A Wade Smith Memorial Lecture on Race RelationsThe topic of a major annual talk could not have been more opportunely selected to engage audiences and communities. Policing Black Males on U.S. Campuses” is part of the issue to be addressed by a UCLA professor when he delivers ASU’s A. Wade Smith Memorial Lecture on Race Relations.

The 20th annual lecture named for Dr. Smith will be delivered by Dr. Walter R. Allen, the Allan Murray Cartter Chair in Higher Education and Distinguished Professor of Education and Sociology at UCLA.

His entire title is worth remembering: “Black Lives Matter: Hyper-Surveillance and Policing Black Males on U.S. Campuses.”

The free public presentation will be on Wednesday, April 29, 2015, 7:00 pm, at the ASU Memorial Union, Memorial Ballroom.

Seating is limited and on a first come, first served basis, and doors will open at 6:30 pm.

Given the university’s own high-profile relationship with the intersection of Black lives and policing (and which has made news nationwide), I’m surprised the school has not touted this speech from the rooftops. There may be no local audience more primed to hear this dialogue than the one in Tempe, Arizona, right now.

Dr. Walter R. Allen, UCLA

Dr. Walter R. Allen, UCLA

On the other hand, the school probably wishes the whole topic would just go away. A high-profile talk by an esteemed scholar on this very issue may be a bit of salt in the recent wounds.

In any case, below I have included more background on the event. If you plan to attend and would like to provide some photos and perhaps a guest blog post, write to me at arizona.attorney@azbar.org.

Background:

Dr. Walter R. Allen, distinguished professor of education and sociology at UCLA, will discuss the policing of African-American men on college campuses at the 20th annual A. Wade Smith Memorial Lecture on Race Relations.

Allen’s lecture, “Black Lives Matter: Hyper-Surveillance and Policing Black Males on U.S. Campuses,” will touch on the social science of incidents involving police security and black men. Allen said he chose this topic because of national news like Ferguson, Mo., even if it didn’t happen on a college campus.

Allen earned his doctorate and master’s degree from the University of Chicago in sociology and his bachelor’s degree in sociology at Beloit College in Wisconsin. Allen has done extensive research on higher education, race and ethnicity, family patterns, social inequality and the African diaspora.

Keep reading here.

Past A. Wade Smith keynotes have included Lani Guinier and Kimberlé Crenshaw, among many others.

Today, a book review, of sorts. And boyoboy, when I cracked that spine, did I ever expect to dislike that book (more on why in a moment). But I found I liked it, quite a bit.

Self-portrait: Gaining management Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki

The book is titled “Enchantment,” and it came across my desk a few weeks ago (it goes on sale beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, March 8). Like all such unsolicited offers, this one came with a request: Review, please.

My first inclination was not to do that very thing—and not just because the subtitle had an unnecessary comma.

No, a better reason made me skeptical of “Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions,” by Guy Kawasaki.

You see, there are a few sections I tend to ignore in Borders (when they used to be open): self-help, or management, or marketing.

I do understand that there is much to be learned in all of those segments of a store—and of our minds. But most of the offerings are so cripplingly bad, it makes your teeth hurt.

Message to authors: The bullet point is a tool to be used occasionally; it is not a magical roadmap to your entire volume. And unless you are James Joyce, the sentence fragment is a painfully bad mashup of a conversation and a written volume; it is a brain fart, not a stroke of genius.

So Kawasaki’s text had to overcome my own long-held prejudices, before he even got to his message.

And I’m pleased to say he did just that.

But first, for those who prefer to learn visually, here’s a neat infographic provided by the publisher. Charming, that. 

Enchantment Infographic

The “former chief evangelist at Apple” achieved success from the get-go, with a cover that is striking and evocative. In fact, the story of the cover’s evolution warrants its own epilogue, where he explains “how it took 260 people to make this cover.” If you decide to get this book (and you should), read that first.

The book’s structure takes you on a natural progression toward what he calls “enchantment,” the skill and art to alter someone else’s views and beliefs—and therefore actions. As he writes, it “transforms situations and relationships. It converts hostility into civility. It reshapes civility into affinity. It changes skeptics and cynics into believers.”

Is it “marketing”? Sure, that’s part of it. But it’s marketing + delight.

The book makes even us cynics recall what it is that we find alluring about our jobs and professions. It examines trustworthiness and likability (the deep kind, not the Facebook variety). It talks about sustaining enchantment once you’ve fostered it, and how to marshal technology in that effort.

Guy Kawasaki, who could enchant a brick wall.

The last few chapters explain “how to enchant your boss” and “how to enchant your employees.” And for me, some of that writing resonated the most of all. Here are two examples in regard to your employees.

First, Kawasaki talks about empowering your employees to do the right thing:

“Your best employees want to serve and delight your customers. … Let your employees do the right thing, and you’ll enchant them. And then they will enchant your customers.”

Easy to say, but how about a specific or two? He provides just that, in regard to performance appraisals.

“People often judge their intentions against the results of others: ‘I intended to meet my sales quota, but you missed yours.’ By doing this, they seldom find fault with their performance and almost always find shortcomings in the performance of others.

“If you want to enchant employees, you should reverse this outlook: Judge yourself by what you’ve accomplished and others by what they intended. This means that you are harsher on yourself than others and embrace an understanding attitude like ‘at least his intentions were good.’”

This passage put me in mind of an excellent article titled “Why Your Boss Is Wrong About You” that ran in the New York Times.

