“Apple shareholders will decide next week whether to force the tech giant to diversify its leadership — possibly by tying executives’ compensation to racial diversity goals — in the industry’s latest effort to grapple with a severe underrepresentation of blacks and Latinos in its ranks,” Tracy Jan reports for The Washington Post. “The long-shot shareholder proposal, aimed at moving people of color into Apple’s C-suite, comes amid accusations of racial bias at various tech firms from customers, researchers and federal investigators. ”

“There was Google’s image recognition software that initially identified photos of black people as gorillas in 2015,” Jan reports. “Then last year, Airbnb, Uber and Lyft confronted a barrage of complaints after studies found evidence of discrimination against black customers trying to book lodging and hail rides.”

“‘This is not a social issue. This is a business issue. They are leaving money on the table,’ said Tony Maldonado, an Apple shareholder and music and film executive. Maldonado is pushing the proposal along with Boston-based Zevin Asset Management, which markets itself as a socially responsible investment firm,” Jan reports. “Apple’s board has urged shareholders to reject the proposal during their annual meeting next Tuesday at its Cupertino, Calif., headquarters, saying the company is already engaged in ongoing holistic efforts to diversify. The proposal, the board said, is ‘not necessary or appropriate’ because of the progress that’s been made…”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote back in July 2014:

Diversity is good, but getting the absolute best should remain the goal. Forced diversity carries its own set of problems. Would the group be comprised of the best-qualifed people possible or would it be designed to hit pre-defined quotas? Would some employees, consciously or unconsciously, consider certain employees, or even themselves, to be tokens meant to fill a quota? That would be a suboptimal result for all involved.

The best and desired outcome is for this to work in Apple’s favor. Truly looking at qualified people from a larger pool would result in delivering different viewpoints and new ways of looking at things and tackling problems than a more homogenized workforce would be capable of delivering.

Regardless and of course, someday it sure would be nice for everyone to just be able to evaluate a person’s potential, not measuring and tabulating superficial, meaningless things like skin color and gender.

Apple’s “Inclusion and Diversity” page is here.

Apple Inc. fights shareholders group demand for more diversity – February 15, 2017
Apple’s Board of Directors says a call for diversity is ‘unduly burdensome and not necessary’ – January 15, 2016
Apple leads Facebook, Intel, Cisco, Google on gender diversity among Bay Area companies – November 17, 2015
Apple’s latest diversity report shows progress – August 13, 2015
Tim Cook is ‘personally involved’ in improving diversity at Apple Inc. – July 14, 2015
Apple donates over $50 million to diversity efforts – March 10, 2015
Apple CEO Tim Cook met privately with Jesse Jackson regarding diversity – December 9, 2014
Apple adds Vice Presidents, more diversity to Executive Leadership Team – August 15, 2014
A message from Apple CEO Tim Cook on diversity – August 12, 2014
Jesse Jackson calls on Obama to scrutinize tech industry’s ‘lack of diversity’ – July 28, 2014
Tim Cook: Apple will release diversity data ‘at some point’ – July 9, 2014
Jesse Jackson targets tech’s lack of diversity; sends letter to Apple, Google, HP, others – March 19, 2014
Apple changes bylaws after facing criticism about lack of diversity on board – January 9, 2014