Many who visit my journal don’t care much about cricket. In recent days, the world of cricket has had to confront its ugly racist past and present. An English cricketer of Asian origin talked about how he was mistreated and undermined at Yorkshire, the county he played cricket for most of his life.
Yorkshire is like the Red Sox, an old storied franchise with a glorious past, and is host to some of the top English cricketers, including its present captain. Azeem Rafiq, the British Asian cricketer, in a testimony in front of the British parliamentarians, laid bare the heinous culture of racism and discrimination. His agony brought tears to my eyes.
As I reflected on the 57-page report, I couldn’t help but wonder how can those who aspire for greater glory will undermine a young person whose talent can help them achieve their goal. How can a workplace be so toxic that every day as a young man, your goals and aspirations are crushed by demeaning abuse?
Sad as I was, I had a chance to reflect on my own life as an immigrant and as a minority. A lot of words came my way, but I don’t remember. All I can remember is how many great editors at Red Herring, Forbes, Business 2.0 and lately my partners at True helped me along – they taught me, encouraged me, and helped me push myself to where I am.
The gift of a non-toxic and positive workplace is the ultimate encouragement when can give the talented. I had tried to do that with my own company, paying it forward, and even today, the success of my former team members is the ultimate gratification.
I am grateful for my good fortune, especially considering how many don’t get the fair shake at work. Rafiq’s ordeal is even a bit more complicated — it happens against the broader socio-economic reality of England’s fading power. The establishment wants to maintain a status quo, and retain control, and maintain the past. Change, however, is the only consistent.
November 20, 2021. San Francisco