The routine exclusion of blacks from the region's corporate power structure continues. A year-long study released last month by the Investing in Baltimore Committee, a non-profit business group, pegs the number of black managers in the Baltimore metropolitan area at about 5 percent. That compares with 14 percent for whites.
This report contains few surprises. It confirms the absence of black players in the upper echelons of management. In doing so, it refutes the fantasy that equal opportunity has translated into anything but the status quo in the corner offices and board rooms of the region's largest companies. To their credit, many corporations are doing a better job of recruiting blacks. But most of these hires are shunted into personnel and public relations -- tracks that rarely lead to the executive suite.
Underlying the sparsity of black managers here and elsewhere are disturbing assumptions and attitudes among corporate gatekeepers. Many cite a dearth of qualified blacks. Others are oblivious to what often keeps blacks out of top-level jobs -- exclusion from the subtle, but important, social rituals that pave the way to upper management. Some insist that no problem exists.