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Ben Smith, Founder, PRmoment.com
This week, we welcome Tariq Ahmed, ex-group head of corporate communications at Liquid Telecom, to the PRmoment podcast.
Here’s a summary of what Tariq and I discussed:
- In the context of the George Floyd racism protests in the US and throughout the world, including here in the UK, Tariq and I talk about his decision to change his name from Tariq Ahmed to Daniel Jacobs back in 2002 – when Tariq found he was unable to get a job in public relations as a Muslim man in the UK.
- How Tariq set up an experiment where he applied for the same job both as Tariq Ahmed and as Daniel Jacobs. He was invited for an interview as Daniel but not as Tariq.
- How until 9/11 Tariq had never experienced racism before.
- How Tariq got through that period of his life by trying to take the emotion out of it – he saw it as a personal re-branding exercise. He believed once you allow the emotion to stick, you start to become a victim, which he didn’t want.
- How the story had a happy ending when HP re-recruited Tariq, as Tariq Ahmed not as Daniel Jacobs.
- How statistics show that Muslim men are 72% less likely to be employed (when they apply for a job) than their white Christian counterparts.
- How the death of George Floyd was the result, not of Islamic fundamentalism, but of the fundamentalism of racist police officer.
- How racism in society has got worse, not better in most of our lifetimes.
- Why all organisations and employees must always call prejudice out. Ideally, to begin with, in a non-threatening way – but you must let people know how it makes you feel.
- How being Daniel Jacobs made Tariq feel like as a person.
- Why Tariq regrets, in many ways, changing his name back to Tariq Ahmed.
- Does Tariq believe he’d have a bigger job and be earning more money if his name had remained Daniel Jacobs?
- Tariq tells us how it’s easy to change your name in the UK.
- How as a society, we’ve taken a huge step backwards since 9/11. The terrorists won.
- Tariq talks us through some lessons around personal behaviour and personal choice from his 20 years of observing discrimination and being discriminated against.
- The prevalence of unconscious bias in our global society.
- Tariq talks about his time he’s spent in-house – all within the tech sector.
- Tariq talks about his passion for technology and how it can change people’s lives.
- Tariq talks about the challenges for tech firms coming out of the Covid-19 lockdown.