{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "As a black person I'm well aware of the belief held that a lot of \"us\" dont actually belong in the firm..we are here through affirmative action/diversity push. How prevalent is that view do you think?", "post_id": "5c3c8df5e1c1b50013674bdd", "reply_count": 144, "vote_count": 3, "bowl_id": "564a5cdb94887803001dd07c", "bowl_name": "Accounting" }

As a black person I'm well aware of the belief held that a lot of "us" dont actually belong in the firm..we are here through affirmative action/diversity push. How prevalent is that view do you think?

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As the only Latina in my office, I can tell you that the impostor syndrome is a real thing. Any time you have those negative feelings, remember who you are what sacrifices you made to get here. It took me 7 years to finish a Bachelors in Accounting. It wasn’t because I was messing around, but because I had to learn a new language, hold down part time jobs to cover my expenses and adapt to my family moving around (going to school wasn’t an option if I moved out). No, I don’t have a perfect accent, I didn’t graduate with a master or 3 dif. majors, nor was I the president of ANY clubs ever. However, I had to go and get it myself. I took my college career seriously. I was that one annoying student who always participated and got to know the prof. ( which got me internships). I had to be my best self at every menial part time (which got me stellar references). I got an offer during my last semester at school when I thought I was about to graduate with no offers. So even if a part of me wants to tell me I dont belong, another part of me reminds me as much as I wanted it, not much was handed to me to get here. The only privilege I can think of that allowed me to go to college was having a family that let me live for free at home as long as I cover my other college related expenses. Of course it was a hard (but not impossible) task for a teenager with no family members with money or credit history to cover for tuition, books, gas, and food, but I did it. So, I refuse to let myself or anybody else directly or indirectly invalidate all that I went through to get here because only I know all the sacrifice it took me to get here.🙃

likeupliftinghelpful

Even in a smaller Midwest market I have not seen this, but I recognize as a white female I am not as in tune with what others may be feeling. The people I work with who fit into one or another minority category are all top people, many of whom I would choose over others to be on my teams because their diverse experiences mean they think differently than I or my other team members do, which adds significant value. As a senior manager, I’ve interviewed many candidates and the color of skin has no bearing. I care about whether you can do the work, that’s it. The only time I’ve seen race have any factor is for the special internship where in order to apply a college student must self select that they are an underrepresented minority, so clearly that is a factor. That internship of course hopefully feeds to a second internship then a full time position and thus naturally creates more diversity. That said, I have yet to have someone make it through the program to full time that I would not have hired if I had interviewed them for a full time position. I think as older generations retire and younger generations move up we will all continue to see race play less and less importance. I will never say there aren’t people out there with racist views, especially in companies as large as Big 4, but Gen Y by and large has grown up very accepting, and as long as we all pass that on to our kids and actively make it a focus, we can eliminate that type of thinking. It works across all lines; each race has to put in effort to form friendships and relationships with other races and not be exclusive to get the common goal we desire.

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Not prevalent at all. I’ve seen nothing but mutual respect shown to black colleagues. As long as you can do the job, I don’t think the vast majority of people give a crap what color your skin is

likeupliftingsmart

That has never been a thought that crossed my mind

likeupliftingsmart

Ditto.

Not very

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I think this is one of the main issues with affirmative action. It creates an environment where minorities are questioned if they obtained their spot through talent and ability or though the color of their skin

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unfortunately biases, whether conscious or unconscious make it a necessary piece of legislation.

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Depends on the person more than race imo. I know some black ppl who definitely only got into big 4 because of AA (lower grades, weaker social skills, less competent). But I also know some who belong and fit in, no problem.

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@AA1 - that's not something I've had to deal with yet so I can't comment on how I'd act specifically in that set of circumstances. I'm all for giving people opportunities and chances to succeed though. However, that also shouldn't come at the expense of others or make others lives much more difficult within reasonable accommodations. I'm sure there are solutions HR and the partners have come up with to make things work. Maybe the person who needs more time doesn't charge all their hours because they wouldn't represent an average amount of output for an hour of billable time. Or maybe there is another time HR code they can offload some hours to so the engagement doesn't get hit too hard. Ultimately though I think I still stand by my albeit sometimes harsh view that you stand or fall on your own merits. If you need more time, then you just spend more time to get it done (sleep less, or less breaks, etc.)