In the op-ed, Samuel Culbert, a management professor at UCLA, dissects all that is wrong with the typical American performance appraisal. Among other things, he argues that they only masquerade as being objective, when in fact they often are self-serving (and not in favor of the employee).

He offers an alternative: the idea of a “performance preview”:

“Instead of top-down reviews, both boss and subordinate are held responsible for setting goals and achieving results. No longer will only the subordinate be held accountable for the often arbitrary metrics that the boss creates. Instead, bosses are taught how to truly manage, and learn that it’s in their interest to listen to their subordinates to get the results the taxpayer is counting on.

“Instead of the bosses merely handing out A’s and C’s, they work to make sure everyone can earn an A. And the word goes out: ‘No more after-the-fact disappointments. Tell me your problems as they happen; we’re in it together and it’s my job to ensure results.’”

Kawasaki’s book also is focused on ensuring results, and I’ll leave you with one anecdote he describes in his book. It is about the power of welcoming the devil’s advocate to your business or organization.

“From 1587 to 1983, the Catholic Church appointed people to argue against the canonization of particular individuals who were being considered for sainthood. The advocatus diaboli, or devil’s advocate, role was to find fault with candidates to ensure saintly saints.

“When the practice ended after the election of Pope John Paul II, an explosion in the number of canonizations occurred. During his reign the church canonized five hundred people, compared to ninety-eight during the reign of all his twentieth-century predecessors.”

Are we all doing all we can to focus on results, and to show that rocking the boat is acceptable—and may even lead to sailing into more profitable streams? Probably not. Have we allowed too many sacred cows to be enshrined in the way we do business? No doubt.

Read this new book. It is practical, whimsical, readable, and occasionally enchanting.

Here’s where to get the book.

And here is the book detail:

Name: Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions
Page count: 224
Suggested retail price: $US 26.95
Year of first printing: 2011
ISBN: 9781591843795

 

Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw

Last Thursday was the annual A. Wade Smith Lecture on Race Relations at Arizona State University. As I indicated before, it was delivered by Kimberlé Crenshaw, a professor of law at UCLA and Columbia University. The co-founder of the African American Policy Forum spoke before an appreciative audience in the Memorial Union.

Her lecture title and subject were “Educating All Our Children: A Constitutional Perspective.”

Crenshaw opened by describing how a Black man’s election as U.S. President means that we as a nation occupy an “important moment in the long struggle for equality in education.” But although that event cheered her, she had to conclude that as she assessed the body politic, “It’s ill.” She told the students and other audience members to “combat the idea that all is well.”

She also lent her considerable rhetorical powers to an attack on the notion that the United States now occupies a “post-racial sphere.” But she did admit that there was one recurring element of the post-racial ethos:

“Ignoring race: Now that’s post-racial. Race consciousness is out. It doesn’t matter if your goal is to segregate or to integrate,” the U.S. Supreme Court tells us. “They are both off the table.”

“How can we be ‘over race’?” she asked.

There was ample legal discussion for the lawyers in the room. She cited case after case that demonstrated the trend that educational equity arguments have moved over a generation. As she said, voicing a prevailing view, “All this talk about race and racism is counterproductive, and just makes people feel bad.”

Nat Hentoff

Finally, Crenshaw said, we have moved far past the urging of Justice Blackmun in Bakke that “You have to focus on race to get beyond race.” Instead, in a post-racial world, “Bankruptcy has been declared: The debt is wiped clean, and there is no social justice capital left to pay.”

Her position was most clear when she contrasted Chief Justice Roberts’ statement (“The way to stop discrimination based on race is to stop discrimination based on race”) with her analogy: The way to stop the problem of asbestos is to stop talking about asbestos, or seeking ways to mediate it.

Refuse the “narcotic of post-racialism,” she urged the audience.

“The language of gradualism has morphed into the language of arrival,” but those who most need help have not arrived.

Days after listening to Professor Crenshaw, I came across an article by Nat Hentoff in The Village Voice. In “Segregation 2010: Bloomberg’s Schools,” he examines where the New York City schools are in relation to Brown v. Board of Education, circa 1954. As you might guess by his title, he argues they’re not very advanced.

The picture he and Crenshaw paint is not a rosy one. It appears there is still much for lawyers to do in that realm.

Hentoff’s story is here.

The afternoon is speeding away from me faster than common sense from Maricopa County government, and I’ve managed to put only a small dent in today’s to-do list. I can see I’ll have to repurpose that list into a “Friday to-do list.”

It’s even shorter because I leave soon to head east to ASU in Tempe, where an annual lecture will be held this evening.

The A. Wade Smith Lecture on Race Relations is always a great listen. The stellar selection committee (on which my wife sits! Disclosure alert!) always finds compelling people with compelling stories. And this year, they found someone who will resonate with the legal community.

Kimberlé Crenshaw is a professor of law at UCLA and Columbia University (good gigs if you can get them). She also co-founded the African American Policy Forum. Among other things, she will likely be speaking tonight on civil rights; Black feminist theory; and race, racism, and the law.

Her lecture title is “Educating All Our Children: A Constitutional Perspective.”

I’m sure a good time will be had by all – and I’ll report back on the evening in an upcoming post.

More information is here.

In the meantime, here is some information on this great annual lecture:

The A. Wade Smith Memorial Lecture on Race Relations, presented by ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is held to celebrate and honor the work Smith accomplished during his lifetime. A former professor and chair of sociology at ASU, Smith spent much of his life in pursuit of the advancement of race relations on campus and within his community. The lecture was established after his death in 1994 through funding from his family and friends in their hopes to continue Smith’s work of improving race relations in Arizona.