A Republican governor seems to be competing with Donald Trump for who can do the most embarrassing thing possible. Bruce Rauner, governor of Illinois, appeared on stage this week and literally drank a glass of chocolate milk to show he’s against racism.
Tyronne Stoudemire, the Hyatt Hotels “diversity and inclusion executive,” assisted Governor Bruce in the exercise because Tyronne is black and that makes this totally legit and not offensive. The pair spoke together at the Chicago Thompson Center to discuss workplace diversity during a Black History Month event.
The glass of white milk was supposed to represent the white male-dominated private and public sectors of the state of Illinois. The chocolate syrup represented the diversity of People of Color being added in.
There are a couple hilarious things that I want to point out with this.
The ratio of chocolate syrup to white milk was about 10% or less. Apparently that’s enough for Rauner and Stoutmire — you know, just enough to “add a little color.” One in ten people being a person of color isn’t diverse. That’s tokenism, especially when like the syrup, they’re pushed to the bottom by the white milk. This was not addressed during the event.
Also, ITS GOD DAMNED CHOCOLATE MILK. Can you possibly have a more offensive, tone deaf, intellectually insulting and condescending metaphor for the incredibly nuanced issues of overt and institutional racism? If you can think of one, please let us know.
Stoutmire says he’s been using the chocolate milk gimmick for the past 16 years as a way to illustrate the importance of racial diversity to heads of industry and CEOs. Given the lackluster improvements in race relations in America, it seems to be having the impact one would expect.
One point he did try to make was that when you add the syrup it immediately gets pushed to the bottom by the white milk, and you have to “stir it up” to force them to mix. Well, at least he tried. Here’s the thing — having a culture where every time a company starts it has to be “stirred up” to FORCE inclusion is not the goal we need to meet.
Maybe next time the Governor and Stoutmire will try a new strategy, like plain and cocoa Rice Krispies in the same cereal bowl. They can even add the leftover chocolate milk.