Part I. Dominant/Non-Dominant Identity Choose an aspect of your identity in wh

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Dec 16, 2022

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Part I. Dominant/Non-Dominant Identity

Choose an aspect of your identity in which you are a member of the dominant racial, ethnic, sex, or religious group. Have you experienced being the minority in a situation (for example, White among many Blacks, Asians, or Latinos; Christian in the United States among many Jews)? If you are a racial minority, have you experienced being a minority among others of color (for example, Asian among many Blacks; Latino among many Asians) rather than among Whites? If you are a man, have you experienced being the minority in a meeting at work or at school in a class? If you are a woman, have you experienced being the minority in a meeting at work or at school in a class? What were these experiences of being a “minority” like? (20 points – you should be able to answer this question in a half to a full page)

Part II. Meet Me at Starbucks (“Ethics Unwrapped” Case Study for Implicit Bias copyright)

On April 12, 2018, at a Starbucks location in Philadelphia, two black men, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, were waiting for a friend, Andrew Yaffe. Nelson and Robinson were entrepreneurs and were going to discuss business investment opportunities with Yaffe, a white real estate developer. As they waited, an employee asked if she could help them. They said “no,” that they were just waiting for a business meeting. Then a manager told Nelson that he couldn’t use the restroom because he was not a paying customer.

Because the two men had not purchased anything yet, a store manager called police, even though Robinson had been a customer at the store for almost a decade and both men had used the store location for business meetings before. At least six Philadelphia Police Department officers arrived. The police officers did not ask the men any questions; they just demanded that they leave immediately. They declined. The police officers then proceeded to arrest the men for trespassing. As the arrest occurred, Mr. Yaffe arrived. He said: “Why would they be asked to leave? Does anyone else think this is ridiculous? It’s absolute discrimination.” The two men were taken out in handcuffs. They were taken to the police station, photographed, and fingerprinted. They were held for almost nine hours before being released from custody. Prosecutors decided that there was insufficient evidence to charge the men with a crime.

After a video of the arrest went viral, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson released a statement: “We apologize to the two individuals and our customers and are disappointed this led to an arrest. We take these matters seriously and clearly have more work to do when it comes to how we handle incidents in our stores. We are reviewing our policies and will continue to engage with the community and the police department to try to ensure these types of situations never happen in any of our stores.”

Johnson then announced that every company-owned Starbucks location in the nation would close on May 29, 2018, for “racial-bias education.” When one customer complained on Facebook that closing the stores because of just one incident seemed overkill, Starbucks responded: “There are countless examples of implicit bias resulting in discrimination against people of color, both in and outside our stores. Addressing bias is crucial in ensuring that all our customers feel safe and welcome in our stores.” A similar complaint about closing thousands of stores because of the actions of a handful of employees prompted this response from Starbucks: “Our goal is to make our stores a safe and welcoming place for everyone, and we have failed. This training is crucial in making sure we meet our goal.” (25 points, you should be able to answer the following questions with one quality paragraph for each)

Questions:
1. Do you think the manager of the Starbucks in Philadelphia thought of herself as racist? Why?
2. Do you think that what happened to Nelson and Robinson would have happened had they been white? Why?
3. How did stereotyping influence and/or frame the situation for the manager? For the police? For bystanders?
4. What is your opinion about Starbucks’ response to the arrest of Nelson and Robinson?
5. Do you think Starbucks’ training session on implicit bias had a beneficial impact? Why?
Part III. Pao and Gender Bias (“Ethics Unwrapped” Case Study for Gender copyright)

