MLK’s dream is also good for business? How is that you ask?
I heard an intriguing piece on NPR this morning about how a researcher correlated more diversity with better outcomes in business.
Cedric Herring, Professor of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, took a look at data from about 250 large and small companies and found there was a linear correlation between the diversity of the workplace and critical markers of business success, such as market share and profitability.
Shankar Vedantam has a great column about the Herring study in today’s Washongton Post.
I am not at all surprised that just by being together, people of different backgrounds and races mix together in a way that is as good for business as it is for social justice.
I think that this was a little bit what Martin Luther King was trying to get at in the most famous passages of his I Have a Dream Speech (emphasis are mine):
“Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.
And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”
This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.