Author Topic: Adidas Sells Diversity. Black Employees Say It Doesn’t Practice It.  (Read 1394 times)

sabbir

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Adidas Sells Diversity. Black Employees Say It Doesn’t Practice It.

Fewer than 4.5 percent of the workers at the company’s North American headquarters identify as black. Members of that small group say they feel ignored and sometimes discriminated against.
In the United States, Adidas has built much of its name — and sales — through its association with black superstars. In the 1980s, the seminal hip-hop group Run-DMC gave the company’s sneakers and apparel cultural cachet through its song “My Adidas.” Popular black athletes and entertainers like James Harden, Candace Parker and Kanye West endorse its products.

In April, Adidas announced a new partnership with Beyoncé Knowles. Ms. Knowles posted a photo on Instagram that showed her reclining on a pile of Adidas sneakers and wearing a red Adidas bodysuit. The image was liked more than seven million times.

Black employees at the company’s North American headquarters in Portland, Ore., however, describe a workplace culture that contradicts the brand’s image. Interviews with more than 20 current or former Adidas employees show the company’s predominantly white leadership struggling with issues of race and discrimination. On the campus, known as Adidas Village, the employees say, race is a constant issue, leaving the relatively few black employees often feeling marginalized and sometimes discriminated against.
Of the nearly 1,700 Adidas employees at the Portland campus, fewer than 4.5 percent identify as black, according to internal employment figures from last summer that were shared with The New York Times.

Adidas employees who spoke to The Times said that in the company cafeteria, black employees often sit together. Some said they had been told that this made some of their white colleagues nervous and could hurt their chances of getting promotions or being put on important marketing campaigns if it appeared that they were not trying to fit the Adidas mold.