Survey says… (Too often, nothing) – Follow up

“Hope Rising” by Computer World editor Don Tennant (Computer World Magazine, November 2008). A couple weeks back there was a post about this editorial as well as AU email into Mr. Tennant. And here is the edited version that appeared in the 8 December 2008 print issue. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be available online just yet.

Do I think there’s racism in America and specifically in corporate America? Without a doubt. Do I believe Don Tennant’s column [“Hope Rising,” Nov. 11] helped clear things up? Nope.

Tennant relied on a survey. At the very least, he should have prefaced his comments by saying something like, “The input to this survey was subjective and was not audited for survey taker accuracy.”

Here are just two of the many possibilities that could have affected the survey’s outcome:

– For all we know, whites might exaggerate more than African-Americans about their pay.

– Both pay and racial concentration correlate to geographic location. In some cases, higher concentrations of African-Americans occur in cities with relatively low pay (for example, Atlanta) and lower concentrations are found in some cities with higher-than-average pay (San Diego).

I always read Tennant’s columns because they are thought-provoking. But in this case, hard facts are going to be more effective then overgeneralizations from surveys.

Mark Simchock
Chief Alchemist
Alchemy United
Princeton, N.J.

It’s always nice to know the AU state of mind is approved and appreciate by movers, shakers, decision makers, the critics, those in-the-know, etc.

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