On May 10, 2012, executive Ellen Pao filed a lawsuit against her employer, Silicon Valley-based tech venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (Kleiner Perkins), on grounds of gender discrimination. Pao began working at Kleiner Perkins in 2005. She became a junior investing partner, but after several years at the firm was passed over for a senior partner position and was eventually terminated. Pao claimed that men with similar profiles and achievements were promoted instead.
In late 2011, Pao and a coworker were asked by a senior partner to come up with ways of improving the firm’s treatment of women, but the senior partner, according to Pao, was “noncommittal.” On January 4, 2012, Pao took this issue a step further and wrote a formal memorandum to several of her superiors and the firm’s outside counsel. In the memorandum, she described harassment she had received while at the firm, claiming she had been excluded from meetings by male partners, and asserting an absence of training and policies to prevent discrimination at the firm. Pao’s memo indicated that she wished to work with the firm on improving conditions for women. She was fired on October 1, 2012. The lawsuit went to trial in February 2015.
In a testimony during the trial, Pao explained that she sued because there was no process for HR issues at the firm and believed she had exhausted all options for addressing these issues internally: “It’s been a long journey, and I’ve tried many times to bring Kleiner Perkins to the right path. I think there should be equal opportunities for women and men to be venture capitalists. I wanted to be a Venture Capitalist but I wasn’t able to do so in that environment. And I think it’s important…to make those opportunities available in the future. And I wanted to make sure my story was told.”
Pao’s lawsuit made four claims against Kleiner Perkins: 1) they discriminated against Pao on the basis of gender by failing to promote her and/or terminating her employment; 2) they retaliated by failing to promote her because of conversations she had in late 2011 and/or the memo from January 4, 2012; 3) they failed to take all reasonable steps to prevent gender discrimination against her; and 4) they retaliated against her by terminating her employment because of conversations she had in late 2011 and/or the memo from January 4, 2012.
Pao’s legal team argued that men were promoted ahead of women, women who experienced sexual harassment received little support, and women’s ideas were often more quickly dismissed than men’s. Pao’s performance reviews revealed contradictory criticisms such as “too bold” and “too quiet.” Pao also accused company partner Ajit Nazre of pressuring her into an affair and subsequently retaliating against her after she ended the relationship. She said she received an inappropriate gift containing erotic imagery and was present while men at the firm were making inappropriate conversation. Further, the legal team described how Pao and other women had been left out of certain meetings and gatherings.
The defense’s case focused on Pao’s performance and character, noting that Pao received several negative performance reviews and acted entitled or resentful toward other employees and was not a team player. Evidence included evaluations, self-evaluations, meeting summaries, and messages both personal and professional. Kleiner Perkins claimed that Pao was paid more than her male counterparts, including bonuses and training. The firm also argued that Pao’s job descriiption was mostly managerial and that limiting her involvement in investing was therefore not a form of discrimination.
The verdict was announced on March 27, 2015. The jury ruled 10 to 2 in favor of Kleiner Perkins on the first three claims, and 8 to 4 in favor of Kleiner Perkins on the fourth claim. Speaking after the trial, juror Steve Sammut said that the verdict came down to performance reviews, in which Pao’s negative criticism remained consistent each year. But he added that he wished there was some way for Kleiner Perkins to be punished for its treatment of employees, “It isn’t good. It’s like the wild, wild West.” Juror Marshalette Ramsey voted in favor of Pao, believing Pao had been discriminated against. Ramsey stated that the male junior partners who were promoted “had those same character flaws that Ellen was cited with.”
Deborah Rhode, law professor at Stanford University, said that even with this loss, Pao’s lawsuit succeeded in prompting debate about women in venture capital and tech. She stated, “This case sends a powerful signal to Silicon Valley in general and the venture capital industry in particular… Defendants who win in court sometimes lose in the world outside it.” After the verdict was announced, Pao stated that she hoped the case at least helped level the playing field for women and minorities in venture capital. She later wrote, “I have a request for all companies: Please don’t try to silence employees who raise discrimination and harassment concerns. …I hope future cases prove me wrong and show that our community and our jurists have now developed a better understanding of how discrimination works in real life, in the tech world, in the press and in the courts.” Pao’s case has since been credited for inspiring others facing workplace discrimination to act; similar lawsuits have been filed against companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft. (25 points, you should be able to answer the following questions with one quality paragraph for each)
Questions:
1. At what points in this case study did Pao make the choice to voice her values? How did she voice her values in each of these instances?
2. Do you think Pao acted on her values effectively? Why or why not? Does the fact that she lost the lawsuit impact your reasoning? Explain.
3. If you were in Pao’s position at Kleiner Perkins, what would you have done and why?
4. Based on the information in the case study, if you were a juror would you have ruled in favor of Pao or Kleiner Perkins? Why? How might your own values or biases influence your decision?
5. What are some of the current prevailing issues for women in the tech industry? Please give three examples and explain.
6. How and why do you think that this case may or may not have had an effect on the tech industry over the past ten years?

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