Not discussing race issues is ‘unacceptable,’ black managing director at Goldman Sachs says

A black managing director at Goldman Sachs said Monday that he wrote an email to colleagues about race in the United States in part to make white managers feel comfortable discussing the topic with black employees who report to them. 

“I think that for a lot of white people in the United States, because this is an extremely difficult topic, many of them choose not to engage with it because you have this concern about am I going to say the wrong thing, is this going to be misconstrued, am I going to be offensive and in some way cause more damage than if I had said nothing?” Fred Baba said on “Closing Bell.”

“But the problem with not saying anything is you are implicitly allowing the current state of the world to continue,” he continued. “And that, I think people are coming to realize, is unacceptable.” 

Baba, a managing director in the bank’s global markets unit, sent the email last week as protests broke out nationwide concerning the treatment of black people by police. In an opinion column for Bloomberg News based on the email, Baba wrote that “being black has been nothing if not instructive.”

“I’ve learned that bad things are more likely to happen to black people solely because they’re black … As if our lives are expendable,” Baba wrote. 

Baba said Monday that he viewed the wave of protests around the country as raising more awareness about racial inequality and potentially paving the way for future actions. 

“To the extent people have made that first step, it’s been really encouraging to see,” Baba said.

Goldman announced last week that it had created a $10 million fund to address racial inequalities. 

“We must stand up and support organizations dedicated to the fight for a more just and equitable society,” CEO David Solomon said in a statement announcing the fund. “To honor the legacies of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, we must all commit to help address the damage of generations of racism.”

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