. One of the first articles written about the impact of diversity was our September 1971 cover story "Black Executives: Room at the Top." It revealed the leading black executives and board members of that day, as well as the challenges of implementing a policy of racial inclusion into America's corporations. Since then, we have published a number of lists that have served...

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