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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

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Memphis author’s debut book explores tension between race equity and capitalism

Following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, a number of business leaders made passionate promises to invest in racial equity as a response to the public cries for change. Dr. Adriane Johnson-Williams says many have failed to deliver because they did not understand the complexities involved in changing a whole culture.

She writes about that and more in her first book, “Not Your Father’s Capitalism: What Race Equity Asks of U.S. Business Leaders.” A book launch event was held recently at Novel Books.

Johnson-Williams is the founder and principal of Standpoint Consulting. “Not Your Father’s Capitalism” is crafted to show business leaders how to consider the humanity in business and provide the tools leaders need to shift the culture so that promises can be kept.  

The book is dedicated to the Black women who came before Johnson-Williams. “I dedicate this book to my mother, foremothers, and all the Black women and daughters of Black women whose wisdom is as valuable as it was hard-earned.”

Johnson-Williams acknowledged that she was provided a path to this moment through white male sponsorship; white men who opened the door, showed her the way through and advocated for her as she accessed spaces that often were closed to Black women.

The juxtaposition between the Black women in her dedication and the white men in her acknowledgments set the tone for the evening, which explored the central topic of her book: the uncomfortable tension between the tenets of capitalism and Dr. Johnson-Williams’ call to action to build race equity into these spaces.

After a brief reading from the preface, Johnson-Williams took questions from the audience, including “How do we get this book into the hands of those who need it?” and more conceptual questions around merit, degrees and qualifications, colonialism, and reparations.

Dr. Adriane Johnson-Williams signed copies of her book after a discussion about its theme and focus. (Courtesy photo)

The night concluded with signatures, photos, and hope that this is the first step towards race equity for her beloved city of birth, Memphis, and business leaders nationally.


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