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Discrimination and insider trading common at American investment firms

One man’s ordeal with corporate racism

Carol Ozemhoya | OW Contributor | 9/14/2017, midnight
Despite civil rights laws, demonstrations and court cases won, racial discrimination is alive, well and kicking in the good ol' ...

Despite civil rights laws, demonstrations and court cases won, racial discrimination is alive, well and kicking in the good ol' U.S. of A. And to make matters worse, it's thriving without being checked in the corporate halls of Wall Street and in companies, large and small, in just about every major city across the country.

For people of color, speaking up may bring even more “punishment,” including more harassment, demotions, lack of promotions and even threats of physical harm.

Such are the cases of Rebecca Allen (a Black banker at Goldman Sachs) and John Jones (not his real name). “Jones” is an African American of extraordinary talent - backed up by a stellar education - who possesses an uncanny ability to analyze and predict financial matters at an almost non-human rate.

Indeed, when it comes to the art of artificial intelligence, “J.J.” is a master craftsman.

You'd think that would make him a millionaire, heck, billionaire! But thanks to some very unscrupulous executives at a major financial firm, J.J. is nowhere near the financial status that begets legends of the new millennial class of multi-millionaires.

This is his story, one that is whispered too often by those afraid to step forward, those who have done everything right in terms of education, public service and believing in the American dream. Yet they remain unrecognized, unheralded and certainly not at the financial status of their Anglo counterparts, even when these people of color are “smarter.”

J.J.'s real name can't be revealed due to the sensitive nature of his filings with the EEOC (racial discrimination), multi-million dollar lawsuit, and his complaint to the SEC (over issues of insider trading). But that doesn't make his reality any less serious and disparaging.

A stellar background

“J.J.” was born in Louisiana and reared in Texas, and wherever his family lived, his two working, professional parents always reminded him that as an African American, he'd always have to work harder and be smarter.

Even after serving his country in the military, his father dealt with the ugly monster of discrimination. His wife (J.J.'s mother), fought the beast as well, despite the fact that she had two college degrees.

“I had great examples,” J.J. says of his degree-bearing parents. “But we still struggled. My dad taught me… when you're Black, you need two degrees. When you're Black, you need more.”

J.J. got into mathematics at a very early age and it was obvious before he even went to school that he had acumen for numbers. After years of education, and accepting unpaid internships to gain experience, J.J. hoped his hard work would translate into financial stability and wealth. The only problem: that stability and wealth - we're talking millions and millions - were being achieved by folks taking advantage of J.J.'s prediction prowess while they were denying him the riches and advancement he so richly deserved.

Indeed, J.J. knows hardship, yet was never afraid of working hard. After getting into Howard, he had to transfer back to Houston because the money just wasn't there to afford to go to school away from home at the time.