We like to pretend we don't see race, says Hobson, president of Ariel Investments, who notes that it's particularly to avoid thinking about demographics when you surround yourself with people who look like you.
But to build a society that's genuinely equitable — instead of just pretending to be equitable — "we cannot afford to be color blind," she says. "We have to be color brave." That means having open, honest, understanding, courageous conversations about race — not, she clarifies, because it's the "right" thing to do, "but because it's the smart thing to do," in life and in business.
Her request is simple: "Observe your environment," she urges, and "invite people into your life who don't look like you, don't think like you, don't act like you, don't come from where you come from." They might challenge you, Hobson says. They might offer powerful insights. They might make you grow.