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Hey OP, I’m sorry you feel that way. I have the upmost respect for my colleagues of different minorities and races. I’m a gay male (very different from your situation, but a minority) and I also come from a very blue collar family. I’m the only one with a college degree. I believe I have Impostor syndrome. My advice is to keep doing what you’re doing and working hard and get the respect you deserve for being the worker your are. Best of luck!

likeuplifting

I didn’t know this was a belief some people held. The African American colleagues I’ve worked with are rockstars. I figured that generally if you were good enough to get here, you’re smart regardless of AA.

likefunnyuplifting

I have had two managers on two different teams in regards to two different people of color tell me “we can’t take __ off the team. If we do, we will have a diversity issue”.

likefunnyhelpful

Clients can push for it, but it is the policy of PwC not to provide “diversity” in that manner. It’s even outlined in management trainings that we can’t accept requests like that

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The people who think that and subtly or overtly do things to make you feel that way need to be reported to HR. You belong. We value diversity and inclusion. I don't work at the big 4 but I speak for the accounting profession.

likeuplifting

No firm wants to be on the list of lowest percentages of minorities, so let’s not delude ourselves into thinking it’s NOT a hiring priority. If it weren’t, “diversity days” wouldn’t exist. But, they do at every firm. Here’s the truth though. 1. Make your deadlines 2. Be presentable in your dress and your language 3. Be humble and learn every day 4. Genuinely give a shit These things matter and will trump the whitest of rich kids with deep pockets and an influential daddy. It might get him the job, but it wont keep him in it for long. You be you, and you’ll be respected, valued, and (dare I say) loved for exactly that — who you are. We all have different paths that get us here, but we are all here and in this side by side. In work and in life.

likesmart

In the beginning of my career in the PA, I did wonder why it is rare to see director & above who are black. It seemed there are more Asians, Indians, and Hispanics. Then into my year 1.5, I realized that black people were probably smarter and found better paying jobs with a better work life balance sooner than other people.

likefunny

I disagree. I worked in public accounting for 5 years, and I was always the only black person. I felt like they wanted to hire 1 and only 1 to prove they were diverse

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Yeah I'm sure the thoughts and sentiments of the 50s and 60s havent gone anywhere and I'd imagine they run rampant in even the most seemingly benign of people. The only difference is....we are allowed to play the game now. My grandparents couldnt. As long as I can play the game and win at it --- can't really be concerned with the hearts of men.

likesmart

On first read that “honey” was super condescending. On second read it was endearing. I’m so confused.

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Does anyone belong in public accounting?

likefunnyuplifting

AA needs to be taken down. Old rule is not applicable to today's society. The same AA is causing more racial discrimination

likesmart

Only in EY

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Not true - it’s very inclusive and I’m from somewhere everyone needs to google to see where it is on the map and it’s been nothing but accepting.

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Yeah let me ask Roy Weathers, head of Tax at PwC.

likefunnysmart

Not sure what your point is D1. Because my point is that you don’t become head of Tax at PwC through some sort of charity program.

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I’d being lying if I said the thought didn’t cross my mind. I know I’m smart and very personable but I felt the need to prove this when I started. When I walk into a room, I’m usually the only AA. It’s hard not to think about

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I think its a very prevalent unconscious view, maybe lesser at EY than the other B4 but still there. I’m in a director bowl that has an active discussion right now with white males frustrated that their firm is pushing for more diverse partner candidates. They feel like its reverse discrimination. The underlying premise to that line of thinking can only be that the diverse candidates aren’t as deserving as they are

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That actually is the case. The business unit has to have a business case for additional partners. If the practice can support x number of partners based on current and anticipated revenues, they aren’t going to add more than that.

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