Does race determine efficiency?

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The issue of race and performance or efficiency is a controversial one; we would all like to wish it away and hope that it was never there. There are many times we ask, if that person was white or black, would that be the status quo?

We would like to believe that the more educated people are, the more they believe in themselves and understand that a company’s performance is not determined by the color of the owner.

In the technology sector, people tend to feel that because technology comes from the west, then it pays for you engage someone from there. In most cases, they get the work then outsource to locals at a fraction of the cost.

This post was triggered by a friend who was recommending one company over another and the main argument was that the company is owned by whites and therefore performs better than others. My first question was whether she had engaged the other companies in the past and the basis for the argument other than that one is owned by a white and others by locals.

The debate went into issues of efficiency and perception; I have never hidden that I am not a fan of generalizations because it treats people unfairly and denies others a chance just because one is prejudiced.

I was offended by the statement but more so because I thought my friend was educated and should have known better thats behind the white or black, the people who do the work are the locals, like me.

I am not denying that in some cases, people respond better if the person in charge is of their race. For instance, I am told most NGOs like hiring white people because the donors respond better compared to locals. This is different to a corporate setting, where performance and efficiency is the key.

The saddest thing is that my friend who was vilifying black owned enterprises has plans of setting up shop and I wonder what the feeling would be if I recommended another firm merely because its owned by a white person.

I wonder whether people have heard about outsourcing and how people who easily get jobs because of their color or connections get them then outsource to other lesser known companies, that have the manpower and efficiency to deliver the results. On the face of it, the job was given to a white but they were not the ones digging trenches by the roadside or chasing paper work at City Hall or other government offices.

To some, race may have a bearing on performance but I think people should be beyond it, they should know better and give chances for people to get business or not; its as simple as that.

Yes, some of the prejudices may have been calculated over time but should that always be the case?

1 COMMENT

  1. Totally feel you on this. Most people tend to use ONE incident to define their lives. Go to an office and the receptionist is having a bad day, show att, and that will be their LIFELONG opinion of that company.

    Also, on the black-white issue, we can’t deny that Kenyan thinking of ‘White is Might’. Try to go to Hilton with a white friend in Slippers leo. Utaambiwa “toka hapa” while they will be told : “Hallo sir!!”

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